Norman Wilke previously told the Shiloh Planning Commission that he had no immediate plans for developing about 14 acres of farmland along Carlyle Avenue and Shiloh Station Road, but wanted the land to be rezoned for commercial use in hopes it could help him sell it sometime in the future.
In April, Wilke, who founded Wilke Window and Door, called the request a “long-term planning move.”
Turns out, the long-term was fairly short. The Wilkes put the two parcels up for auction only a week after the Shiloh Village Board gave its final OK on May 1 to the rezone them. Bidding is expected to start at 10 a.m Saturday, June 17.
Neither the Wilkes, nor their representative, returned requests for comments.
After several meetings, the rezoning was approved over the objections of some neighbors, who wanted to keep the neighborhood agricultural.
Nancy Voelkel, who lives with her husband Richard at 3013 Carlyle Ave., was one of the most vocal neighbors. Voelkel said she feels like her worst fears are now likely to come true.
“I feel like they (village officials) just were not listening. Land has not been developed close to us, yet. But I’m afraid that my concerns/comments will not matter in the end,” she said.
Voelkel said she also thinks the Wilkes were misleading in order to get their zoning changes.
“Not even one week later, they have signs out, and (the two parcels) are to be auctioned in June. Mr. Wilke told a little lie there. He said they had no plans — they don’t plan on selling or developing the properties. But auctions don’t count?” she said. “Well, at least we know now why they so urgently needed it zoned business — it was planned to be sold all along, and they lied about it. Guess that is how business is conducted in Shiloh.”
However, Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said he didn’t think there was any attempt made to deceive anyone.
“They (the Wilkes) are friends of mine, and I know they wouldn’t lie to me,” he said.
Vernier said that Norman and Dorothy Wilke are “getting older in age and were in need of downsizing,” and their home at 1331 Shiloh Station Road has been on the market for some time without finding a buyer.
“I know there was no plans on selling the fields, but the house has been up for sale for some time with no activity. And then they were approached by an auctioneer to sell it all as a horse ranch, and (they were) advised that, if anyone is going to buy the home, they’ll likely want the fields, too, to grow hay for the horses,” Vernier said.
Attorney Terry Bruckert of the firm Bruckert, Gruenke & Long in O’Fallon, which represents the village, said Wilke rezoning is legally sound. Whether or not they had plans for development or sale at the time is immaterial, he said.
“I read the application, the planning commission minutes, was at one of the board meetings and read the village code provisions, and found the law was followed,” Bruckert said.
The mayor said the auction was within the Wilkes’ prerogative.
“They changed their mind (on selling), and there’s no law that says they can’t,” Vernier said.
Voelkel said she was just disappointed by the the whole process.
“It’s frustrating for us, because I don’t think that the wishes of those who live in the area matter,” she said.
Viewing for the auction is slated from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 11. For more information about the sale, call auctioneer, Adam’s Auction & Real Estate Services, at 618-234-8751.