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Local

Mason's sports facility gets commission's approval despite concerns of neighbors

Neighboring landlords concerned about noise, drunk people on their rental property

Jerilynn Spann (left), expresses her concerns directly to Jim Mason in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday. Spann worried about disorderly conduct and traffic coming through a rental property she and her brother, Gregory Clark, own behind Mason's indoor sports facility.
Jerilynn Spann (left), expresses her concerns directly to Jim Mason in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday. Spann worried about disorderly conduct and traffic coming through a rental property she and her brother, Gregory Clark, own behind Mason's indoor sports facility.

DeKALB – Jim Mason’s indoor sports simulator project won approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday, but not without some concerns voiced by neighbors who worried about drunken people walking and vomiting on their rental property.

Mason, the DeKalb-based developer of Mason Properties, was up for a special-use permit for his Mason Indoor Golf USA DeKalb facility at 1500, 1502 and 1504 Sycamore Road, formerly a Finest Furniture store, a cash exchange store and professional suites. A public hearing took place for the permit, which gained commission approval on a 5-1 vote. Commissioner Ron Klein was the only “no” vote, and Commissioner Katharina Barbe was not in attendance.

Neighbors Gregory Clark and his sister, Jerilynn Spann, own and rent out a duplex at 1407 and 1407 ½ N. 14th St., which Spann said they’ve owned since October. The duplex is behind Mason’s facility, and has a shared alleyway by the DeKalb office of the Illinois Secretary of State, which can provide access for people wanting to go the Mason’s facility from the back end.

“Anyone that can’t find a place to park has been parking in our [rental property] yard,” Spann said. “What is going to abate people from this sports facility drunk, vomiting, strolling, to come across our property? Other than putting up a fence, which we intend to do.”

Clark and Spann said they were in support of the project but were concerned for their tenants.

“I do see where it could be a problem, especially when you are talking about young people,” Spann continued. “They will hang out in the parking lots, roam up and down that alley, and walk across properties that are back there. So that is a concern to us.”

The 11,890-square-foot indoor sports facility will serve alcohol and have five video gambling terminals. The business will also have sports simulators and pizza and other food delivered in from other businesses and sold through a warming kitchen, Mason said. The facility will allow patrons of all ages, through an ordinance similar to mixed-age use for bowling alleys.

Mason said he believes most patrons entering the business will come through Sycamore Road.

“They may come by the Jewel-Osco, but they won’t go by you,” Mason said, directing his response to Clark and Spann. “I’ll never be able to handle more than 50 to 60 people. As far as drinking and carrying on, anybody that gets out of hand, I will have them arrested.”

Commissioner and Vice Chairman David Castro suggested the two parties could cost-share putting a fence up on the siblings’ rental property.

“I see this as an opportunity to sit down at the table and think about what can be done to minimize a future problem,” Castro said.

Mason also said liquor sales likely would not occur at 6 a.m., as the ordinance states. Mason said most people don’t drink that early. Dan Olson, principal planner and city liaison to the commission, agreed, and said Illinois liquor laws just allow for those times.

The special-use permit will next go in front of the city council for approval Monday.

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