DeKalb, Ill., planners and residents are considering amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance that would create uses and definitions for indoor and outdoor self-storage projects. The plan was proposed by real estate developer Jim Mason, who wants to convert two empty commercial buildings he owns to self-storage. The changes would add indoor-storage facilities as a special use in light-commercial and general-commercial districts, which would enable Mason to pursue his projects.
Mason owns a vacant furniture store at 1500 Sycamore Road with a footprint of 10,000 square feet. His second property, a former grocery store at 1401 S. Fourth St., has a 21,500-square-foot footprint.
Christina Athena, chair of the planning and zoning commission, commended Mason for his creativity during a public hearing last week. Members of the public who spoke during the hearing also supported the amendment proposal. “Hopefully, this will stimulate other ideas on how we can continue to create more opportunities for people and businesses,” said William Heinisch, a member of the DeKalb Area Rental Association.
Mason told commissioners that an exodus of 115,000 people per year in Illinois has created demand for self-storage in the area. The commission will continue the public-hearing process for the amendment on Feb. 7.