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Sycamore City Council OKs townhomes plan for St. Albans Greens

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve a special use permit to build a 2.48-acre townhome development at the site of the now-demolished St. Albans Greens apartment building that was ravaged by fire in July.

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said property owner James Mason, of Mason Properties, began talking with city staff shortly after the fire on ways to rebuild on the site.

“He brought a preliminary concept to the planning commission in September,” Gregory said.

In the approved plan, Mason will build 27 three-bedroom units and a single one-bedroom Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible unit. The plan brings the total number of bedrooms proposed to 82, matching the number of bedrooms in Apartment Building A that burned in the July fire.

Mason also made safety enhancements to the still-standing Building B that include draft stopping, which slows down the spread of a fire. Mason will also upgrade the fire alarm system. The current manual system for Building B is operable, but it’s older technology than the system that was in Building A when the July fire started.

Third Ward Alderman Steve Braser gave his thoughts on how the process has gone.

“I’m really impressed and very happy with you guys that you were able get this turned around in under five months after a fire devastated it like that,” he said.

After the vote, Sycamore Mayor Curt Lang commented on how well Mason and the Planning and Zoning Commission worked together.

“Mr. Mason was very accommodating to suggestions,” he said. “I’m very happy to see that kind of cooperation.”

Tax levy passes

Lang was happy about the City Council’s vote to approve the 2019 corporate tax levy, which won’t affect taxpayers much.

“Congratulations to us,” Lang said. “We’re not paying more in taxes.”

The City Council passed the levy unanimously.

The total approved corporate levy is $4,269,635, including a city levy of $3,111,974 and a Sycamore Public Library levy of $1,157,661. The effect on the average homeowners’ property tax bill will be small: The owner of a $200,000 home should see the city portion of his property tax bill increase by 1 cent, according to city documents.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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