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DeKalb, ShoDeen differ on Irongate development plan

DeKALB – Despite a three-hour-plus meeting dedicated to it, the DeKalb City Council and ShoDeen Construction still have to work through a number of issues in regard to the Irongate community development.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block was disagreement on impact fees. Only four aldermen expressed a willingness to lower the impact fees by 50 percent on the residential community in an effort to lower house prices.

But any annexation agreement requires a supermajority on the council – or six of the eight aldermen voting yes. No annexation, no construction.

For months, ShoDeen has been working with city staff to develop plans for the Irongate community, which would be north of DeKalb High School along First Street and by Bethany Street.

ShoDeen President Dave Patzelt said he has been frustrated by what he sees as DeKalb aldermen constantly moving the goal posts of the project.

Meanwhile, the aldermen are worried that the neighborhood could become a rental one. Hence, they eliminated apartments entirely and further reduced the number of townhouses at Tuesday night’s meeting with Patzelt and city staff.

Under current city ordinance, the school district and park district can receive cash and/or land once the city annexes a particular community.

Under one proposal, the total impact fees for a single family home would be $14,166.40. If the council went ahead with a 50 percent reduction, that cost will be $7,083.20.

Patzelt said having a reduced impact fee would allow him to sell homes. DeKalb School District 428 Superintendent James Briscoe defended the reduced fees, stating school officials are more concerned with declining property values.

But the school district and park district’s share of impact fees was a point of contention. Some aldermen said the city was getting the short end of the reduced impact fees.

“We need more police and fire [for Irongate]. This is going to add more streets to the city,” 3rd Ward Alderwoman Kristen Lash said. “That’s included in the impact fees.”

DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen and Patzelt said it is possible they could negotiate to have the city’s impact fee reduced at a lower percentage, such as 33 percent.

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