The Champaign County Commission’s desire to give the Champaign Transit System (CTS) and sheriff’s office more room cleared its final hurdle on Monday when the Urbana Planning Commission signed off on the final site plan for construction of a vehicle storage facility on the city’s south side.
According to the site plan details, the 6,000-square-foot garage will be built on county-owned property directly behind the county Community Center, 1512 S. U.S. Route 68. The 64-foot-by-100-foot facility will contain 12 bays and will be used to house CTS’s current fleet of vehicles.
County Commissioner Dave Faulkner said he and fellow Commissioners Steve Hess and Bob Corbett have long desired to give Sheriff Matt Melvin more space to work with and were considering building a facility on county-owned land behind Vancrest of Urbana, 2380 S. U.S. Route 68.
While a facility behind Vancrest would have provided Melvin with a place to store evidence, impounded cars, etc., it would have created no additional office space, Faulkner added.
Following the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center’s move from the community center to the former Lawnview School last year, Faulkner said, Merle Gregg, maintenance supervisor for the county, presented the commissioners with an alternate solution to providing the sheriff’s office with additional room at its 308 Miami St. location: Move its next door neighbor (CTS) from Miami Square to the community center.
The commissioners got behind Gregg’s idea and decided to make the move, a decision, Faulkner said, that will benefit both the sheriff’s office and CTS.
“This move will take a lot of the congestion away from Miami Square (also shared with Caring Kitchen),” he said. “It gets pretty crowded up there, especially during shift changes at the sheriff’s office.”
While Faulkner said he would prefer for the sheriff’s office to be located more on the outskirts of the city, its current location will suffice now that the sheriff will be taking over not only CTS’s current suite, but also the 12-bay garage it currently uses.
“(Melvin) does a great job with what he has to work with,” Faulkner said. “They are just cramped up there. This move should give them a lot more room and should work out pretty nicely.”
As for the county’s transit system, Faulkner added, the new garage to be built later this spring behind the community center will be an upgrade for CTS.
“It will be a nice facility,” he said. “The current garage wasn’t built to house some of the bigger vehicles CTS has brought on since the garage was constructed. It was built more for vans, not mini-buses.”
CTS offices, once the new facility is complete, will be moved into the former ESC offices inside the community center.
“They will have more room than they have now,” Faulkner said. “Gary (Ledford, CTS manager) does a great job managing CTS. He transports a lot of people throughout the county, and you hardly ever hear of any glitches.”
In other business:
•The Wendy’s restaurant at 734 Scioto St. will soon receive an exterior facelift after the Planning Commission signed off on building alterations as the restaurant plans to “refresh” its facade.
Community Development Manager Doug Crabill added the owner is considering changes inside the restaurant, possibly enlarging the restrooms and installing a soda fountain machine in the dining area.
•The commission agreed to recommend to Urbana City Council the rezoning of eight parcels located at 120 Fyffe St. (Ultra-met Manufacturing Company) from R-2 Medium Density Residential District to M-1 Manufacturing District.
According to Crabill, city staff initiated the rezoning request after learning the city’s zoning map incorrectly lists the eight parcels (nearly 3.2 combined acres) in question under the R-2 zoning distinction.
•Jeff Yutzy’s application to install a 21.33-square-foot blade sign with changeable copy to the facade of Yutzy’s Cheese House, 1522 E. U.S. Route 36, was approved. The sign will be attached to the building and jet out toward the highway.
•Commission member Rich Ebert was reappointed to serve as chairperson, while David Hess was appointed vice chairperson.
•Steve Brandeberry, one of the commission’s newest members, was chosen as the commission’s representative on the Urbana Design Review Board.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.