Metro-East News

St. Clair Zoning Board gives OK to storage facility near Lebanon

The revitalization of a vacant storage facility along U.S. 50 east of Lebanon is in the works.

Paul and Jeanne McCleery of Lebanon want to buy a bank-owned property at 10027 W. U.S. 50. The St. Clair County Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday recommended approval of the couple’s plan for the four-acre property.

The McCleerys are asking for a special use permit, which the County Board is scheduled to vote on the proposal later this month.

The proposed McCleery Safe Storage also is slated to have storage sheds for purchase in the future. They also plans to have self-service ice, propane tank exchanges, propane tank refilling, as well as U-Haul equipment rentals.

Paul McCleery plans to use the existing two storage buildings on the property, including a 129,000-square-foot building, and then may build up to five additional buildings, he said.

He said he plans to put $150,000 into property, in addition to the purchase price.

The facility would be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, if approved.

They do plan to have fencing, as well as bushes to hide items on the property.

“That’s why we had these artist renderings done, we don’t want (it) to be an eye sore, that’s just not how we do things,” Jeanne McCleery said.

The McCleerys did ask for outside storage in order to generate revenue quickly, but the zoning board ultimately recommended that portion of their request not be allowed.

Zoning Board Member Alexa Edwards said the county has not had good experience with outside storage.

“Usually where the problems start is the outside storage … because they’re not outside storage, they become almost salvage yards, where people bring things, they never go away and the weeds grow up and it becomes a real eye sore to the neighborhood,” Edwards said.

St. Clair County Building and Zoning Director Anne Markezich said part of the future construction is in a flood zone.

“He will have to do a lot of work to build the buildings there, but he’s aware of that,” Markezich said.

Markezich said the property has been foreclosed on, was a mess and in disrepair.

“It was horrible,” Markezich said.

Paul McCleery said the property did well during the recent rainfall as the existing buildings are not in the flood plain.

The McCleerys hope to start operating within a few months after closing on the property, which won’t take place until they receive final approval from the county board.

Albert Pritz, who lives near the property had concerns about the traffic along U.S. 50, which has people traveling at 55 mph.

“That is a major concern,” Pritz said. “There’s been bad accidents there.”