Village of La Grange trustees denied a request from for a special use permit to add an outdoor structure for additional seating next to its restaurant at Monday night’s meeting.
At a Plan Commission meeting on July 10, commissioners voted 4-1 that the request be denied as well. The commission’s denial was largely because the design of the structure would not comply with requirements of Illinois Accessibly Code.
Although Q-BBQ revised its design of the outdoor structure prior to the La Grange Village Board meeting, the issue was more of a “philosophical” one, said Trustee Mark Langan, who led Monday’s meeting because Village President Elizabeth Asperger was out of town.
“The code issues were resolved,” Langan told his fellow trustees. “So, this really becomes a policy discussion by the board.”
Trustee Bill Holder asked Langan why the issue was not being vetted by the Plan Commission again, and was instead appearing before the board. Langan asked for Community Development Director Patrick Benjamin to weigh in on an explanation, and Benjamin told the trustees that Q-BBQ had fixed any issues with the design that had caused it to be initially rejected.
“I think the applicant actually did a very good job,” Benjamin told the board. “The issues raised by the Plan Commission were largely the accessibility issue. From a code perspective, I think we’re OK.”
“This, although it’s canvas, is permanent?” Trustee Holder asked Benjamin.
“Yes,” he replied. “It’s going to be used year-round.”
According to Langan, the board was presented with a policy discussion at that point, over whether a special use permit should be authorized for the structure, since the issue was no longer about any problems with the code.
“I have several concerns,” Trustee Mark Kuchler said before he added that his family regularly eats at Q and enjoys the food. His problem, he said, was largely with the fact that Q would be erecting a temporary structure that would remain permanent. Kuchler said he feared that by allowing Q to have a permanent canvas structure, it would make it difficult for the board to stop this sort of expansion in the future.
“I don’t believe this is what we should be encouraging,” Kuchler continued. “I think we need to be tightening [requirements on temporary structures].”
Trustee Jim Palermo agreed with Kuchler, and added that Q’s neighbor, Urban Sole, had also complained about smoke from Q at the Plan Commission meeting. Village Attorney Mark Burkland told trustees that that wasn’t at issue in this case and should not sway the trustees' decision. Palermo suggested that a better idea would be for Q to take over Urban Sole’s location for expansion and let Urban Sole move to a new location.
Trustees also questioned whether the expansion would factor into the tax assessment of the building, since the structure was technically temporary.
Ultimately Trustee Langan pushed trustees to vote on simply whether or not they thought the issuance of a special use permit was the right way to go in this instance.
The request was unanimously denied by the board.