Lake County Gazette

Lake County Gazette

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

City of Highland Park Zoning Board of Appeals met October 3

By Kristine Gonzales-Abella | Jan 5, 2020

Meeting909

City of Highland Park Zoning Board of Appeals met Oct. 3.

Here is the minutes provided by the board:

I. CALL TO ORDER

At 7:30 PM Chair Chaplik called the meeting to order and asked Planner Burhop to call the roll.

Members Present: Bay, Bina, Chaplik, Cullather, Henry, Putzel

Members Absent: Fettner

Planner Burhop took the roll and declared a quorum present.

Staff Present: Burhop

Student Rep.: Edheimer

Council Liaison: Stolberg

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

1. August 15, 2019

Chair Chaplik entertained a motion to approve the minutes of the August 15, 2019 meeting. Vice Chair Cullather so motioned, seconded by Member Henry. Member Bina abstained. On a voice vote, the Chair declared the motion carried unanimously.

III. PUBLICATION DATE FOR NEW BUSINESS: 9-18-19

IV. BUSINESS FROM THE PUBLIC: None

V. OLD BUSINESS: None

VI. NEW BUSINESS:

1. #19-07-VAR-019

Property: 3392 Dato Ave., Highland Park, IL 60035

Zoning District R5

Appellant: Yuriy Nekrasov

Address: 3392 Dato Ave., Highland Park, IL 60035

Planner Burhop made a presentation for the above item including item was previously approved, site location, aerial location, project background, site photos, existing conditions, proposed plan, south, north, east and west elevations, established building setback, renderings, City Forestry and other notes and requested relief.

Chair Chaplik asked if the neighbors were re-noticed.

Planner Burhop stated yes, notices were sent and applicant submitted proof of notice.

Mr. Matt Kerowack, Architect, made a presentation including they bought the house in 2015, existing residence is dilapidated and out of date, only house on street with a carport, no attached garage, intent is to redo house, cannot locate garage farther back because of existing footprint and existing trees, fourteen residences on street and nine encroach on setback, overhang is to maintain integrity of the design.

Member Bay asked why the initial variance expired.

Mr. Yuriy Nekrasov, Applicant stated when they moved into house it was just he and his wife, then they had a child and wanted to start the project, they received approval and then had emergency travel out of country, when they returned they had another child and they now can proceed with the project.

Member Bay stated he was not a member of the Board when this was first approved and in looking at the request he would support the variance.

Member Bina stated he remembered this and would support it again.

Member Putzel stated she remembered this and would support it again.

Member Henry agreed and thought it met the standards.

Vice Chair Cullather agreed and stated he looked at the minutes and would support the variance.

Chair Chaplik stated he remembered this item and would support it.

Chair Chaplik entertained a motion. Member Bay motioned to direct staff to prepare findings of fact and order to approve the variance. Member Henry seconded.

Planner Burhop called the roll:

Ayes: Bay, Putzel, Bina, Henry, Cullather, Chaplik

Nays: None

he Chair declared the motion passed 6-0.

Chair Chaplik entertained a motion to approve the approval order. Vice Chair Cullather motioned to adopt the approval order as drafted. Member Bina seconded.

Planner Burhop called the roll:

Ayes: Bay, Putzel, Bina, Henry, Cullather, Chaplik 

Nays: None

The Chair declared the motion passed 6-0.

2. #19-08-VAR-020

Property: 880 Great Elm Ln., Highland Park, IL 60035 

Zoning District R5

Appellant: Alex & Hillary Behar

Address: 880 Great Elm Ln., Highland Park, IL 60035

Planner Burhop stated he spoke with the applicant several weeks ago and they could not attend the October 3rd and October 17th meetings. He received an email from Mr. Behar dated September 25th stating the best dates for them were October 10th, 21st and 23rd. Planner Burhop stated that this application missed the September meetings because of lack of quorum twice, and Planner Burhop recommended a special meeting for October 10th for this application.

Chair Chaplik entertained a motion to continue to a special meeting on October 10, 2019. Member Henry so motioned, seconded by Member Bay. On a voice vote, the Chair declared the motion carried unanimously.

Planner Burhop stated this application would be considered at a ZBA Special Meeting on Thursday, October 10, 2019, at 7:30 pm at City Hall in the Council Chambers on the second floor at 1707 St Johns Avenue.

3. #19-08-VAR-0201

Property: 112 Maple Ave., Highland Park, IL 60035 

Zoning District R4 & LFOZ

Appellant: Joel & Alisa Unruch

Address: 112 Maple Ave., Highland Park, IL 60035

Planner Burhop made a presentation for the above item including site location, aerial photo, project background, site photos, existing conditions, proposed plan, proposal, elevations, City Forestry, other notes and requested relief.

Member Putzel asked the location of the front of the house.

Planner Burhop stated the front façade faces north.

Member Henry asked if it is non-conforming now.

Planner Burhop stated yes.

Member Henry asked to see the slide showing the buildable area.

Planner Burhop stated there is no established building setback for this block.

Chair Chaplik asked if it took a minimum number of homes for an established building setback.

Planner Burhop stated you have to have three homes and two have to be set back greater than the 40’ requirement.

Mr. Jim Fraerman, Architect, made a presentation including the key element is the house is from 1925 and built closer to the street, at one time houses were 25’ back, a large part of the project is replacing the garage that already exists in this location, extending into side yard, motivation to rebuild is the garage has condition issues and they can barely park inside the garage front to back, there is no mud room, upstairs there will be two new bedrooms above the garage and the object is the garage will remain where it is now and the only exception is overhang gable in front will be increased by 6”, no significant changes to house or neighborhood.

Chair Chaplik stated they have to go through the standards and assess if the application meets the standards and asked Mr. Fraerman to review these.

Mr. Fraerman stated the property cannot yield a reasonable return, due to location of the house almost any alteration of house would not be possible, due to unique circumstances the variation will not merely serve as a convenience but will alleviate a hardship which is the placement of the house on the property, will not be detrimental to other properties and will not impair light or air, in historic district, is not landmarked.

Member Henry stated he was troubled by the representation in the hardship letter that there is not room on the property to build. There is a ton of room to build and he thought the real hardship is the house as it currently exists is more out of zone than in zone and it does not make sense to build where the existing patio is. There is a lot of space to build there if they chose.

Mr. Fraerman stated the main rooms of the house face the back yard and there is no logical way to add to the house in back and there is no other logical place to put the garage except where it is now.

Member Bina stated he was struggling with the first element on reasonable return without a variance. He had not heard evidence of the condition of the garage other than it is a little tight.

Mr. Fraerman stated the desire to expand the amount of bedroom space is first and also to expand the garage because they cannot walk around the car. The garage is inadequate due to its size and they desire to make it functional.

Member Putzel asked the dimensions of the garage.

Mr. Fraerman stated it is 17’ deep.

Member Bina asked what makes the garage non-functional.

Mr. Fraerman stated you can park a car, but it is only 17’ deep. He thought there were certain cars that would not fit in the garage.

Member Bay asked if the standard depth for new construction is 20’. Mr. Fraerman stated yes.

Vice Chair Cullather stated they are also making the garage wider than the existing footprint.

Mr. Fraerman stated there is also the patio and they do not want to disrupt it. There is no room for storage in the garage, no mud room in the house, stairs that go up directly to the house, and there is no space in between. They desire to have the space and the garage shifted.

Member Putzel asked how wide the new proposed garage is.

Mr. Fraerman stated it is about 22’ so they can get around the cars and have storage.

Chair Chaplik asked if that included the extra space on the left of what is depicted in yellow and the total is approximately 22’ wide.

Mr. Fraerman stated it is illustrated for the mud room and storage space. There is a need to accommodate the two bedrooms and the bathroom.

Ms. Alisa Unruch, Applicant, stated the current garage floods when it rains, and the walls are crumbling. There is no room and the cars bump into end of the garage. They want to make things manageable.

Member Putzel asked if they had heard from any of the neighbors.

Ms. Unruch stated she had spoken with neighbors on one side and across the street and they had no issues.

Chair Chaplik asked if there were responses from any of the other neighbors.

Ms. Alisa Unruch stated no.

Member Putzel stated she was struggling with the hardship and while they see a two-car garage as standard, she needed more information regarding specifics with the garage because they are encroaching on the side yard. She understood the leaking issue, but it does not necessarily justify the project. Regarding the reasonable return, they have a huge yard and there are other ways to expand within the zone. She was not leaning toward approval.

Chair Chaplik stated there is not side yard encroachment just the front.

Member Bay stated if there were a setback requirement it would be within the setback.

Chair Chaplik stated if they continued the side yard line it would not have encroached.

Member Putzel asked if the new yellow part was the front yard and it was close to the neighbors. She stated she did not have a compelling enough argument.

Member Bina stated he agreed with Member Putzel and thought the record was lacking on the first element. He understood the hardship a little and there was not much you could do without a variance. He did think house could be sold for a reasonable return.

Student Rep. Edheimer stated it will not alter character of neighborhood. He did not think the encroachment was that much.

Member Bay disagreed and was stuck on the reasonable return. If you have a property and you are going to spend money improving the property, a reasonable return could be what gives you the best and most practical use of that money. To create a plan that would force them to have a chopped up house because there is a lot of room behind it was not fair. That would cause them to spend more money and the house may not be as marketable. He thought it was a reasonable request and would support the variance.

Chair Henry stated he agreed with Member Bay. He was troubled by the hardship letter because there is a lot of room to build on the property. The house is basically non- conforming in the front yard and the bulk is encroaching on the front yard including the current garage. It is not encroaching on the side yard. When you have a building like this that is non-conforming to begin with it seems unreasonable to require the homeowner to build somewhere else just to bring it into compliance. He did not think it was much of an ask if the garage is falling apart and barely meets current standards for two-car garages. He would support the application as submitted.

Vice Chair Cullather stated he agreed with Member Henry. Most of garage is non- conforming and in order to re-build it and have it be in the buildable lot you are starting two-thirds of the way back from the front of the garage. He understood where it becomes difficult as to the aesthetics and flow of the house to position the garage in a different location. The side yard is not an issue. The front yard will line up to where the house currently is. Even if they tore down the garage to build the exact same size they would still need a variance. He did not see the additional width as an issue. He agreed with Member Bay as to the reasonable return on investment.

Chair Chaplik stated he struggled with this and on balance given the entire house is north of the buildable area, it would be illogical to think they should expand the house elsewhere. He concurred with Members Bay, Henry, and Cullather and would lean toward approval. He thought it met the standards.

Chair Chaplik entertained a motion to approve. Member Henry motioned to direct staff to prepare findings of fact and approval order approving the application as submitted. Vice Chair Cullather seconded.

Planner Burhop called the roll:

Ayes: Bay, Henry, Cullather, Chaplik

Nays: Putzel, Bina

The Chair declared the motion passed 4-2.

Chair Chaplik entertained a motion to approve the approval order. Member Bay motioned to approve the order as written. Vice Chair Cullather seconded.

Planner Burhop called the roll:

Ayes: Bay, Henry, Cullather, Chaplik, Putzel, Bina 

Nays: None

The Chair declared the motion passed 6-0.

II. STAFF REPORT:

Planner Burhop stated there will be a special meeting on October 10th. There will be two items on the agenda, the 880 Great Elm Ln., and the other item is a discussion item as to the steep slope zone and changes to the code. The Board provided feedback which was relayed to the Plan Commission and they would like feedback from the Sustainability Advisory Group and the ZBA.

Member Henry asked if there were items they should review before the meeting so they can discuss it intelligently.

Planner Burhop stated he would put out a memo. This was in the minutes when the ZBA discussed it several months ago and it was not discussed by the SAG. The Plan Commission wanted another round just to reiterate how the SAG and ZBA would feel about two ex-officio members of the SAG attending these meetings for SSZ.

Chair Chaplik stated he heard that when there is a SSZ issue they would have two ex- officio members along with an engineering expert who would report on the matter.

Planner Burhop stated the intention was that they will continue to receive Forestry and Engineering reports.

Chair Chaplik stated they would still be getting professional reports Planner Burhop stated it is possible there may be a third party review.

Member Henry asked if part of the proposed revisions is that they would not be getting the findings and recommendations that they receive now with respect to impact on SSZ. He recalled their discussion was they are not equipped to substitute for that. He thought their comments were they like it the way it is because they are provided the expertise and the consideration of that group that helps guide the Board in making their determinations.

Member Putzel stated it would not be fair to the public to leave that responsibility on their shoulders.

Planner Burhop stated that was why the Plan and Design Commission wanted to hear additional feedback again from the Board because they heard you the first time and they wanted to hear it again on the revised proposal for ex-officio members.

Chair Chaplik asked if that meant the SAG would now be a two-member committee.

Planner Burhop stated the proposal was for two SAG members to sit ex-officio on the ZBA for SSZ applications. In this capacity the SAG itself would not make recommendation; rather, it would be technical comments from ex-officio members that happen to also be on the SAG.

Chair Chaplik asked if the SAG would continue to exist and prepare a report and two members would be available to answer questions about their conclusions.

Planner Burhop stated the proposal is to strike the SAG recommendation role. The alternate proposal now is that there will be two members selected from the SAG just to come here for that night and provide comments and feedback. There is no formal recommendation.

Member Henry stated as members of the public they can come and address any application before us. He disagreed with the way the Council reorganized boards and commissions. In this instance it is an area that brings the background work the commission did and in bringing those recommendations to the Board it provided information that was important for them to consider in their role without having to try to do the work or recreate the work. He thought it was a good system and worked well.

Planner Burhop stated he will provide a summary and the draft minutes. They can attend the Plan and Design Commission meetings and asked if they could let him know because they are concerned if there are three or more.

Chair Chaplik asked when the next meeting was.

Planner Burhop is it October 22nd.

Member Bay asked if there are three or more attending, do they have to send out a special notice.

Planner Burhop stated it would be a special meeting.

Chair Chaplik stated he did not appreciate that the materials they were getting were a summary of facts without a recommendation.

Planner Burhop stated he will put the SAG on agenda for next week.

Planner Burhop mentioned the 2020 calendar. In July the third is on a Thursday and the City does not have meetings before a holiday. For that month he noted the second and fourth Thursdays. The first was too close to January 1st and the last was during Hanukkah.

Member Henry asked if the code required they meet twice a month.

Chair Chaplik stated he thought it was encouraged but not required. When they looked at the calendar they wanted to make sure that if there was only one and there was no quorum there would be no meeting for a month.

Planner Burhop stated it is more like City policy that the Plan Commission and the ZBA should have two meetings a month. There are instances with holidays where they can only get one in.

Member Bay asked if the surrounding municipalities met once a month for the ZBA.

Member Henry stated he understood the desire to meet twice a month and the desires of homeowners who want to have their applications considered.

Member Bay stated it also decreases the length of time between continuances.

Vice Chair Cullather stated he would rather have two meetings a month than one.

Member Henry stated they had struggled with a curfew and decided to do nothing because there is no really good way to do it and be fair to the citizens.

Chair Chaplik stated any meeting with more than three or four items is a struggle.

Member Henry motioned to approve the 2020 calendar. Vice Chair Cullather seconded. On a voice vote, the Chair declared the motion carried unanimously.

VIII. MISCELLANEOUS: None

IX. ADJOURNMENT:

Chair Chaplik entertained a motioned to adjourn. Member Henry so motioned, seconded by Member Putzel. On a voice vote, the Chair declared the motion passed unanimously.

The Zoning Board of Appeals adjourned at 8:40 PM.

http://highlandparkil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=12&ID=2275&Inline=True

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