DeKALB – A DeKalb panel recently gave their preliminary approval to change DeKalb city code, which could pave the way for the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District to govern its own developments more autonomously outside of city structure, similar to Northern Illinois University.
Action taken in a 6-0 vote by the DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission, if upheld by the DeKalb City Council, helps lay the groundwork for citing a list of new permitted uses and conditions of use for the district. Commissioner Bill McMahon was absent.
City Planner Dan Olson urged the panel to support the district’s request.
“Right now, the properties they have, there’s going to be four that are going to be requested for rezoning – that will come later,” Olson said. “This is just a text amendment to the [unified development ordinance] to put that district in place.”
The city is looking to establish a single, new government sanitary district for the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District.
“Like NIU, there’ll be no permits through the city then [for KWRD], no zoning standards in terms of setbacks or sign regulations. It’ll be under the control of the district in terms of their construction.”— Dan Olson, DeKalb city planner
The City Council approved a resolution agreement in October 2022 with the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District regarding its wastewater facilities and other improvements.
In the contract, both sides agreed that all current and future properties owned by the district would be treated as a public institution and zoned with its own zoning, similar to NIU.
Among other things, the pact stipulates that both the city and the water reclamation district will be recognized as coequal units of local government.
The Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District runs and operates properties in and around DeKalb, including the main plant along Sycamore Road, the farmland and sludge storage facility south of Interstate 88, the lift station at the Buena Vista Golf Course and the “South Slope” property north of I-88 and adjacent to South Annie Glidden Road.
The district’s current properties are zoned for heavy industrial, planned development residential and single-family residential use, according to city documents.
Olson said that by adding government sanitary district to city code, the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District can begin exercising authority, much like NIU.
“Like NIU, there’ll be no permits through the city, then no zoning standards in terms of setbacks or sign regulations,” Olson said. “It’ll be under the control of the district in terms of their construction.”
The district would be expected to address community neighborhood matters of concern as they arise in its projects and improvements, officials said. All property owners within 250 feet of the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District’s properties will be notified before consideration of the rezoning request, officials said.
“After the text amendments, the four properties will come back,” Olson said. “They’ll submit a petition to rezone those. It’s not part of this action right now.”
This story was edited at 6:30 p.m. May 23, 2023 to correct a headline and copy in the story which incorrectly stated the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District was not already its own government entity.