Sycamore city officials field concerns about proposed towing facility in town

SYCAMORE – Sycamore residents showed up again this week to voice concerns about a potential towing service coming to town, though the business hasn’t yet won full approval to operate.

The Sycamore City Council on Monday gave their initial support of a proposal to bring Lovett’s Rite-Way Rebuilders Inc. to 531 E. Sycamore St. However, final approval won’t occur until as early as July. Lovett’s Towing & Recovery also has a location at 1837 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. The Sycamore facility would operate as a towing service with on-site vehicle impoundment, according to the development proposal.

While Ward 2 Alderwoman Virginia Sherrod and Ward 4 Alderman Pete Paulsen supported approving the proposal this week, five other councilors voted to hold final decisions until next month, including Ward 3 Alderman Jeff Fischer, Ward 4 Alderman David Stouffer, Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Stowe, Ward 1 Alderman Alan Bauer and Ward 3 Alderwoman Nancy Copple.

Ward 1 Alderman Josh Huseman was absent.

Marc Doty, a retired Sycamore firefighter, said he’s a current driver for Lovett’s and has been employed there for more than 12 years.

“Many improvements are planned for the property,” said Doty, who spoke in support of the proposal.

The E. Sycamore St property was formerly a towing company. Under the Sycamore city code, a towing service needs a special permit in order to operate.

“This special use request is not changing how the particular property has been used in the past,” Doty said. “And therefore I ask the city council to support this.”

Echoing a Sycamore Planning and Zoning Commission meeting a week prior, several Sycamore residents spoke to the Sycamore City Council this week against Lovett’s setting up shop in town.

Some concerns raised included whether the facility would increase traffic in the area, fears over safety of neighbors and nearby children during the facility’s operation, whether the land would flood, speeding on the roadway, noise and potential damage to adjacent streets.

Adam Benn, one of the owners of Accurate Towing & Recovery, said he was a previous tenant of the East State Street location purchased by Shannon Lovett in March 2022. Benn said he contemplated purchasing the property for years.

“After we had the flood and putting all the factors in, my business associate and I decided this is not a good idea to continue negotiations with the owner to purchase the property,” said Benn.

Benn asked the council for more time to consider whether the location was the best for the proposed facility.

“Let the public speak,” Benn said.

While the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission supported approval of the proposal, Sycamore City Manager Michael Hall said approval would include several stipulations.

“One was Lovett Towing will not store large vehicles and trucks at this site because of existing street paving conditions,” Hall said. “And then two – they will address the flood plane requirements by creating a storm water detention.”

Hall confirmed that city officials provided notice to neighboring property owners around the proposed area ahead of city meetings this month.

According to city documents, Shannon Lovett must provide final storage development plans to the city no later than Aug. 1, and excavation of the site subject to city inspection no later than Oct. 1 in order to operate if approved.