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Sycamore zoning commission to consider townhome permit request at demolished St. Albans Greens site

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a special use permit for a future apartment building at the site of the now demolished St. Albans Greens apartments.

Jim Mason of Mason Properties, owner of the land at 711 S. Main St. in Sycamore, has been working with the city to replace the apartment units that a fire destroyed July 27. The apartment complex’s Building A burned but Building B did not.

There will be a public hearing to discuss the special use permit during the meeting, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Sycamore City Center, 308 W. State St.

The agenda states a favorable recommendation to the City Council is requested.

The new proposal, arrived at after what City Manager Brian Gregory said has been a “give and take” process, would allow for 27 three-bedroom units and a single one-bedroom unit that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the commission’s agenda.

The unit configuration would bring the total number of bedrooms to 82, which matches the number of bedrooms that were lost in the fire.

Mason will also upgrade the fire alarm system in Building B, according to the agenda. The current manual system – requiring someone to pull the fire alarm – is operable.

Building B’s manual system is older technology than what was in Building A, according to the agenda. The new system likely played a role in allowing the 120 residents to leave the building unscathed, the agenda states. The building would also have what’s called “draft stopping,” which slows the spread of fire and smoke.

In addition to the discussions on the living quarters, the commission and Mason talked about the lot coverage area, too. Lot coverage means the percentage of a zoning lot occupied by buildings, which includes accessory buildings and structures, driveways, sidewalks, decks and patios, according to Sycamore’s website.

Mason originally brought a concept plan to the commission in September and asked to build 33 units, each with three bedrooms and a two-car garage on the about 2.2-acre site, the agenda said. That plan would have made for less density – 33 units instead of 40 units – than the apartment building that was burned for days in July.

The changes throughout the process, Gregory said, bring the proposed building to the city’s current building codes, which are much stricter than when the St. Albans Greens complex first opened in June 1968.

Gregory said he thinks there will be a vote to bring the proposal to the next City Council meeting Dec. 16.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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