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Signs Of Activity In Fairdale As Residents Await OK To Rebuild Homes

Carl Nelson

DeKalb County officials say some minor rebuilding has begun in the northern Illinois community of Fairdale in the wake of the April 9 tornado.

Paul Miller is DeKalb County’s Planning and Zoning Director.  He says the county has received applications from Fairdale residents for permits to repair roofs or siding and to replace outbuildings, like sheds.  But, Miller says, the county has not yet received any applications from Fairdale to rebuild homes that were destroyed by the tornado.  Miller says they can't because of the community's zoning.

“Most people who want to replace houses that have been demolished need to get some relaxation of the otherwise applicable standards the otherwise applicable setbacks for buildings, because their lots are very small and they can’t meet today’s requirements. If they wanted they could replace their house exactly as it was, but most people want to do something slightly different, maybe a little bit wider, and the grandfathered status of their old house doesn’t allow that.”

The DeKalb County Board is moving to rezone Fairdale to a mixed-use development.  That would allow the county to adjust regulations for residents who do want to rebuild while maintaining health and safety standards.  Miller says he anticipates a vote to do that will happen July 1.  Residents would be able to submit applications for building permits immediately thereafter.

Miller says the county has received a permit application to replace a house destroyed by the tornado, but as it was on a farm property outside of Fairdale, it didn’t need any special treatment. 

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