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Village of La Grange Plan Commission met November 12

By Michael Abella | Jan 10, 2020

City

Village of La Grange Plan Commission met Nov. 12.

Here is the minutes provided by the commission:

Village of La Grange Plan Commission Regular Meeting of November 12, 2019

A regular meeting of the Plan Commission for the Village of La Grange was held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 on the second floor Auditorium Room of the Village Hall, 53 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, Illinois.

I. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL OF THE PLAN COMMISSION

Chairman Paice called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Verify Quorum

Upon roll call the following were: 

Present: Egan, Hoffenberg, O’Connor, Mosher, Wentink, Schwartz, Paice 

Absent: None

Community Development Director Charity Jones, Village Planner Heather Valone, Village Attorney Mark Burkland and Village Trustee Bill Holder were also present.

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – AUGUST 15, 2019

Commissioner Schwartz made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wentink to approve the minutes from August 15, 2019 with one change: 

1. Commissioner Hoffenberg did attend the meeting. 

A voice vote was taken: 

Ayes: All 

Nays: None 

Motion passed

III. PUBLIC HEARINGS

A. PC CASE #253 – 637 S. WAIOLA AVE. RESUBDIVISION (FINAL PLAT),

GERALD ABRAM AND AMY RIFE

Chairman Paice asked for staff to make a presentation.

Staff Presentation

Heather Valone, Village Planner, said the applicants are petitioning to resubdivide the subject property back into the two lot configuration that had existed prior to 2012. The applicant is not seeking any variations from the zoning code. The property is currently under one PIN and the one property is addressed at 637 S. Waiola. However, the lot was previously platted as two separate lots which were originally recorded in 1925. The home at 637 S. Waiola Ave. was constructed in 2007 and the applicants purchased the home in 2008. In 2011, the applicants acquired the property next door at 633 S. Waiola Ave. There was a single-family home on 633 S. Waiola Ave. when the applicants purchased the lot and the applicants had the home demolished it so they can use it as an extended yard.

In 2012, the applicants petitioned to consolidate the properties into one, so they were able to install a playset on the 633 S. Waiola Ave. property. The applicants are now looking to return the properties to the original two lot configuration. Both of the proposed lots meet the minimum size standards for the R-4 District. There have been a couple of improvements made on the property since 2012. These improvements do not meet some of the required setbacks for the property. Ms. Valone showed on the overhead a block patio. The block patio is required to be five feet off the property line, currently the block patio does not meet the minimum five-foot setback. The second patio which is referred to as a brick patio is located within the rear 30 feet of the lot and has a reduced setback of three feet.

Mrs. Valone stated the brick patio meets the zoning requirements but the block patio would need to be altered if lots were to be sold separately. Additionally, the playset will have to be removed from the property if sold separately. If the applicants are able to sell both properties to the same person and it remains under single ownership, it can be used as one zoning lot. If the lots sell separately then the patio and playset will need to be modified. The Village Attorney has written up a declaration that will be recorded against the property pending the approval of the final plat by the Village Board which will require them to modify the patio and playset if the lots are sold separately. The Village Engineer has also reviewed the plat and did not find any errors or any revisions that were needed. This would conclude staff’s report.

Chairman Paice asked if there were any questions for staff from the Commission.

Commissioner Hoffenberg asked staff to comment about a paragraph in staff’s report that talks about at the time of construction the house at 637 did not meet the minimum total combined interior side yards. If the re-subdivided lot is sold to two different owners, then it will return the home to its original nonconforming condition relative to the combined interior side yards.

Ms. Valone said when the house was originally permitted in 2007, the combination of the interior side yards should have totaled 12 feet. The home was approved with interior side yards that totaled 11.18 feet rather than 12 feet. It was approved and constructed this way. Had the applicant not had purchased the lot next to them it would have remained that nonconforming 11.18 foot combined interior side yards. The home was already a nonconforming structure when it was separated so it will just return to that condition.

Commissioner Hoffenberg asked if it would affect any future development with the other lot. Mark Burkland, Village Attorney, stated no it will not.

Commissioner O’Connor confirmed that they are not agreeing to any variance on something that is yet to be shown in plans or drawings.

Mrs. Valone said no they are not.

Commissioner Hoffenberg confirmed that the adjacent improvements would include the patio and the playset. He asked if the attachments for these exhibits will be drawings from both of those items.

Mrs. Valone referred them to exhibit B in the declaration and stated it will look very similar to what is depicted in the staff report and on the overhead.

Commissioner Hoffenberg asked if the Village needs to be a third party beneficiary to enforce the declaration.

Mr. Burkland said the declaration is going to be recorded so if someone else buys the lot and the work is not done then the title company would point it out. The Village has the authority, if they sell the lot tomorrow, to have them do it because it is a Zoning Code violation.

Commissioner Egan asked if there was a legal description that applies to both lots so that when it is recorded it will reflect on the lot.

Mr. Burkland stated yes it will be recorded.

Chairman Paice asked if there were any further questions for staff. None responded. He then asked the applicant to come forward.

Applicant Presentation

Chairman Paice asked the applicant to raise his hand. He then administered the oath.

Gerald Abram said he just wants to add that they have taken down the playset.

Mr. Burkland stated if they want to just remove the bricks from the patio then they can remove the declaration.

Mrs. Valone said if the applicants want the patio to stay until the lots are sold separately then they can proceed with the declaration as previously indicated.

Chairman Paice asked if any of the Commissioners had any questions for the applicant. None responded.

Plan Commission Discussion

Chairman Paice asked if there were any comments or questions from the Commission. None responded. He then called for a motion for recommendation.

Plan Commission Recommendation

Commissioner Schwartz made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Wentink to recommend to the President and Board of Trustees approval of Case #253 – 637 S. Waiola Avenue Resubdivision (Final Plat). 

A roll call vote was taken: 

Ayes: Schwartz, Wentink, O’Connor, Mosher, Egan, Hoffenberg, Paice 

Nays: None 

Motion passed

B. PC CSE #252 – TEXT AMENDMENTS RELATING TO ARTICLES X AND XVI OF THE LAGRANGE ZONING CODE PROPOSED BY VILLAGE STAFF

Chairman Paice called for a motion to open the public hearing.

Commissioner O’Connor made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Egan to open the public hearing for Case #253.

 A voice vote was taken: 

Ayes: All 

Nays: None 

Motion passed

Staff Presentation

Mrs. Valone stated staff had identified some text amendments to the zoning code. Originally, they had identified six text amendments but they will be splitting them up into two different meetings. Tonight they will address two text amendments which address adult recreational cannabis and retail sales of Cannabidiol (CBD) and Kratom.

This past year the State enacted the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act which legalizes the sale, possession, and use of cannabis for recreational purposes in limited quantities by persons 21 years and older, beginning January 1, 2020. Under the act, it does allow municipalities to either prohibit these businesses related to cannabis or allow them. On October 14th the Village Board opted to “Opt out” of recreational cannabis by prohibiting cannabis business establishments and the use of recreational cannabis in public places. The proposed text amendments in the first table is intended to align with the prohibition. Generally, most people find these regulations in their zoning code. The Village of LaGrange is a little different and most of the regulations are found in the municipal code. Staff is creating a reference to the municipal code in the zoning ordinance to allow people to know that their standards are found in a different document.

Plan Commission Recommendation Chairman Paice called for a motion for recommendation for this text amendment.

Commissioner O’Connor made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Egan to recommend to the President and Board of Trustees approval of proposed text amendment as presented by staff. 

A voice vote was taken: 

Ayes: All

Nays: None 

Motion passed

Staff Presentation

Mrs. Valone said the next text amendment is in regards to retail stores that predominately sell CBD and Kratom products. The proposed amendment would not impact stores such as Walgreens that sells CBD only has a handful of numerous retail items that are sold in their stores. CBD is a compound and one of the main components in cannabis. While it can be derived from marijuana, the retail form of it that is legal to be sold here is derived from hemp and must contain a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level less than marijuana. Kratom is actually leaves of a tree from Southeast Asia. Both products are generally used as health supplements to alleviate conditions such as anxiety or chronic pain. They are either ingested as tinctures, used as supplements or infused in food products. However, neither have been approved by the State of Illinois as food additives. The FDA is still doing research on how the products and how they should be regulated.

Staff has presented two tables which she showed on the overhead. The first option would be to regulate CBD establishments by district only. This option would regulate what zoning districts they can be in. An example that is in the staff report and on the overhead would be allow stores that predominately sell CBD and Kratom stores but not in the C-1 or the downtown district.

Mrs. Valone stated the alternative option would be to not allow stores that predominantly sell CBD or Kratom products in any district in La Grange. Staff is looking for the Commission’s input.

Charity Jones, Community Development Director, said she has talked to three different potential business owners in the last eight months inquiring about this. The way the zoning code is written currently it could be construed that miscellaneous retail would include a CBD store. So that is why staff is looking for the Commission’s input on these types of businesses.

Chairman Paice asked if there were any questions for staff.

Commissioner Hoffenberg asked if there are any other local Villages in the area that are either permitting or prohibiting this.

Mrs. Valone stated they have done quite a bit of research. Tinley Park, Glen Ellyn, Oak Brook and Elmhurst has allowed it as-of-right. Elmhurst does not allow Kratom products.

Commissioner Hoffenberg said there is a store north of the train tracks that sells the product. He asked if they know how much of it they sell.

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Mrs. Valone stated they have a list of their entire inventory and only a small percentage of their product contains CBD. Walgreens also sells it currently but it is only a small portion of their overall stock.

Commissioner Hoffenberg asked if they knew how big a potential store could be.

Mrs. Jones said two of the people she talked to, this would be their first store. The other person she talked to did have another store and she thinks it was about 1,500 to about 2,000 square feet.

Commissioner Wentink asked if they were going to ban it in option two then wouldn’t all retail trade incorporate that under the same umbrella.

Mrs. Jones stated retail trade is just a category or section heading in the Zoning Code and then there are specific retail uses under that section heading. So they couldn’t add a regulation specifically tied to the section heading. They would have to associate it to a specific use. In option two they could choose to make it miscellaneous retail stores instead of miscellaneous general merchandise stores. However, staff’s recommendation would also be to include drug stores and proprietary stores because they are prohibiting it. Someone could interpret, based on the SIC codes that they rely on for their zoning, that a CBD store could be considered a proprietary store.

Commissioner Hoffenberg asked if they would be allowed to sell products were it was added as a food additive.

Mrs. Jones said she researched this because the Village does have their own local Health Inspector and they do their own health inspections in the Village. They wanted to make sure they would be following Cook County or State requirements. She reached out to both Cook County and the State and learned that CBD is not considered an approved food additive therefore any food sold infused with CBD is considered and adulterated food product by the State of Illinois. That does not mean that there are not CBD stores selling CBD infused food products throughout the State of Illinois. Locally, they would make their determination as to what they would allow through local business licensing process and in doing that, because they have their own local health inspections, they would want to make sure they are following the State requirements even if other communities are allowing it.

Commissioner Wentink asked if in option two, Walgreens and spas can still sell the products.

Mrs. Valone stated that is correct. It just cannot be the predominate or substantial stock of the store or merchandise.

Commissioner Egan asked if there is a standalone store what is the burden on the Village as far as regulation.

Mrs. Valone said when they do have stores, like Luxe, that were required as part of their business licensing process to provide a list of inventory for review. Through that list they can regulate how much percentage or if it is a substantial stock-in-trade. Additionally, every year they are required to renew their business license and if they are changing their stock-in-trade the burden would be on them to let the Village know if they have increased the CBD they have in their stock.

Mr. Burkland stated that answers part of the question, but he thinks they want to know what is wrong with a store that predominately sells these products.

Mrs. Jones stated the CBD is like a lot of specialized retail uses where they can be lovely or they can maybe not fit in within the kind of retail district environment that they may be trying to create in certain districts. A comparison would be tobacco stores.

Commissioner Schwartz asked where can tobacco products be sold within the Village.

Mrs. Jones said they are sold at gas stations, the train stop, or Walgreens.

Commissioner Schwartz asked if there is a common understanding of what “substantial stock” means.

Mrs. Jones stated it would be more than 50% of their stock.

Commissioner Mosher asked outside of the C-1 District are there any tobacco stores in La Grange.

Mrs. Jones said it is permitted in the other districts, but there are currently none.

Commissioner Egan asked what is the benefit for having the standalone stores.

Mrs. Jones stated that these stores are retail sales tax producing business and could fill a vacancy. There are some CBD and Kratom stores that can be very high end like an Ulta store and it can enhance a retail environment.

Commissioner Hoffenberg asked if the potential clients stated what district they would be interested in.

Mrs. Jones said the three she talked to she would assume that they would want to be in the C-1 because that is the primary retail district. There are other highly visible locations though along South La Grange Road.

Commissioner Egan asked if this is approved as a permitted use what kind of oversight does the Village have as to what kind of store does go in there.

Mrs. Jones stated a permitted use just goes through the business licensing and building permit process. Staff makes sure that safety requirements are met, compliance with sign code, and the business is properly licensed. They do not regulate finishes or design.

Chairman Paice said knowing that the Village Board voted and opted out for any dispensaries, he would like to get a poll on how the Commission feels about CBD.

Commissioner Wentink stated he hesitates to make a determination about the appropriate use for a particular product for retail sale. He is a little torn between a personal perspective and the other being the function of an amendment to actually constrain trade of one form or another based solely on the product they are handling.

Commissioner O’Connor said it is not a desirable business for the Village. He is okay with stores not making it their primary business like Walgreens and Luxe. He does not feel that La Grange needs to be on the cutting edge of this type of business. This can be reevaluated in a year.

Commissioner Mosher agrees with Commission O’Connor. There is an image of La Grange and that is why people move here. This is not one of those times where they need to be ahead of everyone else. She definitely believes it needs to stay out of the downtown C-1 District.

Commissioner Hoffenberg stated he agrees it should not be in the downtown C-1 District but he supports it everywhere else. There are a lot of vacant store fronts that this could benefit. There is a distinction between the Board’s clear directive for not allow cannabis and something like this that is not as regulated. The comparison with tobacco in the staff report is an excellent comparison. They are not on the cutting edge of this because several other towns are already allowing it. He does not see the downside of having a store that sells CBD. He does agree with not allowing in the downtown district.

Commissioner Egan said she does not know enough about these standalone stores in order to form an opinion. She would not want to allow them especially if she does not know the effect it has on the community. She feels that there are some positives but would need to get further information.

Commissioner Schwartz stated he agrees with Commissioner Hoffenberg. It seems to fit in the regulation of tobacco or alcohol. He would like to get more information also. He does not feel it belongs in the C-1 District also.

Chairman Paice said he agrees with not having CBD in the C-1 District. This is a legal product and he cannot see denying someone to open their own store. He questions the retail viability if say Walgreens sees it selling and they expand their inventory. He would vote for allowing it outside of the C-1 District.

Commissioner Schwartz asked if any of the other Villages allowed it in their core district.

Mrs. Valone stated Elmhurst and Glen Ellyn do not have any of these stores in their downtowns.

Mrs. Jones said they are planning on coming back next month with more text amendments so staff can do some research from the surrounding communities and get back to the Commission next month.

Commissioner Wentink asked if these products are not supposed to have psychoactive ingredients.

Mrs. Jones stated CBD is derived from hemp and is not supposed to have any effect. Kratom is still under investigation by the FDA. The reason staff included Kratom with the CBD is because there is a larger company called CBD Kratom that is rapidly expanding in the area.

Chairman Paice asked if the Commissioners agreed to wait to get more information.

All Commissioners agreed.

Chairman Paice then called for a motion to continue the public hearing for Case #252.

Commissioner Egan made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Schwartz to continue the public hearing for Case #252 for the text amendment for the retail sales of CBD and Kratom products along with the other six proposed text amendments referenced in the staff memorandum for the next meeting to the December 10, 2019 meeting. 

A voice vote was taken: 

Ayes: All

 Nays: None 

Motion passed

III. GENERAL DISCUSSION

None

IV. PUBLIC COMMENTS

None

V. ADJOURMENT

Chairman Paice called for a motion to adjourn the meeting.

Commissioner Hoffenberg made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Mosher to adjourn the meeting at 8:28 p.m. 

A voice vote was taken: 

Ayes: All 

Nays: None 

Motion passed

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Village of La Grange Plan Commission