The village of Shiloh’s Planning Commission reviewed and passed rezoning requests for Auffenberg’s St. Clair Auto Mall re-location project during its meeting Monday, Sept. 11.
“This is very exciting. I can’t think of a better use of the land,” said Brian Manion, one of the commissioners.
While members Howard Steffey and John Lee were absent, the commission had the required quorum of three members present, who all voted to move the plan forward.
The $40 million St. Clair Auto Mall relocation project was first announced in late March by Jamie Auffenberg Jr., president of Auffenberg Enterprises of Illinois.
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The current St. Clair Auto Mall location on U.S. Highway 50 in O’Fallon, but the business cannot meet its expansion needs at that location and turned to Shiloh as a site for a new center.
No timetable for the move has been given yet. The Shiloh Village Board still has to sign off on the project. After that, extensive site work, including upgrading public streets, utility extensions, and placing new traffic signal on Frank Scott Parkway will be required for the 36-acre site at the corner of Fortune Boulevard and Frank Scott Parkway East to be the hub of nine auto dealership lots.
“All the streets and utilities will be constructed in one phase prior to any building starts,” said Terry Johnson, a commercial real estate agent representing Auffenberg.
Johnson told the Planning Commission the idea was to do the project two phases.
“Initially, four new auto dealerships (Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia and Mazda) will open, along with a pre-owned car lot,” Johnson said.
The other four lots will be developed on a needs basis to accommodate growth. A separate lot for storm water detention will be implemented, too, Johnson said.
“Once the buildings are designed for each dealership, we will move forward with the final engineering drawings to address storm water detention, green space coverage calculations and other requirements of the final plat process,” he said.
Johnson said the family of dealerships also recently acquired the Brent Bergheger Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Mascoutah, which will be moving to O’Fallon in coming weeks, before the entire operation moves to Shiloh.
“We are now going to be adding Chrysler. The Auffenberg’s purchased Chrysler from the Mascoutah owner,” Johnson said.
According to a traffic study done by Lochmueller Group Inc., the impact of the proposed auto mall is expected to generate a total of 340-522 trips during the weekday afternoons and Saturday midday peak hours.
“The additional trips generated by the development would cause no significant impact on the existing road network,” according to Dustin Riechmann, engineer and traffic services director of Lochmueller Group.
Johnson told the Planning Commission that the results of the study do not warrant a traffic signal on Frank Scott Parkway East, even at full development, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want it “at some point.”
“They are supposed to take into account future improvements to Frank Scott Parkway, (including) the parkway extension. But right now they’re telling us we don’t generate enough, and it is a costly item, but we would like it,” Johnson said.
Commission members Vince Kwiatkowski and Jim Stover both commented that they think the area will need a traffic signal.
“If it’s feasible, I think it would be a great idea,” Kwiatkowski said.
Stover echoed he was also is favor of a light at the entrance of the future dealership.
“I think, in real life, a traffic light would be warranted on Frank Scott, especially with the anticipated extension. I think it’s gonna increase the traffic flow,” Stover said.
Johnson noted that St. Clair County Highway Department will make the final call on the need for a traffic signal and turn lanes.
Due to a clerical mistake, a preliminary plat for the site was not included on the commission’s agenda in time for Monday’s meeting, so members could not vote on it.
The commission will have a special meeting at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, to review the preliminary plat. The Shiloh Village Board will then have its committee at large meeting that night at 7 p.m. for other business.