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Sycamore officials focus on 'bigger picture' in Brown's County Market plan

Property on East State Street galvanized consideration to amend ordinance

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Hinckley developer Douglas Olson, of Franklin Development Trust, indicated he will likely move forward with his plan to maintain the Family Dollar portion of the property at 403 E. State St., Sycamore, add a coffee shop-like retail space, and turn the center of the property into climate-controlled indoor self-storage. A store to support the self-storage place was also proposed – a $1.9 million initial investment in all.[]

SYCAMORE – Discussions on rezoning property for the old Brown’s County Market property at403 E. State St. have triggered a broader conversation about amending a city ordinance.

The Sycamore Plan Commission met Monday night to discuss permitting the redevelopment of the Brown’s property, and members were receptive to creating special use in two commercial districts – C-2, central business, and C-3, highway business districts, Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said.

Hinckley developer Douglas Olson, of Franklin Development Trust, has indicated he likely will move forward with his plan to maintain the Family Dollar portion of the property on East State Street, add a coffee shop-like retail space, and turn the center of the property into climate-controlled indoor self-storage.

A store to support the self-storage facility was also proposed – a $1.9 million initial investment in all.

The Brown’s property proposal acted as the catalyst for Sycamore officials to consider revising the ordinance, but now members of the plan commission are looking at the “bigger picture,” Gregory said.

“We were really looking at the emerging use category,” Gregory said.

Indoor storage units appear to be an area of growing interest, and officials want to make sure they will be prepared.

The city’s unified development ordinance currently does not allow for storage facilities in central business districts, such as the Brown’s property and downtown Sycamore. Storage facilities are allowed only in areas zoned M-1, light manufacturing, or M-2, heavy manufacturing.

That ordinance also does not differentiate between indoor and outdoor storage facilities. City staff recommended that indoor self-storage facilities – those without exterior access to storage and other parameters – be newly permitted in C-2 and C-3 districts, and that outdoor facilities remain allowed only in M-1 and M-2 districts.

During the commission’s next meeting March 12, city staff will bring an amendment to the commission for consideration. A public hearing will be held, and the commission will make a recommendation to the City Council.

Two action items discussed Monday, which include a request from Joseph Bassett for a special use permit to use the second floor of a detached garage at 410 E. Elm St. as an accessory apartment, and a consideration of a re-subdivision and final plat of phase four of the Krpan Thanks America subdivision, will go before the City Council at 7 p.m. Monday at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St.