Grundy Reporter

Grundy Reporter

Monday, March 30, 2020

Grundy County Zoning Board of Appeals Committee met November 19

By Kristine Gonzales-Abella | Dec 6, 2019


Grundy County Zoning Board of Appeals Committee met Nov. 19.

Here is the minutes provided by the board:

I. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance/Roll Call

Attendee Name



Dick Joyce


Bob Breisch


Lisa Lynch


Mark Hill


Sid Nelson


Al Skwarczynski


Mark Sandeno


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 P.M. The Plead of Allegiance was said.

Present for the Meeting

Joan Harrop, Attorney at Law, Petitioner, 19-ZBA-013 Jean Kenul, Attorney at Law, 19-ZBA-013

John Hofmann, 19-ZBA-013

Jack Hynds, Attorney at Law, 19-ZBA-013

Stephen Pratt, Attorney at Law, 19-ZBA-013 Jill Wood, Neighbor, 19-ZBA-013

II. Approval of October 15, 2019 Minutes

Breisch asked if anyone had any corrections that they wanted on the minutes. Skwarczynski stated that there were three adjournment votes, and only one is needed. This change will be made. Breisch asked for any other changes or corrections if none stated the minutes will be approved with the adjournments corrected. No other changes or corrections were heard. Breisch stated the minutes stand approved.

III. Official Business

1. Petition 19-ZBA-013 Map Amendment A-Agricultural to CG- Commercial General

Breisch read a letter of opposition for this petition from Martha Smith. Smith was out of town and unable to attend the meeting. Her letter stated that she lives directly across the street from 5650 West Route 6, and is against the property being rezoned. Smith noted that she did not want a twenty four hour operational business across the street that could lower her property value.

Miller reviewed the petition.

Property is 5.76 acres in size, currently zoned Agricultural. The existing uses of the shop and business are considered legal but non-conforming. The property needs to be rezoned to allow for a shop business to operate. Adjacent zoning within 1.5 miles includes to the east of the property two businesses currently zoned Commercial General. Turf Team on Route 6, and the Helland Farm are both zoned Commercial General.

West- A- Agricultural and CI - Commercial Interchange at the Seneca exit for Route 80 South - AR- Agricultural Residential, Industrial, and the Seneca Village limits

North - Agricultural

The ground is considered prime farm land, and flood plain does not exist on said property.

Joan Harrop, the Attorney for the Varland family who are the sellers of the property, stated that in 1996 Roger Varland was granted a Special Use for the property to have a Sand Blasting business on site. The business must have at least twenty percent of it's business pertain to an agricultural use. This business was in effect until two years ago. The farm land that was owned by the Varland Family was sold in 2003. So essentially the remaining acreage has been used as a commercial use since 2003. Mr. Varland is now deceased, and his widow is unable to take care of the property, and the Varland's are ready to sell.

Jean Kenul, Attorney at Law, represents the buyer Hofmann Fluid Power. Hofman Fluid Power makes pipe fittings. This is a long time family business, and employees approximately ten employees. Kenul stated that this business will not be a 24 hours business. Business hours will be from 8:30 to 4 P.M. Kenul stated that deliveries will be done by UPS, and will be arriving twice a day at the business.

John Hofmann- Owner of Hofmann Fluid Power was sworn in. Hofmann stated that the business was started in the 1950's and is owned by his parents. Hofmann stated they are currently stationed in Shorewood and rent a facility. Hofmann felt it was time to buy their own buildings. Hofmann noted that they gross approximately 3 million dollars in sales. Hofmann noted that he does not wish to grow the buisiness. He likes the size of the business as it is very manageable. Hofmann noted that five of his employees are family members, and he hopes to bring his nephews on board with the business. Hofmann noted that his family has been a part of the community for some time. Skwarczynski asked what kind of machinery and how loud do they run?

Hofmann stated they have four CNC machines. Hofmann noted that he plans on air conditioning the work space so the doors to the buildings would remain close. With the doors closed Hofmann said if you were fifty feet away from the building when the machines were running you could maybe hear a low humming sound. No loud clanking or pounding would be heard from the machines. Hofmann stated he would be willing to let anyone visit their current facility.

Nelson asked which building would be used for. Hofman noted the building closest to the home would be used for shipping, receiving, and assembling. The second building would be used for the machines and to house extra inventory. The house would be used for office space.

Nelson asked if the driveway would be paved. Hofmann stated he did not plan on paving the parking lot because the business does not receive a lot of traffic. Hofmann stated that the grain bins, he thought could still be used by farmers in the area. Hofmann stated he does not plan on changing the structure of the property much. The only plan is to connect the two buildings in the future. Hofmann stated they like to keep the business small because it is easier to manage. If they do have larger orders, they will contract them out.

Jack Hynds, Attorney at Law, represents Becky and Jerry Kleinmeir. Hynds stated that the County has stringent demands on rezoning. Hynds noted that the soils are considered class A soils for farming use. Hynds stated that his concern is with spot zoning. Hynds noted that there is not a lack of commercially zoned properties with municipal water and sewage available.

Stephen Pratt, Attorney at Law, representing Becky and Jerry Kleinmeir. Pratt prepared a packet of material containing two pages from the plat book showing the surrounding area as agricultural. Pratt stated that his clients do not have any issues with how the Varland's used their property since 1996. They do object the rezoning of the land from an agricultural use to a commercial use. Pratt noted that the property is surrounded by good farm ground. Pratt gave a list of different business that could be had with the commercial general zoning. Pratt noted that if the owners were to sell the property with a commercial general zoning any numbers of business could be had there, or built on that spot. Pratt stated his clients would like to keep the agricultural nature of the property. Pratt read the definition of spot zoning, and argues that everything around this property that is surrounded by agricultural land and to remain its integrity he feels that the map amendment should be denied. Pratt quoted the preface of the Grundy County Comp Plan, and Grundy County ordinance section 8-14-9: Map Amendments and cited them as a reason not to rezone the property.

Jill Wood, was sworn in. Woods only concern is if the land is sold what could be built on this commercially zoned property. Breisch stated that there are several businesses that are allowed in a Commercial General zoning. Breisch listed all the businesses that are permitted uses for a commercial general zoning. Breisch noted that the petitioner stated that he has owned the business for over 70 years. Breisch stated that if they do sell the property any of the business he listed could be built on the property. Miller noted that if the owners sold, anyone that wanted to build would have to follow the commercial standards for building on the lot which would include storm water drainage.

Breisch asked if anyone else would like to make a public comment. No more public comment was heard. Public comment was closed at 7:35 P.M.

Nelson asked if anyone would over see the business, and do they have to comply with the fire code. Miller stated that we would require the building to meet our current codes, and the fire department would require the buildings to meet their code. Miller stated that she can only imagine that when the building was built it was not built to today's codes. If they buy the property the new owner would have to come in and apply for a permit to revise the buildings to conform with today's codes. This includes electric, and fire. Nelson asked if they would have to pave the driveway. Miller stated that the new owner would have to put in a parking lot, and it would have to be striped. Miller stated that he would have to update the buildings and the parking lot. Nelson asked if they have oil wouldn't a drain have to be changed. Miller noted that yes an oil separator will need to be had.

Joyce asked if there is any waste product that could be considered potentially hazardous to the ground water.

Hofmann stated that currently they do have fluids from the machine that they store. The coolant is stored in big plastic containers and is hauled away by a company called Liquid Environmental. A vacuum truck comes out and empties the plastic containers. Hofmann stated he currently has all of the paper work for all of the waste water he has hauled away from his current location.

Joyce asked how many employees will be on site at one time. Hofmann stated 10 employees will be on site.

Lynch asked if having to pave the parking lot would make a difference since they would have to invest more money. Hofmann said this would not be a problem.

Lynch asked since the house is being turned into offices will they have to be ADA compliant. Can they rent out the house? Miller stated that a residency is not allowed in the home. So you can not rent the property to tenants. Miller stated that they would have the requirements of an office. Miller noted that they would have to comply with the Fire Department's requirements too.

Nelson asked if we recommend this petition, we cannot say what kind of business can be on this property. Breisch stated that once we make a recommendation it will be forwarded to the Land Use Committee, and then the Committee will give their recommendation and it will be forwarded to the full County Board. Miller noted that conditions cannot be made on a map amendment.

Skwarczynski stated that the Comprehensive Plan states that Route 6 is recommended to be used as a commercial general as part of the Route 6 Corridor is there any other commercial general business zoned by this property. Miller noted properties are zoned Commercial General that are a half mile away , and the other is one mile away from this parcel. Miller also noted that there is a commercial interchange within three miles of this property. Skwarczynski stated that commercial uses will be had for the interchange on Interstate 80.

Skwarczynski motioned to recommend to the Land Use Committee to forward the petition with a positive recommendation to change the zoning from A-Agricultural to CG- Commercial General, made by Skwarczynski, seconded by Joyce.

Motion carried 4-2.

RESULT: RECOMMENDED APPROVAL [4 TO 2] Next: 11/20/2019 2:30 PM

MOVER: Al Skwarczynski

SECONDER: Dick Joyce

AYES: Joyce, Lynch, Skwarczynski, Sandeno

NAYS: Hill, Nelson

ABSTAIN: Breisch

IV. Old Business

No old business was heard.

V. New Business

No new business was heard.

VI. Adjournment

1. adjourn

Meeting adjourned at 7:57 P.M.


MOVER: Mark Hill

SECONDER: Sid Nelson

AYES: Joyce, Lynch, Hill, Nelson, Skwarczynski, Sandeno

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