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Sycamore City Council OKs zoning change to allow parking lot

SYCAMORE – A Sycamore home that has been listed for sale since July 2011 is getting torn down, and the space will be used for a private parking lot.

Sycamore City Council voted Monday to approve a zoning change allowing Turner Law Offices, 107 W. Exchange St., Sycamore, to purchase the home at 221 N. Main St., next to their office, to demolish the house and create a 15-stall parking lot.

Changing the zoning from a multifamily residence district to a central business district was required to allow for the parking lot. The city's plan commission voted 11-0 May 12 in support of the petition.

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said the action was the best solution for the property since there has not been significant resident interest to live at the home since it has been for sale. Also, it would have been too expensive for commercial use to be located at the property since the structure would have to be upgraded, Gregory said.

The 15-stall parking lot will also solve traffic issues. Some patrons of Turner Law Offices parked along Exchange Street, causing obstructions for drivers making turns onto Main Street from Exchange and the nearby alley.

The parking lot will now open up the roadways to take pressure off public parking spaces and offer better traffic sightlines, according to Monday's City Council agenda.

The house is expected to be demolished within the next year but Rick Turner, founder of Turner Law Offices, hopes to have the parking lot ready by this fall, Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy said.

There will also be better lighting at the parking lot, improving the look of the area, Mundy said.

The home's two-car garage and existing six-foot fence along the north property line will remain, according to the agenda.

Turner Law Offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, meaning the private parking lot will largely be empty on weekends.

During nonbusiness hours, Turner said he is willing to allow neighbors to park in the area if they are holding special events such as baby showers and barbecues.

The neighbors could also act as a watchdog at the parking lot, Turner said.

"I'm happy to have people there watching over the parking lot as long as nobody's leaving their car up on jacks," Turner joked.

Appropriate towing signs will also be placed on the property, Turner said.

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