City approves property annexation

By D. Richard Roth

The DeKalb City Council approved an ordinance Monday night which would enlarge DeKalb’s city limits.

The property, located at 1515 W. Lincoln Hwy., will be annexed into the city’s legal boundaries due to the council’s action.

“The property in question was recently sold to NIU and is located in unincorporated DeKalb County,” said DeKalb Planning Director Marc Biernacki.

The council had two options to include the property in the city limits.

The city could have initiated straight annexation proceedings or second forcible annexation proceedings could be commenced.

“We initiated forcible annexation proceedings because it offered the city a quicker and more effective means for gaining the property,” said DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas.

The city of DeKalb has the right, under state law, to forcibly annex property under certain conditions.

“State law allows municipalities to forcibly annex, without petition by the property owner, parcels of land 60 acres or less in size if the said parcels are surrounded or nearly surrounded by properties already inside the corporate limits,” Biernacki said.

Officials from NIU did not oppose the forced annexation and still will retain ownership of the property.

“This in no way was an adversarial process,” he said. “I talked to (NIU Legal Counsel) George Shur, and he told me they would annex the property if they retained ownership.”

There are several reasons why the city engages in the process of annexation.

“In exercising its authority, the city is conforming to its policies of aggressive annexation and firming-up, where ever possible within city limits,” Biernacki said. “This action is consistent with past forced annexations that have occurred in the last three to five years.”

Several other advantages are gained by annexing property to the city.

“We like to fill in the little pockets that exist throughout the city limits (unincorporated property),” Nicklas said. “It offers the city a chance to gain tax advantages as well as protection against future zoning/planning problems.”

While the NIU property will not offer the city any tax advantages, it will fill in the corporate boundaries in the Lincoln Highway area, he said.

In addition to the property at 1515 W. Lincoln Hwy., the council granted approval to several other forced annexations Monday night.

“We asked the council to approve forced annexation of property known as the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad right-of-way as well as property located at 1525 W. Lincoln Hwy.,” Biernacki said.

The property located at 1525 W. Lincoln Hwy. is currently zoned for commercial use and is used for mini-warehouse purposes.

“As a result of the forced annexing of this property, the city might very well realize a tax advantage in the future,” Biernacki said.

The process to forcibly annex the three pieces of property was a relatively uneventful process.

“The annexation of all three properties were reviewed and unanimously approved by the DeKalb Plan Commission,” Biernacki said. “There were also public hearings held during the council’s meeting last Monday night and there was no opposition offered to the proposed annexations.”