Construction on the proposed 24-hour Walmart Supercenter in west Belleville could begin in early 2018 and last about a year, meaning the store likely would not be open until 2019.
But the start of construction could change based on the length of the permitting process, which is now ongoing for the site at the intersection of South 74th Street and Illinois 15, according to a project manager.
On Thursday night, the Belleville Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved five requests from Walmart, including one for a liquor permit. The board is tasked with giving a recommendation to the City Council, which has the final decision on whether to approve the requests.
Aldermen will hear the Walmart requests June 5.
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The site is already zoned commercial, but the zoning board is still required to hear variance requests. Here’s a rundown of the other variances approved by the zoning panel:
▪ Walmart plans to have a 10-foot fence around the bale and pallet enclosure and the trash compactor enclosure. City code limits fences to 7 feet high.
▪ The store wants the parking lot aisles to be 24 feet wide instead of the 25 feet required by code. Parking lot spaces will be 19 feet long.
▪ Walmart is asking that the combined square footage of eight various signs on the property facing Illinois 15 be allowed to have a total of 638 square feet, which would be 338 square feet over the “cap” required by code.
Rick Rohlfing, a project manager with BFA Engineering in Washington, Mo., told the zoning board that the store will have a place for shoppers to drive up and have someone load the groceries they ordered online. Walmart also plans to build a gas station at the front of the parking lot.
“We’ve been working on this project for quite some time now,” Rohlfing told the panel. He said one of the challenges for the project is that the site is undermined. Research is ongoing as to how to mitigate the undermining.
The Walmart Supercenter on the east side of Belleville was built on a site that was undermined, but the old coal mines were filled before the store off Carlyle Avenue opened about 10 years ago.
Shoppers will enter the west Belleville store off South 74th Street. Direct access from Illinois 15 will not be allowed.
No one from the public spoke against the Walmart requests. Also, Walmart has not asked for tax incentives from Belleville for this store, although the city granted tax incentives for the Green Mount Commons shopping center that includes Walmart.