Village of Lake Bluff Board of Trustees met January 22.
Village of Lake Bluff Board of Trustees met January 22.
Here is the minutes provided by the Board:
1. Call To Order And Roll Call
Village President O’Hara called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. in the Lake Bluff Village Hall Board Room, and Village Clerk Joy Markee called the roll.
The following were present:
Village President: Kathleen O’Hara
Trustees: Barbara Ankenman
Absent: Aaron Towle, Village Trustee
Also Present: Joy Markee, Village Clerk
Drew Irvin, Village Administrator
Peter Friedman, Village Attorney
Bettina O’Connell, Finance Director
Michael Croak, Building Codes Supervisor
Jeff Hansen, Village Engineer
Glen Cole, Assistant to the Village Administrator (A to VA)
2. Pledge Of Allegiance
President O’Hara led the Pledge of Allegiance.
3. Awards And Proclamation
President O’Hara read the proclamation designating January 23, 2018 as Poverty Awareness Day. She announced her intent to attend the Right Now in Lake County event featuring Dr. Scott Allard at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
4. Consideration Of The Minutes Of The January 8, 2018 Village Board Meeting
Trustee Ankenman moved to approve the January 8, 2018 Board of Trustees Regular Meeting Minutes as amended. Trustee Lemieux seconded the motion. The motion passed on a unanimous voice vote.
5. Non-Agenda Items And Visitors
President O’Hara stated the Village President and Board of Trustees allocate fifteen minutes for those individuals who would like the opportunity to address the Village Board on any matter not listed on the agenda. Each person addressing the Village Board of Trustees is asked to limit their comments to a maximum of five (5) minutes.
There were no requests to address the Board.
6. Village Board Sets The Order Of The Meeting
At the request of those present, President O’Hara moved to take Agenda Items #13 and #8a then return to the regular order of the meeting. There were no objections from the Board.
7. Item #13 – An Ordinance Amending The Lake Bluff Zoning Regulations Concerning Physical Fitness Facilities Located In The Central Business District
President O’Hara reported on December 28, 2017, the Village of Lake Bluff received a zoning relief application from Lake Effect Holdings, LLC requesting changes to the zoning code necessary to allow a prospective tenant, Personalized Pilates, to occupy a 480 square foot office space in Block One of the Central Business District (CBD). Personalized Pilates would be a new small business opened by a Lake Bluff resident who was formerly associated with the Pilates Studio of Lake Bluff prior to its recent closure.
President O’Hara reported presently, a Pilates studio is considered to be a “physical fitness facility,” which is a special use in the CBD and the L-1 Light Industrial District and prohibited in all other districts. Absent a text amendment, the Applicant would be required to seek a Special Use Permit and pay the associated costs (typically about $1,000 for similar applications), as well as be subject to any protective conditions imposed as a component of the relief. She further reported the Applicant requested a change to allow Pilates studios less than 500 square feet to be allowed as a permitted use in the CBD only. At the conclusion of their hearing, the Joint Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals (PCZBA) recommended the Village Board allow, by amending the text of the Zoning Regulations, all physical fitness facilities less than 500 square feet to be permitted uses in both the CBD and the L-1 Light Industry District. The Petitioner has requested that the Board waive first reading and approve the Ordinance at its January 22nd meeting to allow Personalized Pilates to immediately open their business.
In response to a question from Trustee Meyer, President O’Hara expressed her understanding that if the text amendment is approved, applicants seeking zoning relief for physical fitness studios less than 500 square feet would not have to come before the Board.
Trustee Lemieux stated he is okay with the proposed 500 square foot studio because it will be located on the second floor and will not compete with retail. However, he does not want to lose sight on why the original development was approved, which was to encourage retail development in the community to generate sales tax dollars.
Trustee Ankenman asked how the text amendment would apply to a 1,500 square foot facility that has gone through the process. She understands the need to encourage business but she would prefer to have a broader view to determine how future developments could be impacted. Village Attorney Peter Friedman stated the text amendment is not limited to the second floor but the use is limited to the second floor of a facility less than 500 square feet.
Village Administrator Drew Irvin stated he thinks the PCZBA discussed this specific application but there are different types of physical fitness uses identified in the Standard Identification Classification codes. He believes the PCZBA may have focused on patrons, parking, and noise amongst other zoning intensity of uses for a physical fitness facility of this size.
In response to a question from Trustee Ankenman, Village Administrator Irvin stated this particular petitioner, Mr. Rob Douglass of Lake Effect Holdings, understands the zoning process. He felt this was a reasonable request, with a low enough threshold, to consider amending the zoning code to allow this intensity of use.
Trustee Grenier stated there needs to be a line drawn if the desire is to encourage greater business developments. The request is arbitrary but it does accommodate a client with a need that can be fulfilled now. He stated if a smaller business is occupying a space that could be better used the Village should have the option to review the text amendment if it receives a request for a larger development.
Village Administrator Irvin stated the previous special use permit allowed a larger Pilates studio and there was no reported noise or parking issues. The Village has previously served as co-petitioner for zoning request specific to the Village’s Planning Studies. He asked if the Village should consider cooperating with this petitioner on costs incurred to amend the zoning code to facilitate this type of use.
As there were no further questions from the Board, Trustee Dewart moved to approve first reading of the ordinance. Trustee Meyer second the motion. The motion passed on a unanimous voice vote.
In response to a comment from Trustee Lemieux, President O’Hara stated the Petitioner has requested the Board waive second reading to allow Personalized Pilates to immediately open their business.
Trustee Ankenman asked if the business could open with the understanding that there will be second reading of the ordinance to allow for public comment. Village Administrator Irvin stated the Village typically does not authorize this type of action. To facilitate new user developments the Village has allowed owners to build out at their own risk but starting a use is different.
President O’Hara invited Ms. Heather Marsch of Personalized Pilates to the podium to comment on the requested waiver. Ms. Marsch stated she would have submitted the request sooner but there was one scheduled Board meeting for the month of December and her goal is to open on February 1, 2018.
As there were no further questions from the Board, Trustee Meyer moved to waive second reading of the ordinance. Trustee Dewart seconded the motion. The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
Ayes: (5) Ankenman, Dewart, Grenier, Lemieux and Meyer
Absent: (1) Towle
Following a question from Village Administrator Irvin, it was the consensus of the Board to direct Staff to work with the Petitioner to split the $500 permit fees.
8. Item #8a – Village Administrator’s Report: An Informational Report From North Shore Gas Director Meter To Bill Process James Robinson Regarding Meter Replacement Program Implementation
Village Administrator Irvin invited Mr. James Robinson to the podium to give a presentation on the North Shore Gas (NSG) meter replacement program.
Mr. Robinson stated the plan is to install new Automated Meter Reading devices on NSG customers’ existing meters. The purpose of the installation is to transition from outdated meter reading technology to a newer version. Mr. Robinson commented on how the program will benefit existing customers. NSG has contracted with a third party, MZI, to complete the device installation. He stated postcards were mailed in advance to customers advising that crews will being installing new meters soon. Customers will receive a second notice before crews visit the premises and a door tag will be left advising of the action taken.
In response to a question from Trustee Meyer, Mr. Robinson stated customers will not lose natural gas service during the installation.
Trustee Dewart asked if the technology was similar to ComEd’s Smart Meters. Mr. Robinson stated the devices are not smart meters. The devices are designed to transmit a radio frequency (RF) signal only when the meter is being read and not continuously.
In response to a question from Trustee Lemieux, Mr. Robinson stated the computerized device will record and store the data until the reading occurs. The expected battery lifespan is approximately 25 years because the RF signal will not be continuously transmitted.
Trustee Grenier asked if the device record usage patterns. Mr. Robinson said the device will record daily usage but not hourly patterns.
In response to a question from the Board, Mr. Robinson stated there has been no push back received to date but residents have expressed concern regarding the RF signal.
Trustee Ankenman asked if customers could opt-out of the program. Mr. Robinson said as of today NSG has not adopted an opt-out policy. He reviewed NSG’s rights pursuant to the Commerce Commission Regulations.
Trustee Ankenman asked what percentage of Lake Bluff residents have indoor meters. Mr. Robinson stated he does not know the specific number. The indoor meter replacements require an appointment and the plan is to use their crew to install the meters.
In response to a question from the Board, Mr. Robinson stated the new meters will not affect current gas rates.
Village Administrator Irvin asked if NSG expect to capture additional revenue. Mr. Robinson stated the meters will have no impact on accuracy and commented on potential revenue changes.
President O’Hara thanked Mr. Robinson for the presentation and invited Ms. Andrea Danks to the podium.
Ms. Danks, Governmental Relations for North Shore Gas introduced herself and thanked President O’Hara in advance for planning to attend the Right Now in Lake County event.
9. Item #7a – Warrant Report For January 16-31, 2018
President O’Hara reported expenditure of Village funds for payment of invoices in the amount of $468,646.06 for January 16-31, 2018.
As such, the total expenditures for this period is in the amount of $468,646.06.
As there were no questions from the Board, Trustee Dewart moved to approve the Warrant Report. Trustee Meyer seconded the motion. The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
Ayes: (5) Dewart, Grenier, Lemieux, Meyer and Ankenman
Absent: (1) Towle
10. Item #7b – December 2017 Finance Report
President O’Hara summarized of the December 2017 Finance Report highlighting major revenue sources and expenditures for the period.
• Sales tax revenue for FY18 of $1.35 million is 1.8% less than FY17 a difference of $24,290;
• Home rule sales tax for FY17 of $411,363 is 7.7% less than FY17 a difference of $34,391 of which $8,386 can be attributed to the State admin fees;
• Building permit revenue for May-December 2017 of $421,000 is $33,000 or 8.7% higher than the same period in 2016; and
• Expenditures are consistent with or less than the budget.
Trustee Lemieux inquired of the substantial decrease in home rule sales taxes. Finance Director Bettina O’Connell stated the administrative fee amounts can be reconciled to State reporting located on the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website.
In response to a question from Trustee Dewart, Finance Director O’Connell stated administrative fees are collected pursuant to State Statute from home rule sales tax communities. She stated non-home rule communities do not pay administrative fees.
President O’Hara stated administrative fees are directly related to home rule communities. The Village is a member of the Northwest Municipal Conference Special Committee which is currently reviewing policies to determine if administrative fees could be eliminated.
Trustee Dewart stated this is punitive and should raise the question as to if the State is treating communities equitably.
Trustee Ankenman briefly explained how administrative fees apply to the Village, noting the percentage is multiplied by home rule sales tax revenue and not total (e.g. non-home rule) sales tax dollars.
Trustee Lemieux moved to accept the Finance Report. Trustee Grenier seconded the motion. The motion passed on a unanimous voice vote.
11. Item #8 – Village Administrator’s Report Cont.
Village Administrator Irvin reported that he and Lake Forest City Manager Bob Kiely delivered the State of Address for their respective communities at the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce event. He specifically reported on the Village’s recycling program and future dialogue regarding diverse housing. The majority of questions expressed during the Village’s Strategic Plan related to the “missing middle housing”, which is a range of multi-unit or clustered housing types compatible in scale with single family homes.
12. Item #9 – Village Attorney’s Report
Village Attorney Peter Friedman had no report.
13. Item #10 – Village President’s Report
Village President O’Hara had no report.
14. Item #11 – Acceptance Of The Correspondence
President O’Hara introduced the correspondence from the Informational Reports on January 5 and 12, 2018.
Trustee Grenier moved to accept the correspondence as submitted. Trustee Lemieux seconded the motion. The motion passed on a unanimous voice vote.
15. Item #12 – Second Reading Of An Ordinance Authorizing The Vacation And Sale Of A Portion Of Public Right Of Way (Simpson Avenue Alley)
President O’Hara reported Katherine Murray owns the adjacent properties at 420 Simpson Avenue and 604 Ravine Avenue. The home at 420 Simpson is an occupied single family home. The former home at 604 Ravine Avenue was removed in the fall of 2016. In April 2017 Ms. Murray submitted and the Village approved a subdivision (Winston’s Crib Subdivision) that altered the lot lines of the two properties and combined the five parcels into two distinct buildable lots. She further reported the purpose of the subdivision was to enlarge the property at 420 Simpson to accommodate a new garage (on Lot 1 of Winston’s Crib Subdivision). During the review of the new garage building plans and discussions regarding another possible subdivision of the Murray-owned property, it was determined that a portion of the adjacent Village-owned Simpson Alley should be considered for vacation as it yields no public benefit and would provide a small amount of additional lot area to facilitate the Murray’s planned improvements.
President O’Hara reported over the years the Village has vacated portions of Public Right of Way when there is no public benefit to be obtained by the Village’s continued ownership. The 2002 Village Owned Lots and Unique Rights of Way Study recommended the Village vacate the far western end of this Right of Way and maintain the improved portion (25 feet in width) that serves as the functional alley. The vacation of this land would be consistent with this recommendation. She further reported the Murrays have agreed to purchase the property from the Village at fair market value ($14,500) and closing costs. The Village Board approved first reading of the ordinance at its January 8th meeting.
As there were no questions from the Board, Trustee Lemieux moved to approve the ordinance. Trustee Grenier seconded the motion. The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
Ayes: (5) Grenier, Lemieux, Meyer, Ankenman and Dewart
Absent: (1) Towle
16. Item #13 – Trustee’s Report
Trustee Grenier thanked everyone that provided input for the short term rental study. The comments received were valuable and have been incorporated in the draft regulatory framework. He stated the Board is scheduled to hold a workshop on Saturday, January 27th to continue its discussion regarding short term rental regulations.
17. Item #14 – Executive Session
At 7:50 p.m. Trustee Dewart moved to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing Executive Session Minutes (5 ILCS 120/2(c)(21)) and Appointments (5 ILCS 120/2(c)(3)). Trustee Meyer seconded the motion. The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
Ayes: (5) Lemieux, Meyer, Ankenman, Dewart and Grenier
Absent: (1) Towle
There being no further business to discuss, Trustee Meyer moved to adjourn out of executive session. Trustee Lemieux seconded the motion and the motion passed on a unanimous voice vote at 8:03 p.m.
18. Item #15 – Adjournment
Trustee Lemieux moved to adjourn the regular meeting. Trustee Dewart seconded the motion and the motion passed on a unanimous voice vote. The meeting adjourned at 8:04 p.m.