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June 18, 2014

No getting out of Fairview Heights

Getting into Fairview Heights is much easier than getting out, a developer is finding out.

The Swansea Development Trust asked to be de-annexed from the city, but on Tuesday the City Council said no. The group is planning a 38-acre residential and commercial development at the corner of Frank Scott Parkway and Sullivan Drive, and city leaders aren't going to voluntarily give up that and the tax dollars it could bring.

It was just a year and a half ago that the development chose to annex into Fairview Heights because of Swansea's strict -- read expensive -- masonry requirements. However, the developer avoided one big cost only to run into another -- the sky-high costs of sewers from Caseyville Township.

If only the developer had waited a bit. In addition to lower sewer costs, Swansea has since loosened those masonry requirements to make building much more affordable.

Now the developer has to figure out which would cost more: Sewers from Caseyville Township, or a legal challenge of the Fairview Heights council's action.

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