DeKALB – The first look at an unknown logistics warehouse development dubbed ‘Project Barb’ received positive approval from a DeKalb city commission Monday, though city officials remain tight-lipped on project details.
The City of DeKalb’s Planning and Zoning Commission met Monday to take a first look at a petition by made by TC Pursuit Services Inc. and DeKalb 343, LLC regarding an approximately 700,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center, nicknamed ‘Project Barb.’ The warehouse and distribution center are planned to be located on approximately 58 acres in the Chicago West Business Center, located east of State Route 23, north of Gurler Road, west of Crego Road, and south of I-88, adjacent to Ferrara Candy Company.
Commissioners voted unanimously, 7-0, to recommend the DeKalb City Council approve the zoning amendments.
During the meeting, DeKalb City Engineer Zac Gill stressed that the majority of traffic to and from Project Barb will be along Peace Road and not travel along Route 23/South Fourth Street.
Kathy Kivisto and Ingrid Inboden, both of South Fourth Street, attended the meeting to speak out about traffic concerns in the area. Neither spoke against the project, but expressed concern related to traffic, which has seen an uptick in the area as neighboring developments Ferrara Candy Company and Facebook make their homes on the south side. Inboden described the traffic along South Fourth Street as “a racetrack.”
“It’s sometimes scary getting out of your driveway,” Inboden said. “I would hope to see those speed limits change. I invite state or city police to come out and use my driveway at night. Where I’m at, it’s 50 [mph]. … I really think there’s some studies that need to be done regarding the speed limit.”
Gill responded that turning lanes and traffic lights are in the works for the Gurler Road and Route 23 intersection, with work starting “not soon enough,” but beginning later this year. He also agreed that having a speed study completed would be “a good idea,” one that he will look into and plan to have completed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas said that proposed amendments on the development site are needed because the 2006 ordinances “were speculations about where the buildings might be and the size of the buildings, and those speculations are different from what is proposed.”
“The project is in the area that is north of Gurler Road, south of the tollway, that has seen much development interest over the past year and a half,” Nicklas said. “The project is a very positive addition to that area. It means more jobs created, a variety of jobs and a variety of pay ranges. It also means … new residents and guests to our community and potentially new housing and commercial developments.”
According to the meeting’s agenda, the submitted site plan for Project Barb indicates three access points along Gurler Road, with two for employees and visitors and one for semi-truck exiting with a guard house. Trucks entering the site will use Crego Road and will enter the site at the far northeast portion of the site to a guard house. A security chain link fence with barbed wire will surround the site.
There will be approximately 535 parking spaces for employees and visitors, about 490 trailer parking spaces, and 121 loading dock spaces. If approved and once construction is completed, Project Barb will have an estimated 1,000 new employees across three shifts.
Paul Borek, executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation, read a letter during the meeting in support of the project.
DeKalb Principal Planner Dan Olson also said he is supportive of Project Barb.
“It’s very positive, it will be a big boost to the city’s economy and the area along I-88,” he said. “It’s positive news and a good use for the property. Hopefully it will lead to other projects and developments in that area in the future.”
Nicklas confirmed the DeKalb City Council will next discuss the Project Barb during their upcoming meeting, held Monday, July 26.