PLAN COMMISSION/ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
CITY OF COUNTRYSIDE
NOVEMBER 16, 2004 AT 7:30P.M.
ROLL CALL MEMBERS: CHAIRMAN RICHARD FULLMER, JR., MS. TINA GROTZKE, MR. STEVEN JASINSKI, MR. ROBERT LUBE, MR. DANIEL MOSS, MS. CYNTHIA SCHULZ, MR. FRANK THULLEN, MR. RICHARD TOTH, MR. EDWARD ZIEMBA
APPROVAL OF MINUTES – OCTOBER 5, 2004
1. CONSIDERATION OF A VARIANCE OF THE CURRENT PLANNED DEVELOPMENT BY EXPANDING THE WEST PORTION OF THE BUILDING TO CONSTRUCT A PETSMART, A STAPLES AND ENLARGING JOANN FABRICS AT 16, 22, AND 24 COUNTRYSIDE PLAZA, COUNTRYSIDE IL 60525. THE NAME OF THE APPLICANT IS SIMON PROPERTY GROUP (ILLINOIS), 115 W. WASHINGTON ST., INDIANAPOLIS IN 46204.
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE PLAN COMMISSION AND ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
FOR THE CITY OF COUNTRYSIDE, IL
HELD IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2004
Chairman Fullmer called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Acting Secretary Moss called the Roll; the following members were:
PRESENT: Chairman Richard Fullmer, Jr., Mr. Frank Thullen, Mr. Edward Ziemba, Mr. Steven Jasinski, Mr. Edward Ziemba, Ms. Cynthia Schulz, Ms. Tina Grotzke, Mr. Richard Toth
ABSENT: Mr. Robert Lube
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor LeGant, Ald. Conrad, Ald. Michalczyk, Ald. Straza, Ald. Smetana, Ald. Krzeminski, Ald. Fajdich, City. Adm. Bailey, Bldg. Comm. Krautstrunk, CDO Muenzer, Attorney Erik Peck
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The first order of business was approval of the minutes of October 5, 2004. Mr. Toth moved to approve the minutes as presented, seconded by Ms. Schulz and carried unanimously.
Chairman Fullmer read the Notice of Public Hearing to consider a variance of the current Plan Development by expanding the west portion of the buildings to construct a PetSmart, a Staples and enlarging JoAnn Fabrics. Gentlemen making presentations were sworn en masse by Chairman Fullmer.
Attorney Michael J. Sturino, of Sturino, Ramello & Durkin, represents Simon Property Group. They are requesting an amendment to the Plan Development Ordinance controlling the land use at Countryside Plaza. He presented a broad overview of the project and who would address each portion. Kevin Sims of Simon Property Group will discuss background, the current tenants and what the plan is in general. Bryan Boelke, also with Simon and Bill Ranek, engineer with Simon will address improvements to the property, faÌ¤ade, signage and lighting. Chris Perry, an outside engineer, will discuss parking, drainage and landscape buffer. Mr. Sturino emphasized that this is not the Lowe’s project; they will not build anything on the landscape buffer; they will put additional vegetation on the north side of the buffer. Michael Earthman from KLOA, transportation consultant, will discuss ingress/egress from LaGrange Road; intersection improvement is a very critical issue. The individuals testifying are experts in their respective fields.
Mr. Sturino requested that the following Exhibits be Marked for Identification and Received in Evidence for the record:
Exhibit #1 is the Site Lease Plan prepared by Simon Property Group dated November 9, 2004.
Exhibit #2 is a Red Line Development Site Lease Plan prepared by Simon Property Group dated November 9, 2004.
Exhibit #3 shows the Lowe’s Building Limit Plan, as compared to this plan.
Exhibit #4 shows the Topo Plan prepared by Simon Property Group dated November 9, 2004.
Exhibit #5 is a Material Board, depicting the materials used on the faÌ¤ade.
Group Exhibit #6 — two color renderings which are basically the same but two different sizes, prepared for Simon Property Group by Dorski, Hodgson Partners dated October 26, 2004.
Exhibit #7 is the Pylon Sign Plan prepared for Simon Property Group by Premier Sign Group, Inc., dated October 28, 2004.
Mr. Sims stated that re-development of the plaza is a coordinated plan including two new anchors, new faÌ¤ade and image, expanding goods and services which will combine to function more efficiently. This is a four-part project:
Bringing in a Petsmart, relocating JoAnn Fabrics to the former T.J. Maxx space, begin demolition work, and bring in Staples.
Canopy Renovation, with re-skinning of the entire canopy, new color and design structure.
Site upgrade, re-striping, overlay in critical areas, add landscaping and landscaped islands, site lighting and re-skin and enhance the pylon sign.
Redesign and improve traffic design at the main entrance. They have applied for the Public Incentive Agreement and will need some financial assistance; if there is no assistance the scale, detail or level of improvement may be modified somewhat.
Mr. Sturino stated that Staples would have 20,388 square feet; PetSmart at 20,087 square feet; JoAnn Fabrics will double their size to 26,653 gross leasable area. Existing tenants are remaining; net increase in square footage of the shopping center is 11,000. Mr. Sims discussed the material board and detailed the procedure for renovating the faÌ¤ade and replacing it with new earth tone materials. There will be a brick base on all piers. He called attention to the architectural features on the renderings. The blue lights will be removed; the same procedure will be used on the pylon sign.
Bill Ranek, project engineer for Simon, discussed the proposed site plan changes. The grey areas in front and back of the building are pavement areas, which will have either asphalt overlay or sealcoat and re-striping, patch and repair type work. The buildings will not extend beyond the existing landscaped area in the rear; the dark grey in the northern portion is new pavement; they are creating additional employee parking spaces. Handicap stalls will be added in the front to meet ADA requirements; the entire parking lot will be sealcoated, re-striped and landscaped. They propose adding white pines as a landscape buffer to the north of the new parking area as well as more curbing and landscape in the front areas plus additional greenery to embellish existing landscape. Regarding lighting, currently there are three existing poles, which will remain in the rear. Wall pack lights will be placed on the buildings after renovation, which will be located 12-15 feet off the pavement and shining downward, similar to what is there at present. Lighting in the general public area currently does not come up to Simon Group lighting standards across the country; level of lighting will be increased primarily by putting additional heads on existing poles.
Chris Perry, licensed engineer, stated that Lowe’s was expanding their building out into the green space. Simon has dramatically reduced any impact to the green space; additional detention will be provided for the two new pavement areas; they will apply for a permit from MWRD; the existing parking ratio of 4.5 will be maintained.
Michael Werthmann, KLOA, traffic-engineering firm from Rosemont, IL discussed site access and proposed improvements. The current system has four access drives — from the north of the site at 59th St., right in, left in; the main access drive with traffic signal; two access drives off 61st street. They propose increasing capacity of the main intersection by providing dual left turn lanes out of the site; majority of traffic exiting north on LaGrange Road does so from the main access drive. To improve the traffic flow they will re-stripe the approach to provide one inbound lane and three outbound lanes with dual left-turn lanes and one right-turn lane. IDOT has approved the concept; they are designing modifications to the intersection and the traffic signal. Mr. Sturino stated that they have no control over IDOT approval time. That concludes the presentation.
CDO Muenzer alluded to his memo to the Board including the seven points recommending approval. He noted those to be the addition of three stores and their impact on the City’s sales tax revenue; physical improvements regarding faÌ¤ade and signage are being addressed; the B-1 retail complies with zoning language; the importance of the Plaza to the city; the Comprehensive Plan addressed the plaza as the number one improvement for the city. Additionally, In the community survey the number one concern of residents and businesses was to redevelop Countryside Plaza and the importance of the Plaza to the LaGrange Road corridor. Most of the city’s revenue and image comes from that corridor. In concept the plan for the Plaza should have a spin-off effect on the entire corridor. The proposal does comply with residential concerns. Mr. Muenzer recommends approval of the plan.
Mr. Moss asked how far the new faÌ¤ade will extend. Mr. Sims stated that Burlington Coat Factory and Home Depot will remain as they are. Renovation will begin from that point in a horseshoe shape and extend to J. Craig. Regarding Frank’s, the real estate auction will be November 22 with a decision by mid-December; there are no package bids. Mr. Jasinski is concerned about traffic flow; Mr. Werthmann stated that the present three entrances are sufficient; suggestion was made to provide additional signage on 59th Street. The issue is outbound traffic, not inbound traffic.
One continuous flow can accommodate 1,800 vehicles per hour; they will free flow in and will not back up. The second left-turn lane will double outflow capacity; they will request longer green arrow time for exiting cars. Mr. Ziemba asked if they had any numbers regarding revenue sharing. Mr. Sims noted that the application was made today; they provided worksheets and projected proposed sales but no firm numbers yet. They are offering businesses ten-year leases with options. Mr. Sims stated they will be searching for local, regional and national tenants for the seven small vacant shops. Regarding PetSmart, vet and grooming services will take place but no overnight boarding of animals.
Tenant Diane Bowes of It Figures asked about sign removal, storage and reinstallation. Mr. Sims stated that Simon will be responsible for the signs during renovation. They will have a tenant coordination meeting in February to provide information regarding maintaining pedestrian traffic so that impact on storeowners is minimal. Ms. Bowes stated that there is no lighting in the rear of her facility; could that issue be addressed. Mr. Sims stated it will be taken into consideration. Mr. Krautstrunk asked whether any changes in signage square footage are anticipated. Mr. Sims stated that he will review the variances. He does not envision any particular problems.
Mayor LeGant asked Mr. Werthmann whether additional private property should be acquired at the intersection. Mr. Sturino asked for possible City assistance in any future acquisition; only a small sliver of land, approximately ten feet long for about 100-175 feet – about 1,200 square feet total. The property owner has not been approached as of this time. IDOT will ultimately determine how much land is needed. That cost will be factored into the overall project cost. Further discussion took place re: increasing the staging area for exiting cars, at present only eight cars can exit on one green arrow. Mr. Werthmann stated that there will be a whole new design for the intersection. He believes that the free flow of cars in will encounter no traffic problem; with two lanes out it will double the capacity. Chairman Fullmer stated that five lanes would be preferable instead of four for the entire intersection. Mr. Sturino reiterated that they need right of way and IDOT approval for those changes. It was agreed that either new signage or increased police enforcement is needed for cars turning left illegally at 59th St. Using any type of pork chop must receive IDOT approval; that would hinder delivery trucks going north that need a larger turning radius to enter the shopping center. Fire Marshal Tholitowsky asked the engineer to review fire hydrant distribution, which is sparse in the front of the Plaza; there are water mains in the area. That will be reviewed. Rich Mankiewicz requested that the salt pay loader without a muffler is a noisy nuisance to the entire neighborhood. He asked whether salt could be moved to the front of the lot since 95% of it is used up front. Also delivery truck engines idling during the night and early morning are very annoying. That request will be reviewed as well.
Mr. Sturino thanked the audience for the constructive comments they provided. From the exhibits and expert testimony they believe they have met the standards and criteria for PUDs; they have addressed traffic safety, Comprehensive Plan, parking, signage, utilities, set backs and appearance. This is a new chapter in the City’s history and has been a long time in coming; they appreciate the City’s cooperation and look forward to pursuing this plan quickly, to combine with the incentive agreement and to work on the access for the mutual benefit of both parties. They await a favorable outcome for amending the Plan Development.
Ald. Krzeminski requested the project time line. If all goes well, Mr. Sims stated that JoAnn Fabrics should open in June-July 2005; Staples demolition will begin in January 2005 and open in July/August; PetSmart demolition will begin in July and may open by January 2006. Canopy work will begin in April to be completed by September. Parking lot work will begin in May/June and be completed by September (weather and permits permitting). The entrance is subject to IDOT review and approval. Design work is underway. They hope is to have the entrance completed by Fall 2005 along with the other work. Discussions are underway re: using the parking lot for Countryfest 2005. Simon is working with the city staff and getting tenant approval. Chairman Fullmer stated that all four items should be included in any vote – including building construction, remodeling faÌ¤ade, entrance changes and remodeling existing sign.
Attorney Peck Entered into Evidence Petitioner’s Exhibits that have been marked Exhibits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Group Exhibit 6, and 7. Because this is a Planned Unit Development (PUD) any amendment to it requires a special use by City Code. The recommendation will be to approve a special use amending the PUD established pursuant to Ordinance 76-11-O to permit the expansion of the west portion of the Countryside Plaza Shopping Center to permit construction and operation of a PetSmart, a Staples and a JoAnn Fabrics, and to permit certain site improvements including reconfiguration of the intersection at LaGrange Road at the property commonly known as 16, 22 and 24 Countryside Plaza, all in substantial conformity with Petitioner’s Exhibits 1 through 7. One additional requirement is additional ground painting on 59th Street to prohibit the left-hand turn and additional signage. Mr. Jasinski moved to approve all four items, seconded by Mr. Ziemba and carried by unanimous Roll Call vote – 8/0/1. Chairman Fullmer stated that this matter will come before the City Council at its Regular Meeting on December 8, 2004. Petitioners thanked the Board for the vote.
Chairman Fullmer stated that he and Mr. Thullen attended the half-day seminar for Plan Commission members. The next seminar will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2005. He urged Board members to attend and receive the additional training. Mr. Muenzer will provide the necessary information to interested members.
Ald. Conrad congratulated the entire PC/ZBA on a job well done regarding the Comprehensive Plan; it was a massive job and Board members should be commended; they did a terrific job. Many thanks as well to Mr. Muenzer, Mr. Bailey and the Building Department. Input from residents makes the job of Board members and City Council easier. Residents and Board members are all entitled to a round of applause.
There being no further business to discuss, Mr. Toth moved to adjourn, seconded by Mr. Moss and carried by unanimous voice vote.
Chairman Fullmer declared the meeting adjourned at 9:12 p.m.
RICHARD FULLMER, JR., CHAIRMAN