The City of Lake Forest Building Review Board met July 5
The City of Lake Forest Building Review Board met July 5.
Here is the minutes as provided by the board:
A regular meeting of the Lake Forest Building Review Board was held on
Wednesday, July 5th, 2017 at 6:30 p.m., in the Training Room at the City’s Municipal
Services Facility, 800 Field Drive, Lake Forest, Illinois.
Building Review Board members present: Acting Chairman Robert Reda, Jim
Diamond, Peter Dunne and Chris Bires.
Building Review Board members absent: Chairman Ted Notz, Ross Friedman and
Staff present: Kate McManus, Assistant Planner and Catherine Czerniak, Director
of Community Development
1. Introduction of Board members and staff, overview of meeting procedures –
Acting Chairman Reda reviewed the role of the Building Review Board and the
meeting procedures followed by the Board. He asked the members of the Board
and staff to introduce themselves.
2. Consideration of the minutes of the June 7th, 2017 meeting of the Building
The June 7th 2017 meeting minutes were approved as submitted.
3. Consideration of a request for approval of architectural design concepts and
options for model homes to be constructed on Lots 1 – 26 of the recently
approved Westleigh Farm Subdivision. Approval of the exterior materials, color
palette and anti-monotony parameters is also requested. The Westleigh Farm
Subdivision is located on the southwest corner of Route 60 and Ridge Road.
Owner: North Shore Builders (Ryan Building Group Inc., 100%)
Representative: Jeff Mulcrone, BSB Design
Acting Chairman Reda asked the Board for any Ex Parte contacts or conflicts of
interest. Hearing none, he invited a presentation from the petitioner.
Mr. Mulcrone introduced the petition and explained that the Westleigh Farm
development consists of 34 lots, 26 of which are referred to as the Meadows
noting that these lots are the subject of this petition. He provided an overview of
the development. He stated that the berm along Route 60 will be increased in
height and planted with evergreen trees to screen the new homes. He explained
that the main entrance to the new development will be located on Ridge Road
and noted that the woodland buffer along Ridge Road will be preserved. He
stated that the center of the northern portion of the property will be open space
which will be maintained as meadow and orchard areas. He stated that the
development will have stormwater retention, a trail system, and a clubhouse
which will be created by reconstructing and replicating the existing historic
garden lodge currently located on the property. He noted that the historic stable
will be reconstructed and replicated at a location north of the entrance to the
subdivision and will serve as a maintenance building for the Homeowner’s
Association for the subdivision. He noted that the southern portion of the
development will remain heavily wooded with 8 larger lots for seven custom
homes and a lot for the existing house. He stated that the existing house is
currently for sale and the hope is that a buyer will restore and rehabilitate the
home. He stated that the infrastructure improvements on the overall site are
scheduled to get under way soon. He stated that at least one model home will
be constructed for perspective buyers.
Justin Bucy, BSB Designs, reviewed conceptual images of the site noting the
meandering road around the meadow. He stated that because of the curving
nature of the road, the houses will be seen from different angles. He reviewed
images of the existing lodge and stable noting that the architectural styles of the
new homes were designed to work within the context of the historic buildings. He
stated that 4 different architectural styles are proposed. He provided a
conceptual streetscape rendering depicting each elevation as seen from straight
on noting however, a straight on view will not occur often. He stated that there
will be an opportunity for variation with each floor plan. He noted that the
farmhouse style house, as proposed, has a standing seam metal roof, composite
rafter tails, fiberglass front door, fiberglass or composite columns, concrete stairs,
insulated garage doors designed appropriate to the selected style, composite
trim and rake boards, vinyl soffit, stone veneer and dormer windows. He stated
that the windows vary per style. He stated that the second style option is Colonial
revival with aluminum wrapped fascia, composite frieze boards and crown, and
fiberglass doors. He noted that the dormer style was modified based on staff’s
recommendation. He reviewed the details including vertical jambs, the
continuous frieze board, and the header detail on the windows. He pointed out
the corner boards and noted that the garage doors will be Colonial in style. He
stated that the exterior, as proposed, has brick wainscot and clay brick, not
veneer. He reviewed the French Eclectic or European Eclectic model. He stated
that the elevations as proposed will incorporate Hardie stucco panels with Hardie
trim, limestone sills with stone veneer, hipped dormers with standing seam roofs,
composite frieze boards and vinyl clad casement windows. He stated that the
fourth architectural style proposed is a Shingle Cottage option with Hardie shake
siding, fiberglass columns, ornate crown molding and shed roof dormers. He
noted that the windows as proposed are vinyl clad with a decorative top sash
with divided lites. He stated that the Hardie shake is proposed under the side
gables as an accent and additional trim is proposed to break up the front
elevation. He stated that stone veneer is also proposed to break up the expanse
of wall. He reviewed the 3 floor plan options reiterating that they can be designed
with any of the architectural styles offered. He explained that some of the lots,
due to the existing topography, allow for walk out conditions adding the
opportunity for further variation in the elevations. He reviewed various options that
for expanded outdoor living space. He reviewed various rear elevation options.
He provided samples of the windows, brick, Hardie panels and siding, and the
metal roof materials. He stated that the specific exterior colors will be selected by
owners, but the choices will be limited to a general color palette.
In response to a question from Acting Chairman Reda, Mr. Bucy stated that the
proposed composite wood material has an additive that allows it to withstand
moisture and decay better than true wood. He clarified that the Hardie product is
cementitious and is available in various products including siding, shakes and
In response to questions from the Board, Ms. Czerniak stated that this is a different
type of petition than the Board most often sees because it involves consideration
of various designs and exterior materials which will be used to build out 26 lots in a
new development. She noted that in the past, the Board has seen similar
petitions for developments including Willow Lake, Stonebridge and Lake Forest
Place. She stated that 3 floor plans are proposed. She stated that the new homes
will have similar massing, with some architectural variation. She stated that the
Board is charged with assuring that the development is of high quality, reflective
of the historical context of the site and the historic buildings that are being
replicated, and designed and constructed in manner consistent with the
surrounding natural environment. She noted that various synthetic exterior
materials are proposed in conflict with the City’s Design Guidelines which call for
the use of natural materials in general. She noted that the Board has approved
the use of Hardie clapboard siding in the past, in combination with the use of
natural materials. She added that the Board has consistently required trim to be
wood and that the use of true cement stucco as opposed to synthetic panels.
She noted that the proposed roof materials, asphalt and metal, appear to be
appropriate for this development and consistent with the Design Guidelines. She
stated that vinyl windows are proposed noting that the Board generally approves
wood or metal clad windows and in some recent petitions, high quality fiberglass
windows with appropriate profiles. She asked for Board direct on the extensive use
of synthetic materials proposed. She reviewed the layout of the subdivision,
reiterating that homes will be located on only one side of a curving street, limiting
views of more than a few homes together, as part of the streetscape, at any one
time. She added that the rear elevations of the homes will vary due to the
topography and the home buyers’ preference. She added that because of the
configuration of the development, the rear elevations will be internal to the
development and viewed primarily only from other homes in the development.
She stated that in general, the proposed architectural styles are appropriate and
provide for some variety. She noted however that the selected architectural style
is not consistently carried around the residences noting large expanses of
unbroken walls on the side elevations. She noted that the pattern of fenestration
should be based on the selected architectural style. She asked the Board to
provide initial input on the architectural styles in general, the adequacy of the
detailing and to provide input on the proposed exterior materials. She added
that chimneys could be helpful in adding character to the homes and refinement
of some of the dormers could better reflect the selected architectural styles. She
asked the Board to identify areas where further study and refinement is needed.
She suggested that the petitioner also provide information on the proposed color
palettes as consideration of the petition continues.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Bucy stated that real stone, not cast
stone is proposed noting however that stone veneer will be used.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Mulcrone confirmed that a
Homeowners’ Association will be established to handle maintenance
responsibilities. He stated that the intent is to create a maintenance free
environment to the extent possible and as a result, synthetic products are
proposed. He noted that the Willow Lake development was used as an influence
for the proposed design. He stated that the various architecture styles and
options offered will result in 12 distinct homes being available for buildout on 26
lots. He stated that the color palettes will be in keeping with the selected
architectural styles. He stated that options for front and side load garage
conditions will help add variation to the development. He noted that the rear,
outdoor living spaces will be designed unique to each lot.
In response to questions from Board member Dunne, Mr. Mulcrone confirmed that
anti-monotony measures will limit how close homes of the same style and same
color palette can be to each other. He reiterated that since there are only
homes on one side of the street, the potential for repetition is limited. He
acknowledged that if some architectural styles are not selected by buyers, there
could be greater repetition than anticipated but he noted that the guidelines will
present the houses of the same style and with the same options from being built
next to each other.
In response to Board questions, Ms. Czerniak clarified that the Board will not
review each home individually, but instead, will approve the styles, materials and
general detailing from which each home will be designed. She stated that City
staff will track the styles, features and colors of each home as the development
builds out to assure some variety consistent with the anti-monotony guidelines that
are ultimately recommended by the Board.
In response to a question from Board member Dunne, Mr. Bucy stated that the
roofline of the shingle cottage was designed to have large eaves to bring the roof
In response to questions from Board member Diamond, Mr. Bucy clarified that the
windows have simulated divided lites and that the standing seam metal roofs will
be aluminum with 12-18 inch panels.
In response to a question from Mr. Bucy, Ms. Czerniak stated that 12 inch panels
are appear more residential in character than larger panels.
In response to a question from Board member Diamond, Mr. Bucy stated that the
exterior materials are in large part determined to achieve certain price points for
the homes and he added that the synthetic materials are proposed to achieve as
maintenance free neighborhood as possible.
In response to questions from the Board, Ms. Czerniak explained that natural
materials are encouraged to achieve consistency with the overall high quality
and historic character of the community. She added that natural materials
patina over time, giving character to homes and neighborhoods.
In response to a question from Board member Diamond, Mr. Bucy confirmed that
the stone veneer is real stone. He provided a brick sample noting that full size
bricks, not veneer, will be used. He confirmed the stone is a natural stone that will
be 2-3 inch thick panels. He agreed to general concepts on the intended color
palettes to the Board. He stated that the synthetic trim will simulate rough cut
cedar and the synthetic shake and vertical board and batten materials will also
replicate true wood. He noted that the synthetic panels that are intended to
replicate stucco are embossed with texture. He stated that the metal roof will be
a weathered tone. He stated that aluminum wrapped fascia and soffits are
In response to questions from Board member Diamond, Mr. Bucy stated that
fiberglass front doors and metal garage doors are proposed. He stated that the
fireplaces are direct vent so there is no need for chimneys.
Ms. Czerniak stated that staff recommended adding chimneys for consistency
with the selected architectural styles.
In response to questions from Board member Bires, Mr. Bucy stated that to some
extent, the buyers’ selection of style and design options will be limited because
every house will not fit on every lot. He added that the lot depth will restrict, to
some extent, which floor plans will fit on specific lots.
Acting Chairman Reda noted that in his opinion, the rear elevations are almost as
important as the front elevations, especially to the neighbors. He stated that he
would like to see more elevations to better understand the design options. He
suggested that the petitioners come back to the Board after further study and
refinement. He urged the petitioner to work with staff. He noted that the
fenestration on some elevations appears disjointed and the roof lines on some of
the styles too complicated. He noted that a maximum of 2-3 materials should be
used on each the exterior. He requested details and specifications on the
proposed exterior materials and information on the color palettes. He noted that
the anti-monotony matrix should be further developed and details.
In response to questions from Acting Chairman Reda, Mr. Bucy confirmed that the
lots will be individually owned.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Mulcrone stated that landscaping
and maintenance of the common areas will be the responsibility of the
Homeowners’ Association. He stated that the concept is to strike a balance with
the Homeowners’ Association having primary responsibility and control while
allowing some control of individual properties by the owners. He noted that the
lots are wide enough to allow for landscape buffers, pools and entertainment
areas. He noted that these areas will not be not restricted. He confirmed that the
central orchard area will be planted with that will grow fairly tall screening views
from home to home across the open space.
Hearing no further questions from the Board, Acting Chairman Reda invited public
Art Miller, 169 Wildwood Road, representing the Lake Forest Preservation
Foundation, agreed that there may be minimal visibility of the rear elevations due
to the growth of the orchard trees over time and that the front façade of the
homes will be the main focus. He noted that the designs appear very busy with
various materials and roof forms. He stated that generally, only a few elements
should stand out to the eye. He observed that on one of the elevations, the front
entry appears cave-like and suggested that the entry be widened to avoid this
effect. He suggested reviewing the overall proportions of various aspects of the
designs. He noted that the Craftsman style should have more of a front porch and
suggested several architectural design books that may be helpful to the
petitioner. He suggested that the designs be simplified to be truer representations
of the selected styles and to appear more characteristic of Lake Forest. He
questioned whether the composite materials proposed may have longer term
weaknesses that natural products do not have.
In response to a question from Mr. Miller, Mr. Mulcrone verified that the boards, in
the board and batten design, will be texturized, but straight. He stated that the
development will not be age restricted but noted that it may appeal to certain
Mr. Miller added that 2 car garages may be an issue for some families and
suggested that an option for a 3 car garage could be studied and offered if
found to be viable.
Dan Siebald, 560 Ivy Court, stated that his concerns are related to the overall site
plan which he acknowledged is under the Plan Commission’s purview. He stated
that, in his opinion, there is no uniqueness to the project. He questioned whether
the homes will sell and stated that he believes the development should return to
the Plan Commission for further consideration.
Hearing no further public testimony, Acting Chairman Reda invited final
comments from the Board.
Board member Bires stated that more information on the proposed exterior
materials and color palettes is needed. He stated support for continuing the
petitioner to allow the petitioner to do further study.
Board member Diamond stated that he is supportive of the project overall, but
that he is concerned with the proposed exterior materials. He noted that the
elevations should be further refined and agreed that the petition should be
Board member Dunne stated that he is supportive of the project overall. He
stated that he understands that the maintenance free aspect is important for
marketing, but noted that the community has a tradition of supporting natural,
more elegant materials in order to preserve the community’s character. He stated
that simplicity of design is important. He stated that the development will be
beneficial to the community if done correctly and thoughtfully.
Acting Chairman Reda stated that the plans are on the right path. He stated that
the front facades should be simplified. He suggested that there could be a cost
savings in simplifying the elevations which could be directed toward higher
quality exterior materials. He noted that the development will achieve a greater
understated elegance with the use of natural materials.
Ms. Czerniak stated that based on the Board’s direction, staff will continue to work
with the petitioner to bring back plans that address the Board’s comments and
questions. She stated that the Board has approved metal garage doors with
appropriate detailing in the past, but not synthetic panels, in place of stucco. She
recommended the proposed use of full size bricks and true stone, rather than a
cast stone product. She noted that extensive samples of the proposed exterior
materials will be presented to the Board at the next meeting.
Hearing no further comments from the Board, Acting Chairman Reda invited a
Board member Diamond made a motion to continue consideration of the petition to
allow the petitioner to refine and simplify the design to achieve greater compatibility
with the selected architectural styles, to reconsider the type and number of exterior
materials and to more fully meet the City’s standards for residential design.
The motion was seconded by Board member Dunne and passed by a vote of 4
4. Opportunity for the public to address the Building Review Board on non-agenda
There was no additional public testimony presented to the Board.
5. Additional information from staff.
There was no additional information presented by staff.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:54 p.m.