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Plan Commission OKs Arby’s permit: Construction could start in the spring

November 17, 2018

DIXON – Arby’s is one step closer to coming to Dixon.

The city’s Plan Commission unanimously approved a special use permit for Heartland Beef Inc. to build an Arby’s with a drive-thru at 1640 S. Galena Ave. near Walmart, a recommendation that will go to the City Council on Monday for final approval.

Mike Todd, Heartland’s senior vice president of development and construction, told the commission Thursday that they’ve been looking to bring an Arby’s to Dixon for years, and construction could start as early as the spring.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said the development will be a perfect use for the property and help attract traffic from Interstate 88.

“It’s perfectly placed to help put Dixon as an I-88 rest stop, and it’s an excellent use of an unused lot,” he said.

Heartland is an Arby’s franchisee group based in Bloomington, Indiana, and has 36 restaurants in five states including those in Rock Falls and Clinton, Iowa, which opened about the same time 11 years ago.

The company signed a purchase agreement in July and went through a 75-day due diligence period. According to property records, Heartland Investment LLC recently bought the property from Chicago-based Meer Development LLC for $264,000.

Solar ordinance

The Plan Commission will next meet Dec. 27 to make recommendations on an ordinance regulating solar farm development in the city.

The draft ordinance will also go to the council Monday and will be referred to the commission.

The county has seen around 20 proposals from companies wanting to potentially build solar farms and requires them to go through zoning regulations for a special use permit, and as the city is starting to see more proposals crop up around city limits, the council wanted to have a similar process in place.

Commission member Louise Corken was concerned about the Plan Commission’s overall role in the city and said it seems like the council makes up its mind before having a recommendation from the group.

Arellano said the commission acts as the “city’s research arm” to weigh in on city planning, and the council won’t vote on the solar ordinance until it’s vetted by the commission.

He also said the commission will likely play a big role in helping to update the city’s comprehensive plan, which hasn’t been updated in decades. The plan take a long-term look at where future residential and business development would be best placed in the city.

The commission also welcomed two new members, Greg Gates and Seth Wiggins, to the group.

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