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Propane storage facility plans up for another vote

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Board is expected Wednesday to consider – for a second time – a Morris company’s plan to build a propane distribution facility.

The plan has been opposed by neighbors, who have said they intend to file suit to prevent the project from going forward if it is approved by the County Board.

The board will consider the proposal at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Gathertorium at the Legislative Center, 200 N. Main St., Sycamore.

In September, the board voted to send the plan back for another public hearing. That re-started the process, but the result was the same: The public hearing officer again recommended the permit be denied and the Planning and Zoning Committee again recommended approval.

County Board Vice Chairman Tracy Jones, who has supported the project from the outset, said he plans to vote for it Wednesday despite objections from those who live near the proposed facility.

"I don't like going against people's wishes, but my job is to determine the facts," Jones said. "There's not a safety issue, there's not a home-value issue."

Opponents have raised concerns about the affect the project will have on home values in addition to safety. They have repeatedly cited a recent seven-alarm fire at a propane facility in Gurnee as evidence of their safety concerns.

Dibble Family LLC is seeking a special-use permit from DeKalb County to allow a propane distribution facility at 25330 Five Points Road, on agricultural land near the intersection with Route 64 in unincorporated Mayfield Township. The property is about a mile from Sycamore and 2 miles from DeKalb, according to county documents.

The company wants to renovate the existing building on the 2.77-acre site and build two 30,000-gallon propane storage tanks on the northeast corner of the property. A fence would be built to enclose the tanks and office areas. The facility would be used to serve the company’s existing DeKalb County customers. About 90 percent of the company’s customers are farmers and agriculture businesses, according to the proposal.

Sycamore Citizens Race Against Propane Storage established a legal fund and retained a lawyer as the plan moved through the planning process earlier this year. The group has said it is prepared to take the issue to court.

Jones said it might end up in court either way.

"Property rights are a two-way street," Jones said. "[The company] has proven it's not a detriment. I don't have grounds to say 'no.' "

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