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Old school might become factory

Zoning change upsets residents

Published: Saturday, April 20, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

GALT – An old school could become the site of light manufacturing, a prospect that has neighbors upset.

In December, the financially troubled Sauk Valley Christian Academy – formerly known as Sterling Christian School – closed its doors. Its board is preparing to sell the building to Melissa and Keith Ellefsen of Rock Falls, according to Whiteside County zoning documents.

On Thursday, the county's Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously supported a request to change the zoning for the property at 5505 Anne St. in Galt from residential to industrial.

The building had been listed for $95,000, down from $250,000 when it was first on the market in November.

At the zoning meeting, Patrick Parker, a longtime Galt resident, presented a petition that contained 73 signatures. He said those signatures represented every household in the small unincorporated village just west of Sterling.

In an interview Friday, Parker said residents believe a factory would disrupt their quiet neighborhood.

"We don't want the factory, the noise, the traffic or anything that goes along with it," he said. "The children ride down the streets on their bikes. They play in the little park next to the school. Most families have been here for generations. My family has lived here for more than 5 years."

The proposed zoning change now goes to the County Board, which is expected to vote on the issue May 21.

The county informed adjoining landowners about the proposed zoning change by certified letter about March 20, according to the zoning office.

A message left for Keith Ellefsen, the president of the IFH Group in Rock Falls, wasn't returned. Nor was a message left for a Sauk Valley Christian Academy official.

To attend

The Whiteside County Board meets at 6:30 p.m. May 21 in its chambers at the Whiteside County Courthouse, 400 N. Cherry St. in Morrison.

The board is expected to consider changing the zoning for the old Sterling Christian School from residential to industrial.

For an agenda for this meeting, minutes from past meetings or more information, go to or call 815-772-5100.

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