City Council debates special-use permit for parking lot

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Patrick Murphy

First Ward Alderperson Carolyn Morris reads a letter out loud during DeKalb’s City Council meeting on Monday, July 13th.

Kierra Frazier, News Editor

DeKALB – An ordinance to establish a 20-space parking lot at 1030 E. Locust St. passed on first reading at Monday’s City Council meeting after much discussion and debate. 

Nehring Electrical Works Co., 813 E. Locust St., requested a special-use permit to establish the 20-space parking lot. The company’s building is 300 feet from the requested lot, but Scott Dillion, senior vice president of operations, said the business needs additional parking due to company growth.

More specifically, the company has limited space for the outside storage of electrical wire spools as well as employee or guest parking, according to the Jan. 11 City Council agenda. 

DeKalb resident Damien Wilford lives near the potential 20-space parking lot and said he’s concerned that the issue of multiple semi-trucks visiting the lot and noise occurring in the middle of the night will continue if Nehring is granted the permit.

“The spools that they wrap the wires in, they’re moving those at 12 to 2 o’clock in the morning,” Wilford said. “I have called a couple of times over there to stress our displeasement about it and then we ended up calling the police about it and they had come out, but it’s still persisting, it’s still going on.”

The city issued a permit in the summer to Nehring to allow temporary storage of electric wire spools on the lot, according to the agenda. Nehring plans to pave and stripe the lot and reserve it for employee parking, and it won’t be used for truck parking or staging.

City Manager Bill Nicklas said many neighbors expressed concern following the Planning and Zoning meeting Jan. 6, but plans for the parking lot have been in discussion for months.

“[Nehring] is going to have to help with the policing; they know it,” Nicklas said. “They’re going to have to talk to their employees who are visually doing whatever they have to do to find a place to park to get into their shift before it starts.” 

Mayor Jerry Smith said the concerns raised by residents is a separate issue and shouldn’t be tied into Nehring’s application to build a parking lot. 

“In terms of that parking lot, it’s an improvement in the property,” Smith said. 

Wilford said he’s also concerned about having potential semi-trucks in the neighborhood with children playing at Kishwaukee Kiwanis Park, 1103 Lincoln Highway, nearby. 

Dillion said Nehring is adamant about not using the parking lot for semi-trucks. 

“As far as the parking lots are concerned, the main purpose is to alleviate on-street parking, and that’s what it should do and it should help the neighborhood in general,” Dillion said. 

A second reading on the ordinance to approve the 20-space parking lot will take place at the next City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 25. at the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St., or via Zoom provided on weekly City Council agendas.