Warehouse debated

By Michael Swiontek

A few tempers flared as warehouse development entered a preliminary discussion phase which could result in another warehouse complex in southern DeKalb.

A tax break included in a preliminary resolution that would aid in trying to entice a warehouse/distribution center to come to DeKalb was one item that garnered some debate.

Venture One Properties, the developer, is proposing a tax break similar to the one given to Target.

The developer would not name the potential company, but said it is a “Fortune 100” company.

The project is sensitive because it involves consolidating existing employees, thus it is being referred to as “Project Oak.”

Public frustration

When the discussion turned to the public, a frustrated resident explained her concern.

“Why are you turning our town into the warehouse hub of the Midwest?” said Pat Bragg, a DeKalb resident. “How many trucks is this going to bring? Why are we offering abatements? We need to use NIU and bring in research and development companies. I’m really disappointed in all off you.” Some of DeKalb’s council members tried to answer Bragg’s concerns.

“We are between a rock and a hard place because we are trying to bring in tax revenue and keep small town flavor,” 2nd Ward Alderman Kris Povlsen said.

The 4th Ward council member voiced some concern over the proposal.

“The question is where are you going to put all the trucks,” 4th Ward council member Donna Gorski said.

Fifth Ward Alderman Pat Conboy said a workshop was needed to address citizen’s concerns about the development of warehousing.

The need for a warehousing discussion led to changes in the upcoming meeting schedule for the city council.

“The smoking ban proposal will be pushed to December or until after the first of next year,” 3rd Ward Alderman Steve Kapitan said.

Responding to the change, 6th Ward Alderman Dave Baker asked, “How many years are we going to push this off?”

“Priorities, Dave,” Kapitan rebutted.

DeKalb Mayor Frank Van Buer was not present at the meeting but all seven council members were in attendance.

Calling all cabs

A public hearing conducted on an application to provide taxi service in DeKalb brought forth little response. Consequently, a consideration to allow Sycamore Transportation Services to hold a taxi business license in DeKalb was unanimously passed.

STS has one driver and is ready to expand to three drivers if the market bears said Keith Snyder, STS driver and husband of the owner, Patricia Snyder.