Plan Commission Minutes

CALL TO ORDER – 7:00 pm
Chairman Brackett called the meeting to order.

ROLL CALL
In attendance: Chairman Mike Brackett, Co-Chairman Jennifer Duncan, Commissioners Connie Holbrook, Mark Rivecco, Anna Touhy, Mark Bozik, Tom Lenkart (arrived 7:07), Aaron Anderson (arrived 7:21). Not in attendance: Commissioner Mark Carroll.

Staff in attendance: Interim Village Administrator Dave Summer, Village Clerk Lori Murray, Pete Iosue of Teska.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1. Approval of Plan Commission Minutes dated November 6, 2012
Motion for approval made by Commissioner Rivecco and seconded by Commissioner Duncan. All in favor. Motion approved.

NEW BUSINESS
1. LED Sign Amendments
Pete Iosue noted that the LED sign amendments were discussed at the Development Committee meeting and the committee was open to the changes. Iosue said that the new Community and Economic Development Director, Mike Toth, had come up with some suggestive changes to allow for LED signage without being overly restrictive. 

(Commissioner Lenkart arrived)

Iosue said that there were two big issues with LED signs. One was color where the existing ordinance only allows for single and not multiple colors. The other issue was the area that is allowed for LED signs. It was limited to 30% of the total sign which does not work with what business owners desire. 

Iosue said that he looked at other communities (Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles) and found that a lot of the neighboring communities are just as strict as the Village of North Aurora. The City of Aurora was more flexible. 

Commissioner Rivecco said that in reference to item #4 of the memo (LED sign should not exceed 25 square feet in area), should be increased to a higher number. Iosue said he discussed with Toth the possibility of different standards and allowing for more flexibility for businesses along a thoroughfare with higher traffic speeds. Rivecco said that a higher speed road such as Orchard or Randall Roads would be easier on the driver to view a larger sign. 

Rivecco said that the new item 5 on the memo talks about the sign being equipped with photo sensitive equipment to automatically adjust brightness and contrast. Rivecco asked if this is a standard feature of signs. Iosue said it is an optional feature and would not be a great expense to the owner. 

Commissioner Touhy asked if the photo sensitive equipment was standard on the dentist’s sign. Iosue said he believed it was and that the sign for the dentist’s office was a high end sign. 

Commissioner Duncan said she was in favor of animation being allowed in the signs since everything is icon driven these days. Duncan added that it might be quicker to see a logo on a sign. Duncan noted her concern about large bright signs such as the one Mooseheart has on their property. Duncan said she did not want to see that for the Village. 

Chairman Brackett said he did not feel that a sign should be turned off as soon as a business closes for the day. Brackett said that he would want the sign to remain on as long as there is traffic driving by the business, but did not want the sign to remain on all hours. 

Commissioner Lenkart said that the Village needs to set time limits rather than determine by a business’s hours. Lenkart gave an example such as Woodman’s grocery store. Since it is open 24 hours a day, they would be able to have an LED sign illuminated for 24 hours if there are no set times. 

Commissioner Bozik asked about the rationale for mandating that signs be turned off. Bozik added that businesses make investments in their signs and may want to continue advertisement whether they are open or not. Brackett said that signs would need to be turned off if they are obtrusive to a residential district. Bozik agreed. 

(Commissioner Anderson arrived)

Commissioner Holbrook asked if the Painter’s Union sign on I-88 causes more accidents with the flashing and blinking of that sign. Chief Summer said no. 

Commissioner Bozik asked what the Village’s sign ordinance allows in terms of the size of the sign. Iosue said that the standard is 1-1/2 s.f per one lineal foot of the business with 150 feet being the maximum. Bozik noted his concern with the 25 feet. Bozik said that because of technology it will be cheaper to put in an all LED sign compared to a traditional monument sign. Bozik suggested using what is in the current sign ordinance instead of limiting the size of the LED itself. In terms of no wall signs, Bozik said he could see in some of the smaller strip malls it being more advantageous for the building owner to put up LED panels over each store and every time there is a new business the LED sign would be changed with a new logo instead of having to install a new sign and drilling holes into the building. Regarding #7 in Toth’s memo, Bozik said that the Village already has limitations in place in the sign ordinance to correct illuminations that are too bright. Bozik said he was not in favor of limiting the time the business can have their sign on as long as it does not affect the neighboring area. Bozik also said that he did not want to limit the area of the sign allowed for LED and should use the standards in the current sign ordinance. 
Brackett said he is not opposed to a larger percentage allowed for the LED but would not want it to take over the entire sign. 

Duncan suggested allowing business owners to have 100% LED but require a framework around the sign. Iosue said that some of that is addressed in the sign ordinance. 

Lenkart asked why the Foot Candles of Illumination (Section #8) was eliminated. Iosue said he was not sure and would discuss with Toth. 

Brackett said the Plan Commission does not want to see an LED sign without any architectural framework around the sign. Iosue said he would make sure it is in the regulations.

Commissioner Anderson asked if there were any conversations about the actual pixel density. Iosue said there has not been any discussion on that subject. Iosue said he would be a little hesitant to set an arbitrary standard that results in a much higher cost to someone, but if there is a norm that people use, would be willing to look at that. 

Iosue said that Staff is in the process of finalizing some of the language in the ordinance. The next step will be to hold a public hearing to amend the code.

NEWS
Michael Toth, the new Community & Economic Development Director for the Village of North Aurora, started January 2nd. He comes from Lombard where he was a Village Planner. 

ADJOURNMENT
Motion to adjourn made by Commissioner Duncan and seconded by Commissioner Holbrook. All in favor. Motion approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lori J. Murray
Village Clerk