Planning Obstacles

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Planning Obstacles
V.P.B. Runs into Conflicting Jurisdictions and Ambiguity
Story by John Thomas
Staff Writer


   Ordinarily, Village Planning Board meetings are a pretty pro forma exercise. The board reviews site plans and applications apply the proper codes and requests changes in plans to bring them in line with relevant codes. The project is approved, Village Planner Gary Palumbo issues a letter of decision, permits are issued, and the project moves forward. Tuesday night’s meeting was mostly the same except for two pending applications that waded into a thicket of cross jurisdictions and phantom development covenants.    

   The first problem application heard was for Aaron Teller’s project with Madigan’s on Washington. They are seeking a special use permit to allow outdoor dining in front of the establishment, and a new deck over the sidewalk. Because there will be a physical change in the footprint of the business, and the fact that restaurant/bar is in the historical district, there are additional reviews that must be performed. A site plan review, an architectural plan review, and a historical review must all be held. A new stairway on the side of the building will also need a variance from the ZBA because it encroaches the setback on the side of the lot. But the most problematical aspect of the plans is the new deck over the sidewalk on Washington. Here the state DOT gets involved because the sidewalks and the street are under their control. Also, Village Zoning Codes state the Village Board must approve any canopy or balcony in the Historical District. Project engineer Aaron Teller said the DOT may “relinquish jurisdictional control” of the sidewalk but couldn’t know for sure if they would. There was a discussion about holding a public hearing, which the project will need, but the board felt it might be moot if the DOT won’t allow the deck. Mr. Teller said he would try to get more input from the DOT. The board tabled the discussion until the May meeting.

   Developer Phil Vogt’s request for a sign permit for his property at 23 Washington was approved. Also, the board welcomed its newest member, Sean Cornelius. The board also performed a site plan review for a new home construction at 17 Parkside. The ever-busy Mr. Teller is also the engineer for the home project being built at the Sprague development. The area is a medium density residential district, and the specs for the home are in keeping with local codes. Mr. Teller said his client has requested several changes to the rear of the home and asked if he could make the changes after the site plan is approved. The board said the changes would be allowed if they are shown on the plans at the public hearing. The board set a public hearing and an architectural design review for its May meeting.

   It was a proposed rebuilding of a garage on Van Buren that caused the most consternation for the evening. The existing garage on the home will be torn down and a new larger, taller one constructed. Village Planner Gary Palumbo had a letter written by a neighbor objecting to the project. The letter stated the plans would not meet with the convenient issued by the Home Owners Association. According to a convenient purported to be from the HOA, the construction would not be allowed. However, the very existence of the HOA was thrown into question by the board. Acting Board chair Shelia Burrell said she was familiar with the development in question and said, as far as she knows, the proper documents to create the HOA were never filed with the state. For a while the board considered referring the matter to the Village Lawyer, but as the discussion continued moved away from that idea. Mr. Teller said the board should only concern itself with the Village building codes and being sure new projects adhered to them. Code Enforcement Officer Kelly Fredrickson said he has no jurisdiction or enforcement over HOA building requirements. New Board member Sean Cornelius worried the Board could approve the project and, if the HOA exists, it could block the plans. The Board moved onto the architectural design review and found the plans met all relevant criteria, and the materials proposed matched the materials on the home. A motion was made to approve the plans with the condition that Board approval does not absolve the owner from meeting private deed restrictions, if any. The motion passed, and the meeting was adjourned.

Rendering of the enlarged garage for a home on Van Buren.