by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—The Elburn Planning Commission on Tuesday voted to recommend that the Village Board approve text amendments to certain zoning ordinances. The changes came after some questions arose when the Village Board went against a Planning Commission recommendation not to approve an application.
The Planning Commission voted against recommending an application by a dog day care facility at a meeting on Feb. 8. The issue later became how much information the commission had at the time it made its recommendation.
Planning Commission Chairman Jeff Metcalf said at the time that the “no” vote was more or less a technicality. The commission stipulated conditions under which they would recommend approval of the application.
By the time the Village Board voted on Feb. 22, more information had been provided that clarified the commission’s concerns. The stipulated conditions were agreed to by the applicant before the meeting; therefore the board approved the application.
At Tuesday’s meeting, in light of the past issue, the commission recommended amendments to the procedures by which the Village Board can supercede the Planning Commission’s recommendations.
“The purpose of the Planning Commission is that you’re a fact-finding committee,” Village Attorney Bob Britz said to the commission. “You gather facts to make recommendations, but they’re just recommendations. That doesn’t mean the Village Board has to accept them.”
He went on to explain that the commission’s job is to consider the facts and testimony in the exact same way a judge would. Those facts consist not only of the testimony of the applicant, but also testimony of opponents to the application, maps and plats attached to the application, and even personal information that a commission member might have. Village Board members can accept or reject the recommendation on these findings of fact, along with their own personal knowledge.
“It’s better to sort this out with (a) doggie day care (issue) than with development issues,” Commissioner John Krukoff said.