SYCAMORE – A hearing officer plans to recommend a plan to rezone a rural Sycamore property once at the center of a propane storage debate, so it can become a self-storage facility. At the public hearing Thursday, support was lukewarm at best, and there was plenty of opposition.
Daniel Carmichael of Rochelle, owner of the 2.77-acre property at 25330 Five Points Road in Mayfield Township, plans to open a facility that ultimately will have 104 storage units. There is no plan for an office, and he submitted a proposal that includes 24-hour access and 24-hour video surveillance, but no fence to the property. To do so, the property would need to be rezoned from agricultural to commercial use.
“There is a need for storage in this area,” Carmichael said at the hearing. “Call up any area business and ask if they have any spaces available.”
He said a lot of them would not have any.
Many neighbors in the area were against it, however. A lawyer for the Hristov family that owns the property adjacent to the proposed storage site said his clients intend to begin an organic farm with a potential for a farm stand on their property. Because of the testing required to be a certified organic farm, Jack Kozar said the Hristov family was concerned the nearby traffic and property could impede that.
“This is a family farm,” he said. “A family farm is good for this community. ... [The storage facility] will not add value to the community.”
Kozar also took issue with the planned electric charging stations, saying they are “analogous to a gas station, without the underground tanks.”
Another neighbor, J.W. Sandy, said that he was not opposed to the facility, but he was concerned there might be other motives, stemming from the previous controversy over the property.
“Mr. Dibble tried to come through the front door,” he said. “I’m concerned he’s making a case through the back door.”
The Dibble Family LLC was embroiled in a debacle with DeKalb County last year when it tried to build a propane distribution facility on the site, but was thwarted when the County Board voted against the plan. The company sued the county and settled for $70,000.
Carmichael assured people in attendance there is no ulterior motive for the storage facility.
“That is certainly not the case,” Carmichael said,
Hearing officer Ron Klein said he intends to recommend approval for the project – with the conditions a fence be built at least along the property border with the Hristov property, and that limited hours for the site be posted. After a hearing from the county Planning and Zoning Committee, the full County Board needs to approve the rezoning.