(A)   Creation and membership.
      (1)   The Planning Commission is hereby established. The word “Commission” when used in this section shall be construed to mean the Planning Commission. The Commission shall consist of nine members who shall be freeholders appointed by the Mayor upon approval by the City Council. The terms of office of the members of the Commission shall be for five years, excepting that the nine members first appointed shall serve respectively for terms of one for one year, two for two years, three for three years, two for four years and one for five years.
      (2)   Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term of the member whose place has become vacant by the Mayor upon approval by the City Council. The City Council shall have the power to remove any member of the Planning Commission for cause and after notice and public hearing. The Planning Commission shall elect its own Chairperson and Vice President each of whom shall serve for one year. The Planning Commission shall adopt from time to time such rules and regulations as it may deem necessary to carry into effect the powers herein given it.
   (B)   Meetings.
      (1)   All meetings of the Planning Commission shall be held at the call of the Chairperson and at such other times as the Commission may determine.
      (2)   All meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public. The Commission shall keep minutes of its proceedings and shall also keep records of its examinations and other official actions. Findings of fact shall be included in the minutes of each case of a requested variation, specifying the reasons for making or denying such variation.
      (3)   Every rule, regulation, every amendment or repeal thereof, and every order, requirement, decision or determination of the Commission shall immediately be filed in the office of the City Clerk and shall be a public record. The Commission shall adopt its own rules of procedure not in conflict with the statute in such cases made and provided.
   (C)   Appeal and review.
      (1)   An appeal shall be taken within such time as shall be prescribed by the Planning Commission by general rule, by filing with the Building Inspector and with the Commission, a notice of appeal, specifying the grounds thereof. The Building Inspector shall forthwith transmit to the Commission all of the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
      (2)   An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the Building Inspector certifies to the Commission after the motion of appeal has been filed with him or her that by reason of facts stated in the certificate, a stay would, in his or her opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property, in which case the proceedings shall not be staid otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by the Commission or by a court of record on application, on notice to the Building Inspector and on due cause shown.
      (3)   The Commission shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal and give due notice thereof to the parties and decide the same within a reasonable time. Upon the hearing, any party may appear in person, or by agent, or by attorney. The Planning Commission may reverse or affirm wholly or partly or may modify the order, requirements, decision or determination as in its opinion ought to be made in the premises and to that end shall have the power of the Building Inspector from whom appeal is taken.
      (4)   All final administrative decisions of the Commission made under ILCS Ch. 65, Art. 5, §§ 11-13-1 through 11-13-20 as now enacted and may be hereafter amended or modified, shall be subject to judicial review pursuant to the provisions of the “Administrative Review Act” approved May 8, 1945, Chapter 110, Section 264 et seq., and all amendments and modifications thereof, and the rule adopted pursuant thereto.
   (D)   Jurisdiction.
      (1)   The Planning Commission shall hear and decide appeals for the review of any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Building/Code Official, who is charged with the enforcement of this chapter.
      (2)   It shall also hear and decide all matters referred to it or upon which it is required to pass under this chapter. The concurring votes of five members of the Commission shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of the Building/Code Official or to decide in favor of the applicant any matter upon which it is required to pass under this chapter or to effect any variation in this chapter.
      (3)   Where in specific cases permits are applied for and there are practical difficulties or particular hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of any of the provisions or regulations of this chapter relating to the use, construction or alteration of buildings or structures, or the use of land, the Planning Commission may determine and vary their application in harmony with their general purpose and intent and in accordance with the following rules.
      (4)   No variation in the application of the provision of this chapter shall be made by the Council concerning the use of land, the intensity of such use, the size, shape or location of yards or open spaces, or the height of structures now existing or to be constructed, unless, after a hearing by the Planning Commission as provided for in this section, the Council shall find that such variation will not:
         (a)   Impair an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent property;
         (b)   Will not increase the hazard from fire and other dangers to said property;
         (c)   Will not diminish the taxable value of lands and buildings throughout the city, the area, nor the immediate vicinity;
         (d)   Will not increase the congestion in the public streets; and
         (e)   Will not otherwise impair the public health, safety, comfort, morals and welfare of the inhabitants of said city; nor shall any such variation be made in any case unless the same shall comply with the following limitations:
            1.   Such variation, whether applicable to new buildings, or to addition to or alterations or extensions of existing buildings, shall not reduce the required dimensions of open spaces by more than 20%, nor reduce the required total area to open spaces by more than 10%, nor reduce the required total lot area by more than 5%.
            2.   Such variation shall not permit an increase in the height of structure of more than 10% above the maximum height permitted by this chapter.
            3.   Such variation shall not permit the extension of a nonconforming use throughout a building or lot contrary to the limitations imposed in the immediately preceding paragraphs.
            4. Any variation or other zoning amendments described in this section shall conform with the general review procedures as defined in § 159.05.
(Ord. 96-4835, passed 4-16-1996; Am. Ord. 2010-5307, passed 8-17-2010)