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Government Local

DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission clears path for hotel

DeKALB – DeKalb’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday approved a zoning change on Annie Glidden Road to allow for construction of a hotel.

A zoning change in the 600 block of South Annie Glidden Road will allow developers to build a four-story Hampton Inn and Suites Hotel, along with an out lot for a restaurant.

Mike Larson, vice president and general manager of Elmer Larson in DeKalb, proposed the change, which would rezone the land from “light commercial” to “planned development commercial.” About 1 percent of the building will reach about four feet above the 45-foot height of the rest of the building, according to plans.

Petitioners have stated the project could generate more than $200,000 in hotel and motel sales tax annually for DeKalb, according to meeting minutes. The hotel also would create as many as 20 full-time jobs. Larson said he hopes to begin construction this year and be in operation by the spring or summer of 2013. A free-standing restaurant could add additional jobs.

The commission considered the rezoned property in late January, but petitioners asked that the item be postponed after nearby property owners raised concerns about the size and location of the proposed 80-room hotel.

Several residents who live near the area had concerns during a Jan. 25 public hearing. Derek Hiland, principal planner for DeKalb, said residents wanted to know more about the landscaping location, the height and design of the structure, safety measures and storm-water management.

Larson and another petitioner, Albert Hill, addressed those concerns and submitted a revised site plan, which shows a cutout detention pond instead of a six- or eight-foot berm that concerned Commissioner Michael Welsh.

“That is the major concession we are giving to the neighbors to the west,” he said. “That’s a major issue for me on this design layout.”

Larson responded by saying petitioners hope to add more trees to the property to shield the view of the storm-water area.

Commissioner Christina Peddle expressed concerns about the detention area because it was close to a bike path and parking area. Hill said the parking area is curbed, and the detention area would be dry grass most of the time.

As far as safety concerns, Hill said the hotel’s parking lot and surrounding area would be well-lit, and each hallway has a video camera and 24-hour personnel. All of the hotel’s exterior doorways have card-reader entrances, he said.

Hiland said building materials will wrap around the building from front to back, which should make a more uniform building.

Chairwoman Vickie Gillio said it would be a good idea to require some trees or shrubs to address concerns about privacy. Larson suggested a decorative fence, which commissioners said would be inconsistent with the layout of the area.

“The goal is to have some kind of natural, attractive companion to what’s already been done,” she said.

Members of the commission also continued a public hearing for rezoning property occupied by McDonald’s in the 500 block of East Lincoln Highway. Hiland has said the owners have proposed razing the building and rebuilding to include a double drive-thru. He said the restaurant hopes to address traffic that sometimes backs up on Lincoln Highway as vehicles wait to turn into the parking lot.

The new McDonald’s prototype requires the land to be rezoned as planned development commercial. The land is now zoned as a central business district.

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