Ogle County Board: Enterprise zone amendment approved

Amendment to fee schedule approved


OREGON — At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Ogle County Board unanimously approved a resolution of support for an amendment to the Lee-Ogle Enterprise Zone that would see it grow in size. 

The board heard a presentation by LOEZ Administrator Andy Shaw at the meeting, and he said an application will be sent to the state to allow access for additional sites in the enterprise zone. About a year ago, a state act was made to give enterprise zones about 3,200 acres of additional space to utilize. 

The enterprise zone provides incentives for development projects in Lee and Ogle counties, primarily for construction and real estate improvements for businesses. Incentives include real estate tax abatement and building materials sales tax exemption for construction within the enterprise zone. 

Amendments to the enterprise zone must be approved by governing bodies with property in it. The new areas in the enterprise zone would primarily be around Dixon and Rochelle, but smaller areas would also be added in all communities in the LOEZ. 

"Some smaller places have been identified in some of the towns," Shaw said. "And with the assistance of the county assessors, we have identified and also added several commercial-scale apartments in all of the communities and we hope that incentive can drive some improvements to those types of properties as well."

The amendment will include 1,376 acres added around Rochelle, 707 acres around Dixon, 31 acres in Mt. Morris, 15 acres in Amboy, seven acres in Oregon, one acre in Franklin Grove and one acre in Ashton for a total of 2,140 acres added. Prior to the amendment, the LOEZ had 3,656 acres of unallocated space available to it. After the amendment, which Shaw anticipates will be approved by the state, the LOEZ will have 1,517 acres unallocated for future amendments that could happen. 


The board voted 14-7 to amend the fee schedule of its planning & zoning department. Changes included raising the fees for a dwelling from $200 to $400, an addition to a dwelling from $100 to $200, and private residential swimming pools from $75 to $200. It also includes raising the fee for an addition to a commercial/industrial building from $150 to a $1,000 flat fee up to $1 million in value, or a $2,000 flat fee up to $2 million in value or .5 percent for values over $2 million. 

Multiple board members took issue with raising the fees at Tuesday's meeting, including Board Member Susie Corbitt (R, District 8, Polo)

"I think that some of these costs are extreme," Corbitt said. "I understand this hasn't been looked at in years. But that isn't the citizens' fault. To more than double some of these costs, the citizens right now are facing inflation and a potential sales tax increase for the schools if that passes at the election. To put this on top of all that, I can't vote for it."

Board Member Dan Janes (R, District 5, Stillman Valley) rebutted Corbitt's comments and supported the change to the fee schedule. 

"A lot of these fees have not been changed for up to 20 years," Janes said. "We're just trying to be proactive instead of reactive. We're trying to cover our costs."


The board unanimously approved a resolution supporting agriculture in Ogle County. The county is home to 1,011 farms, which support 5,079 jobs (22 percent of total jobs). Agriculture and related industries generate a total sales or output in Ogle County estimated at $665.8 million.

Approximately 354,587 acres in Ogle County are farmland, representing 73 percent of total county acres. Board Member Ryan Reeverts (R, District 6, Byron), a fifth-generation farmer, said Ogle County farmers are facing uncertainty with an upcoming federal farm bill, regulatory concerns, and America being statistically the furthest it's ever been generationally from the family farm in the history of the nation.

"I think now more than ever as a local government entity, we can show our support to the American farmer right here in Ogle County with this resolution," Reeverts said. "I hope this can build a dialog with local government about the issues that our farmers and ranchers are facing here and local government can have some sort of role to aid in some of the solutions we face."


Due to election day taking place on Tuesday, March 19, the board's meeting next month will be moved from Tuesday, March 19 to Wednesday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m.