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Local

DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission to hear Shodeen request

Ben Spence, owner of Kacoa Landscaping in Kingston, cuts down the stump of a blue spruce tree Oct. 30, 2014, on the Shodeen property at 196 W. Lincoln Highway. Kacoa Landscaping was contracted to remove 121 trees from the Shodeen property in DeKalb.
Ben Spence, owner of Kacoa Landscaping in Kingston, cuts down the stump of a blue spruce tree Oct. 30, 2014, on the Shodeen property at 196 W. Lincoln Highway. Kacoa Landscaping was contracted to remove 121 trees from the Shodeen property in DeKalb.

DeKALB – The DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission will hear today a developer’s apartment complex and hotel proposal for a site west of DeKalb’s downtown area.

The DeKalb City Council on Monday unanimously approved Shodeen’s request to begin demolishing 13 vacant homes on the property along Lincoln Highway, Pearl and Anne streets in DeKalb.

The developer plans to begin demolitions next week and to clear one lot a day, officials said. Pearl will remain accessible and the goal is to keep sidewalks clear and restore each work site to a safe condition by the end of each day, rather than fence them off. 

Council approval Monday cleared the way for the Planning and Zoning meeting, where commissioners will hear the same developer’s ultimate proposal for its 4.5 acres of property,

Dave Baker, 6th Ward Alderman, said he was glad to see discussion coming forward on the properties. 

“This particular part of DeKalb has been a hot topic at every election,” he said. “I really like the sound of [tax increment financing] not being on the table right now.”

While no plans for city contributions have come forward yet, ShoDeen President Dave Patezelt indicated to the Daily Chronicle last week that he plans to ask for potential financial incentives if the project moves forward.

Geneva-based Shodeen has proposed similar projects before, but previous plans have never advanced beyond early stages, in part because of the housing market’s decline.

In 2008, the developer proposed a mixed-used development concept that would have brought 90,000 square feet of retail space and 300,000 square feet of residential space to seven acres of property it owned. The only part of that plan that materialized was a new NB&T bank building.

Past cost estimates have reached multiple 10s of millions of dollars. The NB&T Square concept cost ranged from $50 to $120 million. In 2011, the city commissioned a $12,000 study on the feasibility of a hotel and conference center that would have cost up to $36 million.

The study was updated in May and showed a major funding gap even if the city put forward almost $9 million in incentives. 

The property is located in the city’s central area TIF district, but funding agreements haven’t been raised yet. 

Mayor John Rey said he was glad to see alternatives proposed for the property.

“It’s a sign of the times that we’re in,” he said. “We’re not going to bounce back to a normal economic environment. ... But it’s a new normal that we are moving to. I see Shodeen willing to bring some options, some alternatives to the table.”

Baker added that the area will look better once it is cleared.

“The property is going to be cleaned up,” he said. “People will see it when they drive by and it will generate positive feelings toward the city of DeKalb.”  

The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the proposal at 6 p.m. tonight. Members will have to consider four key factors including land use, parking requirements, density and land-use policy. 

The developer would most likely need to enter into a planned-unit development agreement to move forward with the project. Shodeen proposes 464 parking spaces, although city code would typically require 686. 

Net density would work out to be about 37 units an acre, taking into account 187 apartment units over 4.5 acres of land. Only about 2.3 acres of the property would actually be dedicated to housing, however, which pushes density up to 81 units an acre. 

Local code limits new development to 12 units an acre, so the project would most likely need a planned-unit development agreement to move forward. The property is currently zoned General Commercial but there is no limit to density in a Central Business Zoning classification.

If you go
WHAT: DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission meeting
WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday. 
WHERE: DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St, DeKalb
INFORMATION: cityofdekalb.com

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