O'Fallon Progress

Developer gets one step closer to proposed subdivision approval

With a scant crowd of five residents, one of whom was Village of Shiloh Trustee Bob Weilmuenster and another the Heitman Tract property owner Kim Littlefield, the Shiloh Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the preliminary plat request for The Summit of Shiloh proposed development including two variances. The full board was present along with Brenda Kern, village clerk, and Terry Bruckert, village attorney.

The Summit of Shiloh is also widely referred to as The Heitman Farm Tract and is 169 acres of rolling hills that has been agriculturally zoned since the village’s inception until recent months when the planning commission and thereby the board of trustees approved rezoning to single family zoning. It is located at 4095 Lebanon Ave.

“The requested variances are not out of the ordinary and have been approved in other developments throughout the village,” John Marquart, village administrator, said.

The meeting was at the Shiloh Senior Center instead of the Village Hall because of the overwhelming attendance by village residents interested or opposed to the project during previous public hearings, planning commission and committee meetings.

Since last year, the proposed development has been a hot button issue with many residents due to its location in an area where traffic may be impacted and the current mine subsidence activity near and possibly on the site. Residents are also concerned about future ramifications to surrounding neighborhoods from water drainage issues if the 170 acres of land were to be developed.

“This development has garnered much attention due to the issue of undermining and the theoretical possibility of subsidence. The state of Illinois has no restrictions on the development of property that is undermined (and) the village’s zoning ordinance has no restrictions on the development of property that is undermined,” Marquart said.

Bruckert advised the board after he said he researched case law in Illinois on the issue of undermining and mine subsidence.

“If the commission denies the development to move forward on the undermining issue, and expert’s opinion would be required. And we don’t have that. Failure to properly identify a reason based on current ordinances would most likely result in the developer filing legal action against the village,” Bruckert explained.

Planning Commission Chairman Brian Manion and Vince Kwiatkowski, commission member and former chairman, both agreed that there is no legal grounds to deny this step of approval based on the resident’s dissidence on the probability of undermining existing on the property.

Two residents Thad Mueller, of 113 Archview Drive, and Marilyn Almind, of 3726 Boatmans Point and homeowner’s association president of Meadowbrück Lake Estates subdivision, both said they are pleading with the board to not allow Archview Drive to ever be opened up for thoroughfare traffic to surrounding subdivisions. They also asked for something to be done about the increase of speeding and traffic on Archview.

Weilmuenster informed the commission that the board of trustees in recent months had approved the purchase of one mobile solar powered radar speed sign that will be earmarked for use in several different areas throughout the village.

John Lee, commission member, said the responsibility of determining the ultimate existence of undermining on the development property is “on the shoulders of the developer, not the village, and if he or they are putting this much money, time and effort into such a large development, I would think they would’ve done their homework first, and are prepared to deal with it.”

Howard Steffey, commission member, is also concerned about the existing mine subsidence activity at Boatman’s Point and surrounding neighborhoods.

“I’m very concerned about this honestly, and it seems realistic to think that shifting that much earth around and adding more weight to the area could increase the activity or worsen it,” Steffey said.

At previous meetings, Littlefield’s lawyer, Lisa Johnson, of SmithAmundsen, said, “the developer is well aware of the issues on the table such as the mine subsidence.”

Littlefield told the Manion Tuesday night that the development is expected to take a couple of years to complete, with hopes of breaking ground in the spring of 2017. He said there are 291 houses planned to be valued starting at $250,000 and up to about $500,000. Fifty of the houses are proposed to be built on one acre lots, while the remaining 241 houses are proposed to be constructed on 1/2 acre lots.

According to village ordinance, construction traffic will only be allowed on Valleyview Farm Lane.

The fate of the planned development was moved forward in early August with a 5-1 vote as the Shiloh Board of Trustees approved the rezoning. The first section is to be changed to a requested 55.11 acres of R-1 Single Family Zoning with a minimum lot size of 22,500 square feet. The second section is to be changed to a requested 114.67 acres of R-3 Single Family Zoning with a minimum lot size of 12,500 square feet.

The main entrance to the development is proposed to be at Valleyview Farm Lane, but the developer proposed using axillary routes like Archview and Golden Springs Parkway as alternate ways into the development for construction traffic. However, the other axillary thoroughfares will not be opened until at least 30 percent of the homes are built and have occupancy permits, according to Manion, which is based on the previous ordinance variance approved by the board of trustees.

The recommendation of the commission will be forwarded to the Shiloh Village Board of Trustees Committee at Large meeting for consideration at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24. From there it will be forwarded to the Monday, Nov. 7 regular board meeting for final consideration.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch