Amboy business makes proposal to address county zoning violations

DIXON – The county is making progress with finding a resolution with an Amboy businessman who officials say expanded business operations for years without proper permitting or zoning.

In March, Lee County Zoning Administrator Dee Duffy presented information to the Lee County Zoning Board that Jerad Zellhofer, owner of Triple Z LLC and ZBest Enterprises at 1749 Winding Road, has more than 20,000 square feet of buildings on his property but only obtained legal permits for about half of that space.

Zellhofer started with a lawn and landscaping business that was allowed on agriculturally zoned land two decades ago, but expanded to providing steel roofing and construction for agricultural buildings about 10 years ago. He has said that he doesn’t deny operating a commercial industrial business on agriculturally zoned land, but he didn’t intentionally violate the rules.

The board’s main concern has been having a manufacturing operation on land without an industrial zone or special-use permit to do so.

The board gave Zellhofer a several months to form a reasonable plan to resolve the issue. Without one, the county could issue a cease and desist order and could require Zellhofer to take down his buildings.

Earlier this month, Zellhofer presented the board with a proposal that they pursue a special-use permit for planned unit development zoning that would allow for residential, commercial and/or industrial zoning on a property of at least 10 acres.

Basically, it would clean up existing zoning issues. Zellhofer also presented updates for development plans, engineering plans and studies.

He owns 4.66 acres and purchased an additional 5.5 acres to meet the 10-acre requirement, and he said that he reached out to the fire department, sheriff’s office, school district and neighbors in the community for support.

There still needs to be work with the site plan, well and septic work, and stormwater system plan, so the board gave Zellhofer another month to meet requirements. The board plans to resume discussions on Feb. 3.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.