Belleville City Council members on Monday night took their first official votes regarding the 24-hour Walmart Supercenter proposed for the intersection of South 74th Street and Illinois 15 and approved five Walmart requests.
Aldermen gave Walmart permission to sell liquor at the store, and they approved variances regarding the store’s signs, parking lot and fencing.
Construction on the 195,000-square-foot store is expected to begin in 2018, and the store might be open in 2019, according to a project manager.
Along with the request to sell liquor, Walmart received the following variances:
▪ Walmart will be allowed 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 will have parking lot aisles 24 feet wide instead of the 25 feet required by code. However, the parking lot spaces will be 19 feet long instead of the usual 18 feet.
▪ The combined square footage of eight various signs on the property facing Illinois 15 will have a total of 638 square feet, which is 338 square feet over the “cap” required by code.
The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals on May 25 unanimously recommended that aldermen approve Walmart’s requests.
Aldermen voted 14-0 to approve Walmart’s requests. Ward 4 Alderman Raffi Ovian abstained during the vote and later declined to say why. Ward 6 Alderman Andy Gaa was absent from the meeting.
The Walmart Supercenter at Carlyle Avenue and Green Mount Road on the east side is in a special business district, where shoppers are charged an extra 1 percent sales tax, but the proposed store on the west side will not be in a business district. The extra sales tax collected in Green Mount Commons is rebated to the developers and can be used to help pay for building the shopping center.
Walmart originally was located on Carlyle Avenue near Belleville East High School but that store was closed when the new one opened in Green Mount Commons about 10 years ago.
Walmart has not asked for tax incentives for the west Belleville store, which also is expected to have a gas station in the front portion of the site.
The 74th Street site has abandoned coal mines underneath it and the project manager has said Walmart is researching the ways to mitigate the undermining.
In other business
The City Council gave Bob Kaiser a plaque to honor him for running Bob’s Barber Shop at 2117 W. Main St. for 50 years at that address.
Kaiser, 80, also cut hair at a shop in downtown Belleville for about six years before he opened his shop on West Main. He is a Chicago Cubs fan in a town that mostly supports the rival St. Louis Cardinals. And the certificate the city gave him notes his allegiance to the Cubs.
“If you look closely, there’s even a Cubs logo. Now, we don’t do that for everyone,” Mayor Mark Eckert said as Kaiser and the audience laughed.