Library officials in Aurora want to make sure the new main branch they soon will be building in the city's downtown fits in with the area's urban feel.
They're seeking a zoning change for the property at the southwest corner of River and Benton streets to ensure the building can be constructed close to the street, similar to the Waubonsee Community College building that opened in 2011 at 18 S. River St.
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Director Eva Luckinbill said the library will be seeking a change to zoning designation called "downtown fringe," which does not require certain setbacks from the sidewalk. The city council is set to begin consideration of the request at 5 p.m. Tuesday in city hall during a committee of the whole meeting.
"By changing the zoning we had on that parcel to downtown fringe, we could do the same thing (as Waubonsee), so we wouldn't need those 20- and 30-foot setbacks that would limit the size of the building we could put on the parcel," Luckinbill said. "It just incorporates it into the downtown a little more closely."
Downtown fringe zoning is designed to promote economic development by allowing a variety of building types near the city's core commercial area, as long as the buildings are consistent with residential uses, enhance the area's image and retain safety, according to the city's zoning ordinance.
The library plans to complete the 92,000-square-foot, $27 million main branch by late 2014. The three-story building will provide more study space, meeting space and access to technology than is possible at the current main library, which was built in 1904 and has not been expanded since 1969.
Aside from seeking approval of the zoning change, Luckinbill said the library is in the process of gaining building permits. Construction is expected to begin this spring with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for May 1.