Lake County Gazette

Lake County Gazette

Saturday, December 14, 2019

City of Highland Park Plan and Design Commission met September 24

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Nov 8, 2019


City of Highland Park Plan and Design Commission met Sept. 24.

Here is the minutes provided by the commission:


At 7:30 PM Chair Hecht called the meeting to order and asked Director Fontane to call the roll.


Members Present: Glazer, Hecht, Kutscheid, Leaf, Lidawer, Pearlstein, Reinstein

Members Absent: None

Director Fontane took the roll and declared a quorum present.

Staff Present: Awsumb, Burhop, Cross, Fontane

Student Rep.: Rubin

Council Liaison: Schuster


1. Continuation of Public Hearing #19-02-ZTA-002 to amend the text of Chapter 150, of the Zoning Code, including standards, provisions and uses allowed, found in Article IV of Chapter 150.

2. Continuation of Public Hearing #19-02-REZ-001 to establish zoning map boundaries of the Briergate District. The Public Hearing will include a consideration to create a new overlay district, zoning district changes potentially involving a change to B4-4, changes in permitted uses, or a combination.

Items 1 and 2 will be heard concurrently.

Deputy Director Awsumb made a presentation including red flag resolution, proposed B3-A district zoning, B3-A unique elements and key recommendation elements.

Commissioner Leaf mentioned under bulk it says not applicable for maximum height of the structure and if this was saying it has to be a PUD.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated it does not have to be and it is more of a legal question.

The policy intention is not to force this to have to be a planned district.

Planner Cross stated it is a detail they can fix. It exists for all of these zoning districts even though it is not applicable in many of them. This is resolved two cells down and this is the key regulation.

Director Fontane stated the reason why it was introduced was because if you look to the right there are districts where there is a difference between the height within a PUD and not in a PUD.

Mr. Schuster stated they can work with staff so there is no ambiguity.

Director Fontane stated it is mostly cosmetic. The bifurcation is really about the districts to the right.

Commissioner Lidawer asked about the 25’ and she did not see it under B3-A.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated she was looking at all of the language and the chart was a little jumbled. Most of them are the same between B3 and B3-A.

Commissioner Kutscheid asked if Old Deerfield would be considered a front yard.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated significant parts of the existing development predate the

City’s planned district and some other zoning. Old Deerfield is a side yard. Through remodeling you could put the front façade facing Old Deerfield. Both buildings face the middle of the site.

Director Fontane stated on page four the amendment is underlined and shows 150.713(A)

– a setback of not less than 25’ in width must be maintained on each lot within the B3-A district along Deerfield Rd. Regardless of the orientation, that buffer will be there on Deerfield Rd. What turns out to be a front yard depends on how things develop. If it is all one lot it would be a through lot. If it is split up Old Deerfield could be a front yard and

Deerfield would be a front yard for another development. If a new road were introduced within the development that could change front yard orientations. There are a number of configurations that could happen but there will have to be a buffer.

Commissioner Kutscheid asked if there could be zero setback on Old Deerfield.

Director Fontane stated there will still be setbacks.

Deputy Director Awsumb you would have at least 10-20’ and if it was the front yard it would be 25’ on Old Deerfield.

Planner Cross stated given the layout it is possible that the property could be oriented such that there is a way to have a front yard along Old Deerfield. Any future redevelopment is going to rely on this intersection. It is very likely that a future development will be oriented to the north.

Commissioner Leaf asked if the buffer is defined in the code.

Planner Cross stated its review would be part of the design review process.

Director Fontane stated what is in the landscape setback would be part of a planned development.

Commissioner Glazer asked about the exception as part of the draft to the requirement for first floor commercial.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated if someone would try to develop on the site for residential on the upper floors, but they were going to keep commercial on the first floor that would be by right in the new B3-A and would be permitted. If they wanted to do a horizontal mixed use and say it is not going to be a residential only site, but they want residential only here and then a grocery and a cluster of restaurants and some service and it will be a campus type development. There would be a mix of uses but there would be a stand alone residential and they would have to apply through the planned development process and get an approval. It would have to include a mix of uses.

Commissioner Glazer asked if that presupposed multiple structures. Deputy Director Awsumb stated yes.

Chair Hecht stated it still cannot be more than 25% of the development. Director Fontane stated commercial has to be at least 25%. Commissioner Leaf asked if the Jewel s.f. is included.

Director Fontane stated it depends on what the PUD includes. One or more lots can be included in the PUD. It depends on the delineation of the PUD.

Commissioner Leaf asked if they included the Jewel property would that go towards the 25%.

Director Fontane stated yes.

Commissioner Leaf stated it is not for new construction and could be current. Director Fontane stated just for commercial/retail uses.

Planner Cross stated Jewel is on separately owned property. Any development consideration would have to decide whether it would be advantageous to include that property.

Director Fontane stated it is an interesting nuance and should the Commission want to dictate a change be made that it be new commercial or exclude existing commercial at a certain time they could consider this.

Commissioner Leaf stated it might be worth further discussion.

Director Fontane stated a PUD can include one or more lots and does not mean anything is going to happen on the lots.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated the applicant would need to have control over the full site or all the parcels to be able to consider it.

Chair Hecht asked who owns the Jewel.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated Jewel owns it.

Chair Hecht asked if Silverado would count as there are no actual dwelling units.

Director Fontane stated that is a conditional use in the new district. It is not a residential use.

Planner Cross stated they are not dwelling units.

Planner Cross stated they worked hard on this with Corporate Counsel and are excited about it. They are confident it addresses what the Commission wants and the idea is to recommend approval of the new language with or without conditions to Council.

Mr. Michael Laxner, Resident, stated it looked like the overlay is not going to happen, had issue with it being B3-A, uses line up with B4-4, would prefer to see as B4-4 with notation like B2-RW has, maybe use B4-BG, would be less confusing, adds another geographic context, does not align well, curious as to how 25% applies to the lot and how density is determined for lot.

Director Fontane stated it is 100% of the lot.

Mr. Laxner asked if they are saying they can have a separate residential property alongside the commercial mixed use what is the delineation between percentages.

Chair Hecht stated it is more separate buildings.

Mr. Laxner stated what if they do a 100,000 s.f. mixed use and use the other 90,000 s.f. for residential only. They might be getting around the RM-1 an RM-2 lower densities. If they are looking at a planned development with multiple buildings would they take one floor away. He thought there were aspects of the master plan that were in conflict with this.

Director Fontane stated these were good comments. In terms of the name of the district, if they thought it needed to change they can consider this. It is just a naming convention and does not change the substance. He asked if the Commission had any thoughts on achieving a four-story residential building in a split development.

Chair Hecht stated he thought they were talking about a developer and trying to develop a whole neighborhood on that parcel with different pieces for different reasons.

Commissioner Leaf stated it could be an issue they should discuss further. If Jewel did a sale lease back to the developer so the s.f. could be included in the calculations for a PUD. What would happen is a lot of the commercial space for the development would be part of the PUD because the developer would own Jewel. They could put in more residential than what the Commission had been thinking about.

Mr. Schuster stated it is how you want to treat the existing Jewel facility. It would trigger a planned development and they would come in to get ground floor residential on the other part of the site. They would still have to come back for the planned development and it would not operate as an integrated site and does not meet the standards for a planned development because it is using a pre-existing building and it would still have to come back before the Commission.

Chair Hecht stated it is still not as of right even with the Jewel included. Regardless if the Jewel is included or not, they would have to come before the Commission.

Mr. Schuster stated to put the residential use on the ground floor they would go through the planned development process.

Commissioner Leaf stated as far as the ask from the developer it would be part of their calculations if they controlled the property. He thought the variance they sought would be less.

Director Fontane stated it could be packaged in different ways. They have existing buildings on the other side of the site and perhaps they could be reused. If the policy is that they want to see a commercial component, the question is how much of the commercial should they count for the requirement. As a policy intent it would be best to try and clear it up on the front end.

Chair Hecht stated there is already a developer who owns Toys R Us and he thought this would come up fairly soon in the next couple of years.

Director Fontane asked how do they account for the existing commercial out there and does it count towards the 25%. He did not know if they would say additional commercial development and it might be less, but they still want it to be a significant portion.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if the 25% did not apply to new construction.

Director Fontane stated it would and the question is whether it would apply to existing.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated it is ambiguous now.

Director Fontane stated someone might package something like that.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked the way ordinance is drafted would the Commission and Council have their choice.

Director Fontane stated if the Ordinance does not specify then it becomes arguable.

Mr. Schuster stated if they do not specify they are falling back on the planned development process. If they believe the planning goal is to think about new development they can exempt out and say that currently existing commercial uses shall not be counted towards the 25% requirement for future development.

Commissioner Glazer stated he heard Director Fontane say he did not think this was the best approach.

Director Fontane stated that is not what he meant. He meant what does that imply for existing on site and will they count at all or not at all.

Mr. Schuster stated there are two potentially conflicting policy issues. One is to not allow currently existing commercial uses to count towards the 25%. This could mean that anyone proposing a project would need more commercial than 25%. If the goal is to see something where they want to maintain commercial, someone could try to use pre- existing and provide a limited amount of new commercial and treat it as a more residential development. It is judgment call of how they want to deal with it. Someone could package land and say they net the 25%, therefore the new building is going to be all residential.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if the way it is drafted is by right.

Planner Cross stated no.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if that would be the proposal.

Director Fontane stated by definition in the uses the threshold is defined as 25%. Vice Chair Reinstein asked if the threshold is the minimum.

Director Fontane stated it is not less than 25%.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if they could write the ordinance so the City has the maximum flexibility. As soon as they come up with a solution, he could think of other situations that would require another solution. He thought it best to write an ordinance that gives the City flexibility.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated the key ingredient is that Jewel will be a part of someone else’s planned development. The lease buy back might be feasible. What is the motivation to be part of someone’s application. A simple hypothetical that helps understand the 25% is just to develop three floors of residential and keep the grocery and retail on the first floor. That is what is zoned by right. If they want to start having residential then they have to present their ideas and go through process.

Commissioner Glazer stated the way it is currently drafted lends credence to that proposal because they are operating within the language of the agreement. Since the premise of this concept is to preserve the commercial component they could draft the ordinance so that the first floor commercial component is required including any additional development but if it is appropriate, the developer could seek a variance form that requirement.

Director Fontane stated the notion behind the planning is how do they best redevelop which can take many forms such as adaptive reuse and some are incentives to create new development.

Mr. Schuster stated they are talking about what uses are allowed and they do not allow variations for uses. The issue might show itself more in a text amendment where if a developer came forward with a creative idea that does not seem to fit and they present it, one element might be a text amendment.

Chair Hecht stated one of the purposes of this is to give some predictability and clarity to the development community so they know what they can do. He did not know if it was a good idea to make it too restrictive, even if they have controls. He thought they were getting too hyper technical about it.

Commissioner Lidawer stated they need clarity so people know what is behind the policy. There is ambiguity and she thought they should be clear about policy.

Planner Cross stated this is a very geographically specific zoning district and they are really looking for new development in half of the district. If the goal is to encourage mixed use, then they could put the 25% of gross floor area in new commercial or retail uses.

Mr. Schuster stated under the current text it is not ambiguous and they can package together existing commercial uses. If they only want to count the new commercial retail uses the way to do it would be to add the phrase new. It is a policy decision and a matter if they want to be able to count current commercial and retail uses or can they only factor in new uses that are not there today.

Director Fontane stated someone could say they are giving us an incentive to rebuild as opposed to trying to reposition some of the existing buildings and put new buildings in addition to.

Commissioner Lidawer stated if they just have three stories of residential what if someone leveled the big boxes and made a village feel with townhomes and commercial. She asked if they knocked down the two big boxes would that be 25%.

Commissioner Leaf stated he was concerned about packaging the current use. Adding the word “new” clarifies things.

Chair Hecht stated there are existing tenants in the Toys R Us building and are they considered new commercial retail uses.

Director Fontane stated they are talking about gross floor area, not a particular tenant.

Chair Hecht stated it says not less than 25% of the gross floor area is used for new commercial or retail uses. That exempts anything that is there now.

Director Fontane stated if they put new in there that might not be the exact way to do it.

Mr. Schuster stated they can decide on the policy direction and they will make the words fit.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated the Commission’s desire is to protect against someone acquiring the site, putting a project together and drawing a line around Jewel and using that as the box check. He thought it was a good comment and requires some level of cooperation.

Planner Cross stated they could communicate that the Plan & Design Commission does not see that as meeting the standards of a planned development.

Director Fontane stated they could have another line that states what constitutes new buildings for commercial and retail uses.

Commissioner Leaf asked if they are able to approve the language with conditions.

Director Fontane stated that would be what he recommends. If the Commission is clear that they are referring to buildings and not the uses for the new aspect of things that would be important to make clear to corporate counsel and they can wordsmith it. They would want all of these developments be not less than 25% retail uses and what counts in terms of this calculation is the new building aspect. It has to be new gross floor area.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated with good language, the City will have a belt and suspenders approach that the language will say that is not how we put a project together. Even if they had a creative attorney it is not by right. They would still go through the planned development process. By strengthening the language, they have two protections in place.

Commissioner Lidawer motioned that any new building area would incorporate 25% or more commercial usage. Commissioner Pearlstein seconded.

Director Fontane stated the policy pertains to the buildings.

Commissioner Leaf asked if they should motion for the change from B3-A.

Deputy Director Awsumb stated it was seen as not an overlay and they are just narrowing it. This is blending different features. The B3-A vs. anything is discretionary.

Commissioner Lidawer stated she would be happy to go back to the B4-4. She did not like the idea of creating something before they had anything before the Commission.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated they could use the location name, and calling it B3 is false advertising.

Commissioner Glazer asked about calling it the BG district. Director Fontane stated the B stands for business.

Mr. Schuster stated this is a naming convention with no legal ramifications. They can call it whatever they like. The question is what message they want to convey. If they want to name it B4-4, B3A, BG it is literally a naming convention with no legal implications.

Commissioner Lidawer asked why they had to name it.

Director Fontane stated they had to be able to talk about it.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked about B4-Briergate or B4-BG.

Chair Hecht asked for an amendment for the proposed motion.

Commissioner Lidawer stated they would call it B4-BG. Vice Chair Reinstein seconded. Chair Hecht asked if this was acceptable to the movant.

Commissioner Lidawer stated it was acceptable.

Commissioner Kutscheid stated there are two different items they are voting on, #19-02- REZ-001 and #19-02-ZTA-002.

Planner Cross stated the findings of fact for both items were already recommended for approval. This is the ordinance with the actual language changes that is going forward to Council. The findings of fact have been approved and will be given to Council along with the actual language that conceptualizes both of the public hearings.

Commissioner Kutscheid stated he was still against the density, but was for the map change. He asked if they were taking them together.

Director Fontane stated this will be their vote to Council. There is a map amendment and a text amendment so there will be two separate votes.

Mr. Schuster asked if they adopted the findings at the last meeting.

Director Fontane stated he would have to check the record.

Commissioner Kutscheid stated they only had one vote at the last meeting.

Mr. Schuster asked if the vote was to prepare or was it on the item itself.

Planner Cross stated there was language to direct staff to draft an ordinance and stated the findings of fact should be considered tonight.

Mr. Schuster stated he would recommend two separate votes on the findings of fact and each of them shall incorporate the proposed ordinance that is before the Commission. They are amending the text of Chapter 150 and they will vote on each item.

Planner Cross stated the motion would be to approve the findings of fact for the first public hearing with the conditions that the ordinance address the issues. He recommended Commissioner Lidawer withdraw her motion and a motion to approve the findings of fact with the conditions the ordinance address these as discussed tonight.

Commissioner Lidawer withdrew her motion.

Planner Cross stated the Commission could submit a motion approving the findings of fact and recommending approval to Council under the conditions discussed tonight.

Chair Hecht entertained a motion. Vice Chair Reinstein so motioned, seconded by Commissioner Leaf.

Director Fontane called the roll:

Ayes: Lidawer, Pearlstein, Leaf, Glazer, Reinstein 

Nays: Kutscheid, Hecht

Motion passed 5-2.

Chair Hecht entertained a motion for #19-02-REZ-001. Vice Chair Reinstein so motioned, seconded by Commissioner Leaf.

Planner Cross stated it would be a motion to approve the findings of fact recommending approval for #19-02-REZ-001 to establish the new B4-BG district.

Director Fontane called the roll:

Ayes: Lidawer, Pearlstein, Leaf, Kutscheid, Glazer, Reinstein, Hecht

Nays: None

Motion passed 7-0.

Planner Cross stated the findings of fact and draft ordinance will appear before Council.

Director Fontane stated there is an October 15th and October 28th meeting and it probably would be at the October 28th meeting, but he needed to confirm with the mayor.

3. Public Hearing #19-08-ZTA-003 for Proposed Changes to the Zoning Code related to Lake Michigan Protection Regulations Zone and Steep Slope Zone.

Planner Burhop made a presentation for the above including background, beach structure regulations, Lake Michigan protection zone, shoreline and bluff protection structures, beach structure permit process, issues to consider, proposed changes, Sustainability Advisory Group (SAG) feedback and recommendation.

Chair Hecht stated they will start with the Lake Michigan protection zone.

Commissioner Leaf asked about the effectiveness and impact of beach structures as far as the drift of sand and the science being uncertain. He asked for an update.

Planner Burhop stated these are summarized comments from the USACE and IDNR.

Commissioner Leaf stated he did not know if the science was settled as far as the revetments and what happens to the sand drift.

Director Fontane stated nothing is 100%. Council was looking at boards and commissions at the end of last year and part of the direction Council gave was to restructure some of the commissions into advisory groups. There are certain regulatory considerations they wanted to see become an administrative process. One of the top candidate was this issue. The City has felt in the way of planning and long permitting processes prior to coming to the Commission to go through the process. The idea was to take look at it and is there a way to make this an administrative process.

Commissioner Leaf concurred with the suggestions as far as striking the standards. He thought the unnecessary permit process the City has vs. the other agencies is in the right direction to streamline things. He asked about water gathering and if a private citizen would ever be water gathering from Lake Michigan and why it is part of the ordinance.

Planner Burhop stated he was not really sure what it means and it is not defined. He though maybe it had to do with water plant facilities.

Director Fontane stated that might be what it is.

Commissioner Leaf asked if they wanted to include this.

Director Fontane stated he would not remove it.

Mr. Schuster said he would not recommend removing it without further study.

Commissioner Leaf mentioned the comments about striking and he concurred.

Commissioner Kutscheid stated alerting the neighbors on either side is important. He asked if that was the next door person or is it by distance and what is proposed.

Planner Burhop stated the current requirement is that you have to notify the 10 properties up water and the 10 properties down water. What is proposed is requiring notice to those properties that are adjacent or adjoining across the ROW.

Commissioner Kutscheid thought is needed because sometimes there is a sliver access to the lake and that may not be enough. Maybe it could be 100’ or 150’.

Commissioner Glazer asked if someone wanted to build a revetment and sought administrative approval and was denied, or if someone was opposed to a neighbor building a revetment and it was granted is their appeal to Council.

Planner Burhop stated any determination made by the zoning administrator is appealed to the ZBA.

Commissioner Glazer stated the appellate process should be set forth.

Director Fontane stated it is a zoning code. If there is an appeal as to a determination of the zoning administrator there is a provision provided.

Mr. Schuster stated if it is a building code situation that is a different process. Commissioner Glazer asked if Council got to weigh in on this.

Director Fontane stated not on a zoning appeal. Council has granted the ZBA the authority to deal with those issues.

Mr. Schuster stated this is standard in almost every community in Illinois. If there is a disagreement with a ZBA decision it is appealed to the courts.

Commissioner Glazer mentioned the proposed changes on pages 25-26 and he agreed that most of the standards are appropriate to be stricken and would make two exceptions – item F for proposed regulatory activity and structure shall not create new or amplify erosion on the subject properties and adjacent properties and thought it appropriate to have the applicant submit a statement from a licensed professional and not just strike the standard. Regarding item H that there will not be any unnecessary adverse environmental impacts on the subject property or any adjacent properties, they should nail this down with a licensed professional.

Commissioner Leaf asked if these were reviewed by the State and Corps of Engineers.

Commissioner Lidawer stated she did not think that was what they were asking. The standards are there and the ZBA is the reviewing body and they were not asking the Commission what should be taken out.

Commissioner Glazer stated those specifically mentioned stated the items are reviewed by other agencies. Items F and H do not state that and do not show those factors would be redundant. It seems like these two were previously the province of the SAG.

Commissioner Leaf asked if they were redundant.

Planner Burhop stated there is a degree of complexity with what is reviewed. If things are of a certain size they get reviewed. If they are below a certain size they do not necessarily review certain things. He did not know if the Corps of Engineers and IDNR review these for all possible beach structures.

Commissioner Glazer stated he thought it was important that the City nail this down.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated he understood Council wants to look at streamlining and why these two subjects were identified for possible changes. They come under one public hearing number and they are way different things. The beach items have the IDNR and Corps of Engineers that can go through the whole thing. He thought they could feel good that this has been through a process. He did not think the same entities existed for the steep slope and thought the steep slope was put into place because there was some kind of problem. To be short cutting the process is different. He would like to deal with them separately. Regarding the beach structures, why change the standards at all. After some time they will have some experience. Now it is written they should strike it or do something else. They are totally different choices to either eliminate the standards or have a professional make a declaration about the standard. He stated they do not know if it is important or not so why would they get rid of it.

Director Fontane stated the choice is in there because if the Commission and Council do not want to change the standards they would ask those statements be provided. They do not have the capacity of staff for all those things. They do not want it up to staff to make that determination without a statement from a professional.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if they had the type of know how to have the ability to make a determination on those standards.

Director Fontane stated it is usually through a third party at very high expenses.

Planner Burhop stated the current process was discussed with SAG and they said they want out of the business of making recommendations for these. They no longer want to be involved in making recommendations on these standards.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if that means the standards should not apply. He took their decision making to be that they have these other regulatory bodies doing the job so they do not have to. Should the City not have standards.

Director Fontane stated there are only select standards.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated he knew less than any of them and they are asking for him to decide whether the standards should be in there. He thought they should keep it in until they know it should be gone.

Planner Burhop stated the alternative recommendation is they remain in there and they require the applicants to have a licensed engineer to certify the standard is met.

Chair Hecht stated it does need to be there and is reviewed by other agencies. Some of these are already conditions of approval and there are reasons to get rid of some of them.

Commissioner Leaf stated the homeowners are going to hire someone who is going to concur on the project. They are putting them to extra expense.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated the streaming is supposed to save the homeowner time and money. He was not in a position to tell anyone what standards should or should not apply.

Commissioner Leaf stated he looked at the recommendation from SAG and they concur that there is enough oversight now.

Commissioner Lidawer stated she agreed with Vice Chair Reinstein and was not an expert who can say this should go in or out. It is very redundant in terms of reviewability. People from SAG concurred almost 100% that there was no need for this. It sounded like some Council members said they liked hearing from them. It is still putting homeowners to a greater expense, longer time periods and multiple reviews. She thought they should take out as much redundancy as possible because it seems as compared to the other communities they are the most onerous community with the most review processes. It sounded like there were adequate professional opinions that were looking at these factors and had the staff and expertise to review it. She would agree with the advisory group’s recommendation. She would defer to Commissioner Glazer that if there are one or two where they are so small they are not sure there is any review going on she would keep those available and separate them out.

Chair Hecht entertained a motion for the proposed changes to the Lake Michigan Protection Regulation Zone.

Commissioner Glazer motioned to adopt the recommendation from the City with regard to the proposed changes to Article VII including the removal from SAG of the responsibility to review the certain matters as outlined in the proposal and to eliminate the standards as set forth in A through J of the local standards in the section with the exception that F and H would require the applicant to submit signed/sealed statements by a qualified licensed professional that the standard is met. Commissioner Lidawer seconded.

Chair Hecht stated it is also to review Council review process. Mr. Schuster stated the direction is for staff to prepare findings.

Planner Cross stated staff will prepare findings of fact and a red lined ordinance will be provided to the Commission for review.

Commissioner Leaf asked if they wanted to keep A, G and J.

Commissioner Glazer stated it is set forth in the proposal and it is consistent with what the City has proposed except for H and F.

Director Fontane stated they are directing staff to remove or have the certifications.

Commissioner Glazer stated for F and H they would ask the applicant to submit a signed statement.

Commissioner Kutscheid asked if they could add the neighbors who are 100’ in each direction.

Commissioner Glazer stated notice should be given to neighbors who are 100’ in each direction.

Director Fontane called the roll:

Ayes: Lidawer, Pearlstein, Kutscheid, Glazer, Reinstein, Hecht 

Nays: Leaf

Motion carried 6-1.

Planner Burhop made a presentation for the steep slope zone including background, Article 19 Steep Slope Zone (SSZ), what does steep slope ordinance do, aesthetics and safety control of SSZ, SSZ variation process, proposed changes and recommendation.

Commissioner Lidawer stated it sounded like the ZBA wanted SAG recommendations, but also because of the timing it was cumbersome. It sounded like they would still keep two SAG members who would make recommendations to the ZBA if they eliminate the process.

Planner Burhop stated staff is recommending the Plan & Design Commission consider a compromise as having SAG members sit ex-officio on the ZBA for SSZ variations.

Commissioner Lidawer asked if SAG would no longer weigh in for the SSZ but when those issues come before the ZBA two SAG members would be asked to sit in to offer their recommendations at the ZBA meetings so there is not a time lag.

Planner Burhop stated yes.

Chair Hecht asked how SAG would decide who the ex-officio members are.

Mr. Schuster stated other communities use a similar process and the two most senior members would serve ex-officio on the ZBA. If they chose not to make it the longest serving they can come up with any construct how the two would be selected.

Chair Hecht asked if that is part of their review.

Mr. Schuster stated the most common would be the most senior members. If they have another construct it is up to them to recommend.

Director Fontane stated they had no particular opinion and thought two members would be involved.

Mr. Schuster stated the Mayor would select two during their term to serve as ex-officio members. It is whatever they want the code to state.

Commissioner Leaf thought the SAG was not in favor of the two ex-officio members and wanted everything as is, and the same with the ZBA.

Planner Burhop stated SAG did not weigh in on the ex-officios. When this was brought to them in May it was to remove SAG from the process. After they received their comments staff thought they could continue getting input from SAG and still streamline the process. They did not weigh in on this idea.

Commissioner Leaf asked about the ZBA.

Commissioner Lidawer stated they were unanimous in wanting SAG input.

Director Fontane stated they were asked by Council to seek feedback from SAG and the ZBA.

Planner Burhop stated the minutes from the ZBA reflect him stating another option is to talk to the SAG to see if they would serve in an ex-officio capacity and provide comments.

Director Fontane stated SAG was the first stop in their feedback.

Commissioner Leaf stated he would not want to rule on this until they have clear indication from both SAG and the ZBA on the proposal.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked how many SAG members there are.

Planner Burhop stated 10.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if the SAG members all had the same background.

Planner Burhop stated they varied backgrounds and was not certain.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated in terms of how this compromise has been proposed, if the two members or advisors to the ZBA disagree then what happens.

Mr. Schuster stated the two members sitting as ex-officio on the ZBA are actually not providing a recommendation on behalf of SAG. SAG will never review it or vote on it.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated he thought the ZBA feels they are getting expertise they do not have. The compromise is to give them a two-member expertise and they will streamline the process. When one of these cases arises why not tell SAG they have to meet.

Commissioner Leaf asked if there are special meetings that could be called for SAG.

Director Fontane stated it is the open meeting law. Council’s direction was to explore ways to streamline and that is what staff did. They will get professional input on these matters that will fill the gaps.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked about third party engineering review.

Director Fontane stated they have an engineering division and they run the capital improvements with a small capable staff engaged in the capital improvement program. In these cases they would have a third party consultant who would be available to assist in review and provide technical support specifically related to these applications should the engineers not be able to do it. They are providing consistency of service with regard to that.

Commissioner Leaf asked if this was paid by the City or homeowner.

Director Fontane stated it was paid for by the applicant. The zoning codes requires there be a third party deposit for any services not otherwise on staff. They thought they could supply whatever civil engineering needs and the ZBA wants to make sure they have the information they need and they were relying on SAG. The applicant has to have competent people on their design team and there would be a peer review of that.

Commissioner Lidawer asked if SAG would be done or if this would not be one of their responsibilities.

Director Fontane stated the regulatory component of SAG’s involvement would be done. Chair Hecht asked why this two-step process was put in place at the beginning.

Director Fontane stated they have no history on that aspect.

Chair Hecht asked if it was always a two-step process.

Planner Burhop stated it was at least since the late 1990s.

Director Fontane stated there are not many things you can do the ravines.

Chair Hecht stated his concern was Highland Park has a reputation of being difficult and cumbersome to deal with. He asked the reason for two commissions to review this through the same application and why does the ZBA need SAG to hold a separate public hearing to make a recommendation. There are two different commissions weighing in on this and he did not understand why the two-step process was necessary and what added value there is.

Director Fontane stated the members of both commissions were informed of this meeting.

Commissioner Glazer stated the membership of SAG is made up of a different group than sit on the ZBA. On the SAG they have environmental backgrounds.

Chair Hecht stated he would like to hear from one of the members.

Commissioner Glazer stated if what is driving this proposal is the timing issue and the group meets once a month that can delay development plans. If there was a need for more information and if SAG heard a case and it has to be continued why can’t SAG be asked with holding a special meeting rather than requiring a full month for an applicant to wait and then be able to sent to the ZBA on a prompt basis for disposition.

Commissioner Lidawer stated she did not know if there was a charter, but it sounded like an ad hoc basis and they could comply with the open meetings act on an as needed basis so they did not slow up the process.

Chair Hecht asked how this would work with 10 members and to try and schedule a meeting.

Commissioner Leaf stated his issue was not hearing directly from the ZBA and SAG. He was going to vote no until they hear from them.

Commissioner Glazer stated they knew about the meeting and could have been here.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated both SAG and ZBA are against it. He did not need to hear anything more.

Chair Hecht stated both SAG and ZBA were unanimous in opposing these changes.

Commissioner Leaf stated they have not heard them respond as staff recommendations for the ex-officio.

Commissioner Pearlstein stated they are not in position to do anything at this moment.

Chair Hecht stated they can direct staff to prepare findings of fact recommending against the proposed changes to eliminate SAG. Vice Chair Reinstein so moved.

Director Fontane stated the proposed change is not to eliminate the SAG completely.

Commissioner Lidawer stated staff came up with an option and now they are telling them to prepare findings against what they recommend.

Chari Hecht entertained a motion to direct staff to prepare findings of fact recommending against adopting any of the changes proposed regarding the SSZ.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated Council wants to streamline and that is the impetus given to staff. Staff will keep suggesting things that streamline until they get enough “noes.” He kept his movement to draft findings of fact in denial of this proposal with regard to the SSZ. Commissioner Leaf seconded.

Chair Hecht stated an aye vote is a vote in favor of a negative recommendation.

Mr. Schuster stated an aye vote is in favor of directing staff to draft findings of fact recommending denial.

Director Fontane called the roll:

Ayes: Pearlstein, Leaf, Kutscheid, Glazer, Reinstein 

Nays: Lidawer, Hecht

Motion carried 5-2.

Mr. Schuster stated he recommended continuing the public hearing to the next meeting. Planner Cross stated that would be the meeting of October 22nd.

Chair Hecht entertained a motion to continue October 22nd. Commissioner Lidawer, seconded by Commissioner Pearlstein. On a voice mail, the motion carried unanimously.

4. Public Hearing #18-10-ZTA-003 for Proposed Changes to the Zoning Code for the Addition of New Experiential Land Uses and Modifications to existing land uses, including changes to land use tables, definitions, and parking requirements; amendments to the POSO and B2RW Establishment and Purpose Language; Addition of Standards for Section 150.1404(A) and Section 150.902(G) Regarding Special Uses and Changes to a Non-Conforming Use.

Planner Burhop made a presentation for the above item including background, proposed changes, proposed new uses for B4, B5, POSO, B2RW districts, other uses collected from public outreach for consideration in commercial districts, outdoor restaurant discussion, BEDAG and POA feedback, proposed addition to POSO establishment language, proposed change to special use standards and recommendation.

Director Fontane stated there is the introduction of new uses and more prohibited uses. The idea was are they allowing in and around the business districts to ensure a vibrant community. A lot of it has to do with marketing and how you project what you do. There are some experiential uses not in the code that they thought important to call out. They talked about it with Council the introduction of a flexible uses category in two categories - retail and cultural, recreational and entertainment not otherwise regulated. There is a desire by Council to look at experiential uses. In doing their research they found a lot of experiential uses tended to be a business plan rather than an actual use. They found the uses they could define and they are recommending they be adopted. They cannot think of all uses, but there is a desire to include some flexibility so if someone came with a new idea if they could fall under cultural, recreational and entertainment or retail they could have a consideration as a special use. That way they do not have to think of every use. The idea is to interject a bit more flexibility in a defined scope. There are specific use categories that these general uses apply to. They thought the two categories made sense because they are around the downtown and business areas. The other item is clarifying the POSO language and that is an additional section to what the POSO language has. Another item has to do with standards and they are proposing changing some standards they think would help the Commission and Council in terms of evaluating uses as they come forward. They are looking to add a standard 10 for SUP considerations drawn from a standard already existing in the code. They are not removing it from where it exists, but adding it to the standards for the SUP. They thought this was an area that needed to be addressed. Another item is in regard to changes in use. They have a non-conforming use in the structures provision in the code and they are recommending adding the standard for SUPs to that as well as this additional standard. They think this makes good sense in the consideration for changes in use for non-conforming uses and structures.

Commissioner Glazer stated this is an exciting and feel good proposal and is well thought out. They have input from a lot of the stakeholders and are injecting some fun into Highland Park. It is a very well taken proposal and it is hard to say anyone could not like this. It is well drafted and easy to get behind.

Chair Hecht stated he agreed.

Commissioner Kutscheid stated one thing they ran into with Ravinia Brewing was the neighbors and this could impact them.

Director Fontane stated these proposals do not change that being a conditional use or an SUP. They have in there 175’ from ground floor residential where can they allow these by right as opposed to a conditional use.

Commissioner Leaf asked about outdoor restaurant land use and if that was what they were discussing tonight in addition to experiential uses.

Director Fontane stated they would call that part of the experiential changes and while it is in the zoning code as a use, it is a conditional use. They are modifying that to allow it to be a permitted use in certain circumstances. Outdoor dining is a form of experience and it is a broad category.

Commissioner Leaf asked if Ravinia Brewing was within 175’.

Director Fontane stated they would still be required to have a special use permit. Commissioner Leaf asked if neighbors were closer than 175’.

Director Fontane stated yes.

Commissioner Leaf stated in the section it says outdoor seating must suspended at 10:00 PM and what that meant. He asked if someone could be seated at 9:55 and continue to eat.

Director Fontane stated it would mean they would have to bring them indoors.

Planner Cross stated it is the noun outdoor seating, not actually the verb escorting some one out there to sit down.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated restaurants with some outdoor seating can go to 11:00 PM whereas outdoor restaurants only go to 10:00 PM.

Director Fontane stated there is more sensitivity to the outdoor than the indoor.

Planner Burhop stated in part of these sections he wrote in alternate hours because he wanted to hear the feedback.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated his reading of the health club was that it already includes yoga, but they are throwing it in again and asked if this was redundant. He mentioned pop up uses there is a recommendation for museums and art galleries. He asked if pop up was permanent or temporary.

Planner Burhop stated the way the code looks at it is it does not care if you are going to be temporary or permanent and they just look at it as whether you are allowed or not. The staff recommendation is not necessarily to include them or not include them. They are requesting feedback as to whether those uses should be considered as being allowed in some of the downtown districts. They are requesting feedback for museums and art galleries as to whether they should be considered as being allowed in some of the downtown districts.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if this was permanent.

Planner Burhop confirmed this. They make no distinction as to temporary or long term. You are either allowed or you are not.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated they included that recommendation under the pop up one and he thought pop up was temporary. He asked about retail to medical land uses they have dentists and doctors. He asked about chiropractors.

Planner Burhop stated they do not have patient focused specialty medical office defined.

Director Fontane stated that is something for the Commission to consider if they should allow that.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked about the performance entertainment venue and if it fell underneath cultural recreational entertainment.

Planner Burhop stated there is a specific land use and definition on page 111.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if they had not defined it, would it have fallen under that category.

Planner Burhop stated yes.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated for some of these it looked like it was important to give a definition of what they think it is, but for some of them there is a bigger definition of what it is not.

Planner Burhop stated it depends on which one they are looking at. Sometimes it is easier to say what you want.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated the performance entertainment venue has three paragraphs of what they do not want. He seconded Commissioner Glazer’s motion and thought it was a good thing to do. He asked if 175’ was a best practice.

Director Fontane stated it about half a football field.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if this was a Highland Park thing. Commissioner Lidawer asked if this was done to keep them out.

Director Fontane stated it is to allow a special use process and a threshold by which you would say this is close enough to neighbors that we need to have a special use process and consider how this is going to work. After a certain distance it becomes less relevant and there is no magic number. Sound attenuates with distance.

Commissioner Kutscheid asked if there was a place 350’ away.

Director Fontane stated if you make it too high there is no place. They are trying to make a reasonable distance between them.

Commissioner Glazer asked if they wanted to address the point about the hours and consistency in the hours. He asked if they wanted to make them standard. He understood about not having outdoor seating past 10:00 PM, but if they are staying 175’ away from a residential use then perhaps 10:00 PM, especially on the weekends, might not be the best time.

Commissioner Leaf stated music is one issue, but not dining.

Director Fontane stated it is not about music and this would just be about outdoor. Commissioner Lidawer asked if they were seated by 10:00 PM.

Director Fontane stated there are two things and making them the same could be and the idea was to understand there is some sensitivity to outdoor activity after 10:00 PM. He would advocate that the Commission make clear that no activity out there means that you should not have a bunch of people out there.

Commissioner Glazer asked what if they took out the concept of seating and said all outdoor activity shall terminate by 11:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and by 10:00 PM Sundays through Thursdays.

Vice Chair Reinstein stated there is an outside area by Beelow’s and what if you wanted to have a drink outside in the summer.

Commissioner Glazer motioned to direct staff to draft red line text amendment changes and findings of fact recommending approval to Council with the exception that outdoor activities shall terminate for all purposes by 11:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and 10:00 PM Sundays through Thursdays. Commissioner Lidawer seconded.

Vice Chair Reinstein asked if they could add a friendly amendment for chiropractors. He asked how they differed from dentists.

Commissioner Lidawer stated it is an overall category and if a chiropractor wanted to come in, they could apply.

Vice Chair Reinstein withdrew the friendly amendment.

Director Fontane stated outdoor dining in the public ROW is regulated differently. They are talking about restaurants on private property. Beelow’s has outdoor dining in the public ROW and they are regulated differently.

Mr. Schuster stated when a business wants to use a public ROW for dining or other uses they enter into a license agreement with them in which the City has ultimate control over what conditions they allow. They are talking about uses on private property. In the agreement with Beelow’s there is no time restriction.

Director Fontane called the roll:

Ayes: Lidawer, Pearlstein, Leaf, Kutscheid, Glazer, Reinstein, Hecht

Nays: None

Motion passed 7-0.

Director Fontane stated they need to come back with findings of fact with the revisions presented tonight.

Mr. Schuster stated he recommended continuing the public hearing.

Chair Hecht entertained a motion to continue to October 22nd. Commission Leaf so motioned, seconded by Commissioner Pearlstein. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.


1. Next Regular Meeting - October 22, 2019 Case Briefing

2. Director Fontane stated Council directed Corporate Counsel to draft findings granting approval of the change for the POSO.

3. Meeting Resolution for 2020

Planner Cross motioned to approve the 2020 meeting resolution. Commissioner Lidawer so motioned, seconded by Vice Chair Reinstein. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.




Chair Hecht entertained a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Lidawer so motioned, seconded by Vice Chair Reinstein. On a voice vote, the motion passed unanimously.

The Plan and Design Commission adjourned at 10:30 PM.

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