The Lake Zurich Plan Commission is asking staff come up with additional information as it considers whether to approve changes to the village’s Zoning Code.
Lake Zurich filed an application to amend its Zoning Code but Plan Commission continued the issue until its November 20 meeting.
The changes would help attract new businesses to the Lake Zurich Industrial Park, according to a committee formed to examine the codes and recommend changes. The committee has been working on the changes about two years and started the process when Lake Zurich began looking at revising its comprehensive plan.
Sweeping changes are being recommended but the two which are raising concerns for neighbors are merging the two existing districts _ I1 light industrial and I2 general manufacturing _ into one district and allowing businesses to open without going through a special use permit process. The current process gives the commission an opportunity to ask questions or make sure businesses don’t create odors, too much noise or other nuisances
Commissioners began reviewing the application last month and continued the discussion at a hearing this week where neighbors testified, asking the changes be rejected.
Hawthorn Woods resident Margo Griffin testified and explained a counter proposal she wants the commission to consider where the two districts would remain, but the I1 would be around the perimeter of the property as buffer and the I2 could be expanded without affecting neighbors.
She also wants to see the village maintain special use permits and not allow businesses that create a nuisance, like dairy production, to be located in the park at all.
“We think is it more than fair to maintain the two industrial districts with the same descriptions that are there today,” she said. The zoning code “has worked up till now and I believe it will continue to work.”
Hawthorn Woods Village President Joe Mancino was among the speakers who voiced concern about the changes to the zoning code.
“I don’t see where the benefit of the community is here,” said Brian Abery, of Hawthorn Woods.
It’s not only Hawthorn Woods neighbors who raised concerns. Maria Ablan owns a business in the area and feels the village will not be able to make sure businesses are doing things correctly.
Lake Zurich wouldn’t have any method to deal with nuisance businesses if the changes are made, she said. Ablan used an example of a construction company dumping concrete stone in a preserved wetlands area near the park.
The Plan Commission strives for a balance in its decision process, Chairman Tim Jackson said. The zoning changes have been researched for many years and businesses often face significant regulatory oversight by state and federal agencies, he said.
The commission could change the codes but set restrictions for odor or noise and keep certain businesses as special uses, said Sam Hubbard, village planner.
But Commissioner Tony Castillo said he does not want to give up holding businesses accountable through the special use permit process. He feels the village does not have good provisions for oversight.
Jackson said staff needs to develop specific language describing what is going to remain a special use and needs to find out if having an I1 district around the perimeter is practical or would it cause difficulty for existing businesses already located there.