The St. Clair County Zoning Board of Appeals held off on making a recommendation on whether a proposed Dollar General store on Eiler Road could move forward.
STL Equities, a Chesterfield, Missouri-based development group, wants to build a roughly 9,100-square-foot store at 101 Eiler Road just outside of Belleville. The project is expected to cost about $1,070,000, said Bob Elkan, the managing member of STL Equities.
However, concerns about traffic led to the zoning board to wait for approval from the county highway department in regards ingress, egress and traffic flow on the road. The zoning board is now scheduled to consider the proposed store at its May 11 meeting.
STL Equities is asking for a special use permit to move forward with the project.
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The lot is zoned as a highway business district, which does allow for churches, car washes, mini-warehouses, among other things. Planned business centers and car rental facilities, among other things also are allowed, but with a special use permit.
“If you refer to the permitted uses of a highway district and compare it to what we have proposed, I think you will find (a Dollar General) is a rather light use of that property,” Elkan said.
The area does include the Cat & Fiddle Tavern, an American Legion, a Circle K and a UPS facility.
There is residential development predominantly to the west of the property.
Christopher Billingsley and Cynthia and Charles Blankensop, who live across the street from the proposed location, objected to the proposal because of traffic concerns.
“That road already is so overwhelmed with traffic. It’s only two lanes,” Cynthia Blankensop said. “You have a convenient mart right on the corner. You have UPS trucks coming in and out, which is right across from it. Kids are walking up and down street all the time. I just think it’s going to be a ... hazard, and I don’t think that neighborhood needs that.”
Vernon Thacker, who hopes to sell the property for the project, submitted a petition with more than 150 signatures from people who were supportive of the project.
“We need something out there,” Thacker said. “There’s nothing there but the tavern. I just think it’s going to benefit the neighborhood.”
If ultimately approved, construction would be expected to take three to four months, Elkan said.
Typically a Dollar General location employs 10 to 15 employees, Elkan added.
The Zoning Board of Appeals would make a recommendation on whether the project can move forward. The County Board would then make a final decision, said Anne Markezich, director of the county’s Building and Zoning Department.