Smith cautions residents as DeKalb moves to Phase 4 mitigations


Patrick Murphy

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith partakes in the City Council meeting at DeKalb Public Library on July 27th.

By Kierra Frazier

DeKALB – Mayor Jerry Smith advised residents at Monday’s City Council meeting to “be careful” as DeKalb County moves out to Tier 1 mitigations and into Phase 4, which allows for more indoor dining.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Monday that Region 1 will move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan effective Monday.

Phase 4 allows for limited indoor dining of up to 25% capacity and 10 people per table, social gatherings of up to 50 people and the reopening of select indoor recreation facilities such as bowling alleys or skating rinks. 

“Be vigilant, be diligent as you move around the facility, but I know it’s just welcome news for so many of our bars and restaurants who just needed this so very, very badly,” Smith said.

ComEd Substation

The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance for a ComEd substation for the future Facebook data center at Monday’s meeting.

“We’re interested in collaborating in the making of a facility that will serve the plant and also serve the area more adequately and it’s to our advantage,” said City Manager Bill Nicklas.

The substation will be located southwest of the data hall at the southeast portion of the property. The intent is to create a separate lot for the ComEd Substation, according to the Jan. 25 City Council agenda.  

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the substation Tuesday with a vote of seven to zero, according to the agenda. 

Nicklas said initially there was some concern by a few neighbors close to the proposed site because they thought the substation was going to be with frontage on Route 23, but that’s not the case.

“I think we’ve met that concern,” Nicklas said. “[The substation] is an integral part of what will make the energy supply more reliable, which the company cannot tolerate blinking lights for its consumers, and we are very enthusiastically supportive of this.” 

In June, it was announced Facebook would be constructing a 907,000 square foot data center in DeKalb as its 12th data center in the country. Facebook invested $800 million into the data center, and the company will offer about 100 operational jobs and hundreds of construction jobs. 

Special-use permit for parking lot

An ordinance to establish a 20-space parking lot at 1030 E. Locust St. was tabled at Monday’s meeting following safety and noise concerns from residents.

Nehring Electrical Works Co., 813 E. Locust St., requested a special-use permit to establish the 20-space parking lot. Council members passed the ordinance on first reading at a Jan. 11 meeting.

A vote on the ordinance is expected at the Feb. 22 City Council meeting, Nicklas said. 

“Let’s give this another 30 days,” Nicklas said. “Let’s see how the company and the neighborhood work this out.”