DeKALB – Final plans for a rehabilitated Northern Illinois University fraternity house on Blackhawk Road were approved without opposition Wednesday by the DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission.
A petition filed on behalf of the fraternity by Stefan Wereminski amends a planned development ordinance to eliminate requirements for the commercial kitchen and amends final plans regarding the parking lot, handicap accessibility and landscaping at the new Sigma Nu house at 1114 Blackhawk Road.
The amendments were recommended to the DeKalb City Council by a
4-0 vote. Chairwoman Christina Atherton and commissioners Deborah Nier and Matthew Crull were not in attendance.
Wereminski said that with all of the bad things happening within the neighborhood, he hopes the project will be the start of some good things in the area.
“I hope it’s a beacon of revival for that neighborhood,” Wereminski said.
The property was acquired for $315,000, and about $550,000 was spent to fully rehabilitate the building, Wereminski said.
The Sigma NU Fraternity was issued a temporary certificate of occupancy in November to occupy
the building, which expired Feb. 28.
Conditions were included with the temporary certificate of occupancy including requiring the owner to add an accessible lift, replacing all doors and submitting a zoning application to eliminate the commercial kitchen requirement.
The building now has a new sprinkler and fire suppression system, eight security cameras with night vision and the necessary handicap accessibility to make it the only Greek house that is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“It’s a massive investment, but it’s a labor of love,” said Kevin Kedzior, an active Sigma Nu alumnus. “We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t believe in the organization.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission also approved an ordinance amendment to add permitted and special uses to the properties located at
850, 890 and 930 Pappas Drive.
DeKalb principal planner Dan Olson said the petition was designed to clean up the ordinance, which is more than 20 years old.
“We decided to be the petitioner, since the ordinance wasn’t quite clear and there wasn’t really a use listed for these properties,” Olson said.
The proposal also was recommended to the council by a 4-0 vote.