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Propane facility special-use permit request sent back for another public hearing

SYCAMORE – Turns out that a Morris-based company missed checking a box on its application for a special-use permit to open a propane distribution facility, so instead of the full DeKalb County Board taking a vote on the matter Wednesday the issue was referred back to planning and zoning for a new public hearing.

“If we didn’t do something we were supposed to do, then we’re all for another hearing,” said Ron Dibble, principal of Dibble Family LLC.

The company is asking fort a special-use permit to allow a propane distribution facility at 25330 Five Points Road on agricultural land in unincorporated Mayfield Township, about a mile from Sycamore and 2 miles from DeKalb, according to county documents.

The full board was scheduled to vote on the request at its monthly meeting Wednesday. A residents group that has been outspoken in its opposition of the Dibble request pointed out to county officials the missing information on the application, officials said.

Sycamore Citizens Race Against Propane Storage stood ready to file for an injunction had the County Board approved the request, said Lorri Thrower, one of the group’s leaders.

They’re fear is that should the propane facility catch fire, their homes and other nearby property – including public schools – could be affected.

“We really kind of rallied together and said, ‘You know what, he really hasn’t completed his application,’ “ Thrower said. “The burden of proof is on him to show that (the facility is) not going to impact our homes, impact our property values. And that hasn’t been proven.”

She said the group established a legal fund, retained a lawyer and is prepared to take the issue to court.

It is expected that the new public forum will be held sometime in October, and the matter would likely come back before the full board in November, board member Tracy Jones, R-District 1, said.

Board members called for the next public hearing to be held at night, to allow for more participation, instead of during the day as was the one held in August. The county’s interim head of planning and zoning said how long it takes to reschedule and hold the public hearing, and what time it takes place is up to the hearing officer the county would have to employ.

Dibble said he’s “not sure” if he will continue with his request, after the board’s move.

Jones said publicly that he supports the propane facility coming to the location requested. The facility would be in his district. His verbal support came even as he made the motion to refer the issue back for another public hearing.

“I still think that this that this is a good project” said Jones, a farmer who said he has an 18,000 gallon propane tank on his own property.

He added that he was acting in the best interest of his district when he made the motion.

“We could have said ‘yes’, we could have said ‘no’,” Jones said about the full County Board. “Sending it back to public hearing was the right think to do.”