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Dogs get their day at Plan Commission meeting

Panel to recommend Animal Control build at Lee County Business Park

DIXON – Lee County Animal Control finally may have a place to call home.

The Dixon Plan Commission voted Thursday to allow the county agency to build a new office building/dog pound on two lots at the Lee County Business Park, on state Route 26 and Interstate 88.

The City Council and County Board must vote to make it official.

The Plan Commission twice rejected Animal Control's request, first to move into a vacant car sales lot at 928 E. River Road, and then at 1213 River Road.

Its office now is on the third floor of the Old Lee County Courthouse, 5 miles away from River Ridge Animal Hospital on Route 2 west of town, where its animals are impounded. The hospital charges the county to board the dogs.

Consolidating into one building will streamline services and save taxpayers money, office manager Teri Zinke said.

Lee County board member John Nicholson said Thursday that bids will be taken to determine the cost of the project once both entities OK the commission's recommendation.

Also Thursday, attorney Gary Gehlbach, who represented PADS homeless shelter, asked the plan commission which zoning district would be the most appropriate to locate a shelter for women and children only.

The commission rejected a recent request from PADS to run a homeless shelter for women and children at a donated house at 1117 University St., citing concerns for changing the dynamic of the neighborhood and potential overcrowding at the house. 

PADS still wants to alleviate crowding at its First Street shelter, which is open year round, 24/7, and is near its 30-resident capacity, Executive Director Marilyn Younger said. Residents are allowed to stay up to 3 months, and must file a request to stay longer, but many are being turned away because of a lack of space, she said.

Commissioners said requests vary on a case-by-case basis. If a new site is proposed, Gehlbach and PADS directors will meet with the Plan Commission chairman and the city's building official, Paul Shiaras, to discuss concerns before presenting to the full commission, both sides agreed.

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