By Bob Balgemann

A proposal to operate a multi-faceted business out of the former North Park Rental location at 9624 N. Second St. has received support at the first of three stops it has to make in the approval process.

There were few questions Jan. 24 during the planning and zoning commission (P&Z) meeting, during which there was a unanimous recommendation for approval of the requested special use permit.

Planning and Zoning Manager Carrie Houston provided the background for the commissioners.

She explained that the applicant, Sam Furman, had purchased the 1.43 acres of commercially zoned property on North Second Street for use by his business.

“GroundUP is a business located in Loves Park, which offers custom and traffic signs, asphalt patching, parking lot striping and maintenance, sign installation, seat coating, pavement markings, etc.,” she said. “GroundUP will be locating to the subject property.”

“North Park Rental had offered RV (recreational vehicle) and box-truck rentals from this location, and GroundUP would like to continue those rentals,” she added.

The special use permit is being sought in order to be able to continue offering RV and box-truck rentals from that property, she continued. “There is no record of North Park Rental ever applying for, or being granted official permission by the village, to offer these rentals. The special use permit is being sought to bring this pre-existing use into conformity.”

Village staff, she said, was recommening approval of the request, with two conditions. They are:

* Parking of rental vehicles shall conform to the site plan submitted with the special use application.

* All vehicle display and storage shall be on hard-surfaced areas that comply with Section Z-65(7)(b) Off-Street Parking and Loading, Surfacing of the Municipal Code.

Furman was at the meeting and made a brief presentation.

“I’ve been in the business over 12 years now,” he began. We’ve had our facility on Forest Hills Road since 2011ish, and we were recently informed that we needed to relocate. So we found out the North Park Rental facility (location) worked out well for our needs.

“As part of that, we had an active business renting both Cruise America RVs vacation rentals, and then the box trucks from Budget truck rentals seemed like a good tie-in to what we do. We do some sign sales and things that are maybe not entirely related, but it’d be a good opportunity for us to expand our offerings and our business and you know, fit in with our business model.

“We’re a fairly seasonal business. We have a site maintenance portion of the business that we install signs. We stripe parking lots, we do seal coating, you know, various things eight or nine months out of the year. It seemed like a good opportunity for us to continue on with those businesses. We’re planning on doing things the right way.”

Two questions

Commission Chairman Jim Hankins welcomed Furman to Machesney Park and asked him if there currently was hard-surface for the number of vehicles he planned to have there?

“Yes, I’ve submitted a site plan that shows where we intend to put the vehicles,” Furman replied.

He went over the property in question that has one main building and two larger, outbuilding storage areas. “Our intent is to basically just occupy the front building and the back buildings are kind of up for grabs at this point,” he continued. “But there’s lots of hard surface in the back. All that area behind the fence is paved, so we intend to use some of that for the vehicles.”

One of the commissioners asked if there were any RV cleanouts for the sewage from those vehicles, or how was Furman going to handle that?

“We have a septic system on site,” Furman answered. “There is no connection to city sewage. We give the people an option to get that done before, or we charge them to dump into our septic system.” Then he added, “We don’t intend to put anything into the creek in back.”

Another commissioner said he was familiar with the GroundUp business and couldn’t think of any better use for this property.

Manager Houston earlier noted the special use request met all six criteria required for it to be granted. The criteria were created to ensure that proposed uses would not have a detrimental effect on the immediate area, or surrounding vicinity.

Here are a few of the findings of fact developed by staff:

* “The proposed type of vehicle rental has been from the subject property, under different ownership, for many years without issue of concern.”

* “The proposed special use will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property values within the neighborhood.”

“This northern portion of the North Second Street corridor, just south of Route 173, has a mixture of commercial, industrial and residential land uses. The motor vehicle rental is not out of character for the area, and should have no impact on neighboring properties.”

“The motor vehicle rental use has been occurring on the subject property and has not been a detriment to the area.”

Staff also noted that previously, some of the vehicles had been stored south of the property, on Commonwealth Edison right of way per an agreement the previous property owner had with ComEd, which the village was not involved in. “The applicant has worked with village staff to keep all vehicles on the subject property, while also providing the required customer parking,” the report stated.

Next stop is the planning and economic development committee (PED), one of three advisory committees of the Machesney Park Village Board.

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