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Sycamore Plan Commission OKs rezoning request for former gas station

Change for former Marathon station still needs council’s OK

Randy Carls thanked the Sycamore Plan Commission Monday even before it approved his rezoning request. The president of Carls Oil requested the change so that a greater variety of businesses can lease the space at the old Marathon gas station that's been vacant for the last year after the company opened a new station down the street.
Randy Carls thanked the Sycamore Plan Commission Monday even before it approved his rezoning request. The president of Carls Oil requested the change so that a greater variety of businesses can lease the space at the old Marathon gas station that's been vacant for the last year after the company opened a new station down the street.

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Plan Commission approved a request Monday by the owners of the old Marathon gas station and Outpost on State Street to rezone the parcel. The change, from neighborhood business to central business district, would open up the types of businesses that could go into the building on the parcel.

The station at 503 E. State St. has been vacant since the business moved down the street to a new location at 439 E. State St.

“I was here before you all about a year ago, and we made a commitment to build a new location and work on the existing location as far as turning it into something great,” said Randy Carls, president of Carls Oil, which owns the two locations. “It’s been a busy year for our little companies.”

Carls said the tanks have been removed from underground at the old location and the canopies have been taken down.

“We’ve kind of gutted the inside of the building. As you can imagine, a building that was I think built in the late ’50s or early ’60s there were improvements,” Carls said. “We cleaned the inside so we can start with a nice shell.”

Carls said that the company has been working with brokers, and the location can be on the market for lease in the next two weeks.

The change in zoning would allow a larger selection of businesses to go into the location. The neighborhood business designation allows mostly service businesses while the central business zone – which is what all of downtown Sycamore is zoned as – allows a greater variety of retail or food establishments, Sycamore city manager Brian Gregory said.

The plan commission voted in favor of the rezoning. The City Council will vote on the request at its Monday meeting.

The commission also heard concept plans for two potential real estate developments to the northwest of the city boundaries. The proposed developments, Fowler Farm Estates and Country School Estates, are outside of the Sycamore city limits, but a preannexation agreement was signed in May 2016. As part of the process to annex the land to the city, developers needed to present their proposals to the plan commission.

The developments would feature lots 3 acres or larger, with privately held and maintained roads and private septic systems. David Weber, director of Wendler Engineering Services, told the commission that the plan called for conservation within the subdivisions. Native plants would be brought in to help manage water retention and runoff and undeveloped portions of the lots would be encouraged to be naturalized.

The two developments total 26 lots.

The plan commission gave its consensus that it approved of the concepts. For the land to be annexed, two other developments need to present their concepts to the board. Gregory said it was hard to tell when the annexations would happen, because it was dependent on the presentations and the pace of development.

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