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Government Local

Council may decide senior housing rezoning issue

SYCAMORE – For two months, the Sycamore Planning and Zoning Commission has heard from residents about proposed low-income senior housing on a 4.6-acre vacant lot on Hathaway Drive near the Farm and Fleet store.

On Monday, the City Council is scheduled to make a final determination on the plan. The council could vote on whether to rezone the property at 1101 Hathaway Drive from mixed use commercial to multifamily residential, at the request of the developer, Gardner Capital.

Gardner wants to build a three-story apartment building with 54 one- and two-bedroom units for low-income seniors on the property, which is near the Foxpointe condominiums and single-family homes in the Foxpointe subdivision. Residents in both neighborhoods have spoken out against the plan at public hearings.

The commission first heard the proposal in September and drew a large crowd in opposition. It continued the discussion to its October meeting, when another crowd came out to oppose it. Planning commissioners issued a negative recommendation at that meeting.

“The planning commission looks at the technical aspects of the proposal,” Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said after the meeting. “The City Council takes that information and makes a decision.”

The odds appear stacked against the proposal, which has not garnered support of residents, commissioners or city staff.

A staff review also noted that rezoning the property does not fit the city’s comprehensive plan and recommended against the rezoning.

The project could be approved despite the negative recommendation from planning commissioners, but it would require a two-thirds majority of the nine-member City Council, rather than a simple majority.

Although the council could vote on the matter, it also is possible it will postpone action on the matter until its next meeting or refer it back to the planning commission.

The issue of the property is one of two ordinances on the council’s agenda. The other is for a budget amendment, one that is done usually twice a year, Gregory said. It allows the city to provide final numbers from the previous year, or note changes in revenue and expenses from the current year.

When the budget for the fiscal year is passed, the final numbers from the previous year are estimated, Gregory said. The amendment comes after an audit furnishes the city with the final numbers for the previous year.

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