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DeKalb vehicle tow company could move ahead with plans to expand amid some opposition

The DeKalb City Council will weigh in at a later date

DeKalb — Despite some opposition, J&S Recovering and Towing could soon be in line to expand its operations on Industrial Drive to a nearby lot, though final approval by the DeKalb City Council is needed.

J&S Recovery and Towing gave a pitch to the DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday as the company solicits permission from the city to use a 1.4-acre parking area immediately behind the Pinkston-Tadd Roofing Services building, 407 Industrial Drive, as an impound yard for overflow parking, for the company’s existing facility, 110 Industrial Drive.

The commission voted 4-0 to push forward a recommendation to the DeKalb City Council for a special use permit. The next scheduled council meeting is expected Monday.

Tom Guthrie, regional manager for J&S Recovery and Towing, said he hopes to use the expanded space for storage since his existing site doesn’t have space to house all the vehicles they have.

“We’ve experienced an extreme amount of growth,” Guthrie said. “We’ve been very busy. Currently, we have five staff vehicles assigned to our facility. We also have upwards of 30 vehicles that we can call in if needed, which we sometimes have to do.”

J&S Recovery & Towing plans to mitigate potential concerns to neighboring properties with the use of fencing and screening.

One resident who lives adjacent to the towing company spoke in support of the proposal.

Jack Goodrich, of DeKalb, said he originally took issue with the project because he didn’t understand what the petitioner planned to do about the privacy fencing but after learning more, he has no objection.

Some commissioners said they would back the petitioner’s request knowing that Goodrich’s concerns had been resolved.

Not everyone, however, supported the petitioner’s requests.

Dan Olson, principal planner for the city, said the city received an email from Brett Jackson of TriState Towing in opposition to the proposal, citing the city of DeKalb’s code related to towing compliance.

“They’re noting … they’re not complying with Chapter 35,” Olson said. “And some other comments regarding their operations and not agreeing with the variance.”

Olson addresses Jackson’s concerns, however, and said J&S Recovery and Towing would not be permitted to bend city rules.

“Those standards, they have to be met,” Olson said. “There’s no exceptions to Chapter 35. They have to meet those. That licensing will occur after the special use permit, if approved.”

City staff is recommending that the DeKalb City Council give approval for the proposal, but with stipulations. Those conditions would prohibit vehicle stacking and parts higher than 8 feet, prevent any vehicles from being stored outside of the fenced area, ban vehicle crushing at the facility. The city would also stipulate that abandoned and salvaged vehicles are restricted from being kept on the property for more than 90 days, except when protected by the law.

The city council will have the final say on the towing request.