DeKalb city approves plan allowing Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District to operate developments on its own

New zoning regulations will allow district, city to save taxpayer money by consolidating development costs, KWRD president says

Aerial drone image of Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District, DeKalb Sanitary District water treatment facility plant at 303 Hollister Ave, DeKalb, IL on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

DeKALB – The Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District is one step closer to enacting a plan that allows the governing body to have more control over developments and zoning outside of DeKalb city proceedings, which officials said will help save taxpayers money.

Officials said this week the plan will help the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District claim its independence as a co-equal unit of government from the city.

The DeKalb City Council on Monday approved amendments to city code that will help lay the groundwork for citing a list of new permitted uses and conditions of use for the district, which already operates as its own taxing body.

Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District vice president Dennis Collins heaped praise on the City Council for supporting the district’s request.

“This is a win-win for our community, two taxing bodies,” Collins said. “What’s happened in the past is there’s been duplications of engineering and costs to our citizens all coming out of the same pockets. Some came to us, some came to the city. So, in this case, it’s going to streamline that. It’s an absolute win-win. … Now, we’re going to be able to save everybody some money when it comes to building or when it comes to engineering for our district.”

City Manager Bill Nicklas said the amendments to city code are meant to distinguish one sanitary district from the next should another enter the picture.

The City Council approved a resolution agreement in October 2022 with the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District regarding their wastewater facilities and other improvements.

In the agreement, both sides agreed that all current and future properties owned by the district would be treated as a public institution and zoned with their own zoning, much like Northern Illinois University.

Among other things, the contract stipulates that both the city and the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District will be recognized as co-equal units of local government.

The district’s current properties are zoned for heavy industrial, planned development residential and single-family residential use, according to city documents.

The actions taken to solidify the district’s standing as a co-equal unit of government from the city will require further council action, officials said.

All property owners within 250 of the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District’s properties will be notified prior to the consideration of the anticipated rezoning requests, officials said.

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 the tollway, the lift station at the Buena Vista Golf Course, and the “South Slope” property located north of the tollway and adjacent to South Annie Glidden Road.

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