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Development proposals draw crowd during Sycamore Plan Commission meeting

Brian Grainger, Tim Beasley present separate townhome ideas

Dozens packed into the Sycamore Council Chambers on Monday night to hear proposals from two different developers.
Dozens packed into the Sycamore Council Chambers on Monday night to hear proposals from two different developers.

SYCAMORE – Dozens packed into the Sycamore City Council chambers on Monday night to hear proposals from two developers.

Most seats were filled, and attendees were leaning against the walls when the Sycamore Plan Commission meeting began at 7 p.m. Monday.

The action items that needed to be discussed were taken care of within the first 45 minutes, but public comment on two proposed developments in Sycamore stretched on for at least 90 minutes.

A favorable recommendation to pass along to Sycamore City Council was unanimously approved in regard to the new DeKalb County History Center rezoning its property at 1730 N. Main St. to accommodate a museum.

Local attorney Riley Oncken recently entered into a contract to buy a residential property at 212 S. Main St. He intends to use the property for his law offices and is requesting to rezone it from R-3, Multifamily Residential, to C-2, Central Business District.

“Neighbors did call in with some concerns about parking,” Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said.

Because the office is part of the downtown parking area, it does not require additional off-street parking. There also is some alley parking and a two-car garage where employees would park, Oncken said.

“I certainly want to be a good neighbor,” Oncken said.

One potential neighbor, Jaime Rogers, said she does not want to be washing her dishes and look out on a “parking lot.”

The commission approved a favorable recommendation to be passed along to City Council, and one concerning defining self-storage units.

Brian Grainger gave a presentation on his Hickory Terrace Townhomes proposal – Grainger wants to create a 55-and-older active adult luxury leasing community with 24 one-bedroom units.

“The plan includes the development of David Drive, which runs parallel to Peace Road before connecting to Starfish Lane,” the agenda stated. “Landscaped screening along Peace Road will be installed.”

Grainger said the homes would appeal to residents who no longer want to live in two-story homes but desire to live in the Sycamore community. Attendees were concerned about units eventually being rented to younger residents.

Commissioner Marvin Barnes asked if Grainger could reduce number of units.

“There would be trade-offs,” Grainger said.

Tim Beasley, on behalf of ANBDC Land Trust No. 2992, followed Grainger’s presentation and proposed to construct a 96-unit multifamily development on 10.81 acres at the northwest corner of Plank Road and Luther Lowell Lane.

“We’re all Sycamore people, and we want what’s best for Sycamore. I know you do, too,” Beasley said.

Beasley and his partners said they saw a need in the community to attract and keep young, middle-income earners in Sycamore. The project would involve converting some commercial property to residential – a move Beasley said would eventually bolster the city’s economy because of more individuals spending money in town.

Both Commissioners Michelle Schulz and Stephen Nelson were concerned about how a multifamily development of that size might affect the city’s resources, and the majority of those who commented did not think the proposed property would fit into the community.

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