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Normal Planning Commission sends Shelbourne development project to town council

The zoning plan heads to the Normal Town Council for approval on Nov. 21.
Jack Podlesnik
The zoning plan heads to the Normal Town Council for approval on Nov. 21.

The Normal Planning Commission approved the rezoning of land in north Normal for residential living spaces during a meeting on Thursday.

The 23-acre site, bought by developer 300 Spot LLC, was formerly owned by Illinois State University to house married students, graduate students and international students.

Developers DJ Powell and Mike Mapes closed on the property in August and previously told WGLT they envisioned creating duplexes and assisted living units for seniors on the undeveloped land along Shelbourne Drive and Linden Street in Normal. Powell, of Peoria, and Mapes, of Bloomington-Normal, purchased the property for around $1 million after ISU solicited requests-for-proposals for redevelopment.

While the commission approved the rezoning, it didn’t go through without some concerns. Public commenters expressed worry about the number of parking spaces available. Neil Finlen, an engineer involved with the project, said there are two options regarding parking. They will either build an additional lot to accommodate all units, or leave units empty and dedicate a green space to where the parking lot would go.

A final decision has not been made.

Cost also came up. There’s yet to be a solid answer regarding how expensive the units will be.

Another concern was about the number of children coming into the area with the new single-family units being constructed. A public commenter wondered if a new school would need to be built to compensate for more children living in the area.

"It's the density and crowding, and if this development is going to create the need for another new school," resident John Natale told the commission.

There are currently no plans for a new school in the area.

The development now heads to the Normal Town Council on Nov. 21 for consideration.

Editor's note: Normal Planning Commission chair R.C. McBride is WGLT's general manager. McBride did not attend the meeting due to an illness.

Jack Podlesnik is a reporter and announcer at WGLT. He joined the station in 2021.
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