Planners reject business

By Nina Gougis

Faced with resident opposition, the plan commission denied 4-0 a proposition Wednesday to allow the establishment of a real estate office on Sycamore Road.

The owner of 1211 Sycamore Road received a special use permit in 2001 to use the property as a counseling clinic on the first floor, while using it as an apartment complex on the rest of the floors.

Three years later, the clinic has failed and the owner is looking to sell the property to William Holstine for its use as an office for Waterman Property Development Inc.

A dozen DeKalb residents voiced concerns that rezoning the property from a multiple family unit to a neighborhood commercial unit could open the door for more commercial uses in the future.

Although the real estate office may not cause a lot of disruption, having other businesses move into the area could turn the area into “an island of commercial activity,” said Ervin Thierfelder of DeKalb.

“That’s certainly not going to help the value of our property,” Thierfelder said.

The amount of traffic passing through the area and the classic look of the property was what Holstine said attracted him to the site.

Although Holstine said he wanted to comply with the residents’ wishes, he said the current owner made a huge investment to transform the residential unit into a commercial unit.

“I believe it would be a very expensive endeavor to change it back to a residential unit,” Holstine said.

One resident supported the rezoning, because of its potential to increase property value.

DeKalb resident Bear Wolf said the increase in commercial activity could make the property two to three times more valuable if businesses decide to buy land in the area.

Plan Chair Rich Fassig said he thought it was “a stretch” to allow the special use permit three years ago and would oppose any commercial rezoning of the property.

In addition, the commission decided 4-0 to amend an ordinance allowing the Illinois Convenience and Safety Corporation to build bus shelters at 22 potential sites on campus and throughout the city.

IC&SC agreed to install and maintain the shelters in exchange for advertising revenue they make, which averages to $6,000 annually for each shelter in the western suburbs. In addition, they would have to pay the city 10 percent of the revenue, city Transportation Planner Laurie Hoogeveen said.

The commission passed a motion advising the council that black and red be the colors of the shelters.

The next meeting will be Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St. The Dec. 29 meeting has been canceled.