Zoning could be a roadblock in Caledonia tornado rebuilding
By Jim Hagerty
Some Caledonia property owners affected by the Nov. 22 tornado may run into roadblocks as they rebuild after the storm.
According to city officials, downtown zoning restrictions could require property owners to apply for special permits before replacing damaged buildings.
In 2005, zoning on parts of Main Street was changed to residential. Some existing buildings were grandfathered in after the change, which means they could remain, but would face challenges if rebuilding was necessary.
Three Main Street buildings are now included in an important series of decisions village officials must make to determine how Caledonia will move forward after the November twister tore through their town.
McDonald Manufacturing Co., Mor-Agra Grain Handling, Inc., and the Caledonia Township offices were all damaged by the tornado. They are also three buildings grandfathered in after the 2005 rezoning, done primarily to encourage commercial and industrial development along Illinois Route 173.
Officials say they will hold the three businesses to zoning codes, requiring each to apply for special building permits or build a case for re-zoning their properties. As it stands, the buildings are zoned incorrectly, village officials said.
“They cannot rebuild without a special-use permit or requesting a zoning change,” Phil Long, village code enforcement officer, said.
As property owners apply for special building permits or re-zoning, they are not guaranteed the green light to rebuild. Applications and re-zoning requests must be approved by the village.
Officials have called for a special meeting to discuss re-zoning and special-use permits for the Main Street parcel.
“We need to decide how we want Caledonia to move forward with the current residential zoning and the special use permits,” Caledonia Village President Rod Fritz said.
The Caledonia Village Board meets every third Tuesday. Committees meet every first Tuesday at the North Boone Fire District No. 3 building.
The Nov. 22 tornado tore through Caledonia at approximately 3 p.m., destroying several buildings and overturning a school bus. No major injuries were reported, however, more than 40,000 ComEd customers were left without electricity into Tuesday, Nov. 23. Caledonia also was closed to everyone but residents while crews worked to assess the damage.
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