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DeKalb County Board says no to propane storage facility

County Board says no to propane storage facility

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Board rejected a Morris company’s plan to build a propane distribution facility after strong opposition from neighboring homeowners.

On Wednesday, the board voted, 15-9, to turn down the special use permit requested by Dibble Family LLC to build a propane distribution facility at 25330 Five Points Road in unincorporated Mayfield Township. The vote came after the proposal had gone through the approval process for a second time.

“When I look at issues like this, I weigh the good it does for the landowner as well as the county against the detriment it does to the neighbors, and I’ve voted against the neighbors on a couple of occasions – on the wind farm and on the landfill – because there was an overall good that helped the county more,” said Paul Stoddard, D-District 9. “This time, the balance for me flips the other way. I think this is more detrimental to the neighbors than it provides good for the landowner and the county.”

Opponents raised safety concerns and worried about the effect the project could have on home values. 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 had said it was prepared to take the issue to court.

John Frieders, R-District 12, said the proposed use met the county’s zoning requirements. He also said that if the board was going to decide issues based on popularity, the county wouldn’t have wind turbines and a landfill. Other supporters on the board said they didn’t want to turn away a business that was willing to invest in DeKalb County.

“We don’t want to push away more businesses that are helping the folks in DeKalb County,” said John Gudmunson, R-District 11.

Residents who live near the site of the proposed facility left Wednesday’s meeting in good spirits. Lorri Thrower, who helped organize opposition to the project, even shed a few tears afterward. She said she was grateful that board members listened to the group’s concerns.

Frank Riccardi, another neighbor, said that he believed the permit would’ve been approved by the County Board had the group not been organized.

Dibble Family sought the permit 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. The company had planned to build a fence to enclose the tanks and office areas. The facility was to be used to serve the company’s existing DeKalb County customers. About 90 percent of the company’s customers are farmers and agricultural businesses, according to county documents.

Ron Dibble, principal of Dibble Family LLC, declined to comment after the meeting.

Thrower said the group of neighbors was even considering buying the property so that they could control what happens there in the future.

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