Planning & Zoning: Hickory Grove items continued to June meeting

At Monday’s meeting, the City of Rochelle Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously to continue two Hickory Grove-related agenda items to its June 6 meeting.

Request for proposal for developers in the works

ROCHELLE — At Monday’s meeting, the City of Rochelle Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously to continue two Hickory Grove-related agenda items to its June 6 meeting. 

The first agenda item was a petition by the city to subdivide the property located at 1123 N. 7th St. to re-subdivide two lots and parts of others. One lot will be transferred to Rochelle Hospitality, LLC, the owner of the Comfort Inn & Suites next door to the Hickory Grove site. 

The second item was Rochelle Hospitality, LLC petitioning to subdivide property located at 1133 N. 7th St. The purpose is to re-subdivide a portion of two lots into one. The newly-subdivided lot will be an exchange of land as per an approved development agreement with the city. The

land exchange allows the hotel to build an exterior pool, in conformance with city codes, which is required by the franchise.

Both items will be up for public hearing and approval in June. If approved, the items would go before the city council for final approval. City Community Development Director Michelle Pease said the items had to be continued due to work still being ongoing on the preliminary and final plat of subdivision. 

“They need to make sure they have everything spelled out in those plats before we can actually get it in front of the board,” Pease said. 

City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh has said in the past that the subdivision and replatting and coming to an agreement on a land swap must be done so the hotel can put in a pool and several parking spaces in the Hickory Grove lot that are owned by the hotel would be given to the city. 

The Hickory Grove building was demolished earlier this year by the city as it works to get the site sold and developed this year. Pease said the city is still in the process of working on a request for proposal to send out to prospective developers that are interested in the site.

"I'm just excited to see how it will develop,” Pease said. “It's a blank canvas. It's pretty exciting. "The preliminary and final plat need to be taken care of so that they call out everything associated with that. The RFP could be distributed before that, but before it's sold it will have to have the correct footprint and parcel. All those things will need to be spelled out."

Fiegenschuh said earlier this year that he has had conversations with developers that are interested in the site. Responders will likely have three weeks to a month to get a proposal to the city. Fiegenschuh guessed that development firms will be interviewed and top choices or all proposals will be brought to the council, which will decide who it wants to partner with. 

The $361,900 demolition project of the facility at 1127 N. 7th St. began in January. Half of the total cost of the project will be funded by a Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Rebuild Illinois grant reimbursement up to $365,750. 

The city assumed ownership of the deteriorating building in early 2020 for $1 with the intention of demolishing it and developing the property. The building was previously owned by the Ogle County Civic Center Authority (OCCCA) board, which was under the Ogle County Board umbrella. The city decided to purchase the site so it could control it and likely would’ve had to deal with it later if it was abandoned due to OCCCA being in financial trouble.