ROCHELLE — With the new community recreation center construction slated to begin soon, the Rochelle City Council tied up some loose ends on Monday night related to a zoning change and setback ordinance at the Helms South location just west of Walgreens.
The council was asked to rezone the 6.48 acres of property from Residential to Commercial Highway, which allows for a recreation center.
In addition, Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District officials also requested a variance of setback from the required 50 feet down to 20 feet. The variance of 30 feet on the frontage side facing Ninth Street to the west will allow the building to be designated as an “unlimited building area” and include the large open fieldhouse area.
Council members were comfortable allowing the setback variance to the west given that only about five homes located in the Tilton Park Subdivision sit directly across the street from the property and the back yards of the homes are what will face the recreation center.
“We also are building the center so the lower portion of the facility will be to the west and the taller fieldhouse will be on the east side,” explained park board president Tim Hayden. “The residents shouldn’t notice that big of impact looking at the center from their back yards.”
Council members also questioned Hayden and park director Jackee Ohlinger about the size of the retention pond that services Walgreens and whether it will satisfy the city’s water retention requirements.
Hayden said the pond will be expanded and the retention system will be adequate, explaining that since the parking lots are already on the property, the district received credit for a lot of the retention already in place.
“We have looked at the plan and I can say that anything done there will benefit the area,” assured city engineer Sam Tesreau.
Following some further discussion about parking capacity, the council members voted 5-0 to rezone the property and allow the setback variance.