Village Trustees Consider UL Building Addition

Village Trustees Consider UL Building Addition

Action taken by Village Trustees at a recent board meeting could pave the way for a substantial addition to one of UL’s testing facilities in Sky Harbor. Last month, Trustees considered a preliminary review of a proposal submitted by UL to raise the roof on a portion of the testing facility at 750 Anthony Trail, known as UL’s Building Envelope Performance Test Lab. A new amendment to the Zoning Code allows for a new category of zoning relief – a Major Variation – which permits the Village to grant variations from dimensional standards that were not previously authorized as allowed variations. Should UL decide to proceed, this would be the first application reviewed under the new provision.

UL’s proposal would add a taller indoor space to it fenestration lab, where tests are conducted on windows and other building elements to withstand winds, rain and flying objects from hurricanes, tornadoes and other dangerous weather. According to UL officials, the additional ceiling height could be used to test larger building envelope products and specimens. Instead of referring the matter to the Zoning Board of Appeals or the Plan Commission, Trustees voted to exercise its option to hold its own public hearing. “I would suggest having a public hearing at the Board level to expedite the process as quickly as possible,” commented Trustee Jim Karagianis. Fellow Trustees and Village President Sandy Frum voiced their unanimous agreement.

The existing 63,701 square foot single story building, located on 4.27 acres, is around 34 feet in height. The proposed addition would expand the testing bays and increase ceiling height on a 78’ by 150’ section of the southwest corner of the building to 65 feet, which is 10 feet above the allowable height under the Zoning Code. The property is zoned I-1 Restricted Industrial and is surrounded by industrial and office uses on north, south and west side. The property to the east is zoned residential. To address concerns of neighboring residents, UL included a line of sight study in its application to show the visible impact of the addition.

Trustee Jim Karagianis commented that the impact of new addition, that could be intrusive to neighbors, was his top concern. Fellow Trustees Buehler, Ciesla, Collison, Han, and Village President Frum echoed the sentiment. Because of the location of the addition at the rear of the property, it was explained by Village staff that the addition would not be visible to surrounding homes.

Before any variation can be granted, the Trustees must determine that the variation meets the following conditions:

  • the variation will not serve as a serve as a special privilege but would alleviate some condition not shared by other property in the same locality
  • there would be an unusual hardship in meeting the requirements of the code
  • the proposed variation will not alter the essential character of the locality.
  • the proposed major variation will not impair an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent property, substantially increase congestion in the streets, increase the danger of fire or crime, or diminish the value of nearby property.
  • the major variation represents the minimum deviation from established code standards necessary to accomplish the desired improvement.

The application is the first Major Variation application considered by the Trustees since the adoption of the Zoning Code amendment last year. Trustees have 60 days to either deny the application or grant the variation with or without modifications or conditions.

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