Council accepts rezoning plan

By Alan I. Marcus

Monday’s DeKalb City Council meeting produced a debate over the proposed rezoning of property adjacent to Jewel Food Store on Sycamore Road.

Following nearly a month of deliberations, the council tentatively approved a proposal that would permit rezoning of three lots on north 13th street currently being used for single home dwellings.

If the proposal receives final approval Aug. 10, the lots will be classified as a General Commercial Zone, which will enable Jewel to enlarge its store by adding an Osco Drug Store, said Roger Hopkins, DeKalb director of community development

“The rezoning will provide the city with an increased tax base, which will produce more revenues and bring more jobs into DeKalb,” Hopkins said.

DeKalb resident Steven Mitchell said the proposal would add to the “already horrendous traffic problem on Sycamore Road.” Mitchell suggested putting in a stop light at 13th and Hollister streets before proceeding with the proposed rezoning plan.

Third Ward Alderman Bill Hanna acknowledged the traffic problem but said the city would have to align the two streets before a traffic light could be installed.

Fourth Ward Alderman Rita Tewksbury said, “The city council has been trying to get a light installed for some time, but we can’t seem to pursuade the General Assembly of the need for it. We have to go through the General Assembly because Sycamore Road is part of a state highway and, therefore, not under our jurisdiction.”

Earl Hansen, another DeKalb resident, said the rezoning proposal would create aesthetic problems. “The proposal doesn’t take into account that 18-wheelers will be running next to my house or the additional slats and garbage we will have to look at.”

Thirteenth Street resident Jule Scarborough told the council her family already is being awakened at 2 a.m. by Jewel employees unloading merchandise at the docks.

“You ought to consider some sort of a proposal for a more adequate sound barrier before going ahead with this wasteful plan for rezoning,” Scarborough said.

Gary Cordes, a Jewel attorney, said the proposal’s advantages, in terms of its potential for increased employment and revenue, outweigh any burdens placed on area residents.

“Jewel has been a good neighbor for over 20 years in this community, and we hope our proposal will continue that tradition by fostering economic development in DeKalb,” Cordes said.