O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh OKs preliminary plat request for subdivision after mayor argues with resident

Standing is Roger Rodney, resident on Archview Drive in Meadowbrück Lake Estates, appealing to the Shiloh Board of Trustees Monday night to consider not allowing a connecting thoroughfare be opened to the Summit of Shiloh proposed subdivision due to heightened safety concerns. Marilyn Almind, Meadowbrück Lake Estates homeowner’s association president, is sitting behind Rodney.
Standing is Roger Rodney, resident on Archview Drive in Meadowbrück Lake Estates, appealing to the Shiloh Board of Trustees Monday night to consider not allowing a connecting thoroughfare be opened to the Summit of Shiloh proposed subdivision due to heightened safety concerns. Marilyn Almind, Meadowbrück Lake Estates homeowner’s association president, is sitting behind Rodney. rkirsch@bnd.com

After a heated exchange between Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier and a concerned resident, the Shiloh Board of Trustees moved forward with approving the preliminary plat for a controversial subdivision known at the Summit of Shiloh off Lebanon Avenue by a majority vote of four with one abstention from Trustee Bob Weilmuenster.

Weilmuenster lives in Meadowbrück Lake Estates; four residents of that subdivision attended the meeting Monday night.

Marilyn Almind, homeowner’s association president of Meadowbrück Lake Estates, appealed to the board to reconsider the safety concerns that exist on Archview Drive.

“I know you’ve heard my concerns before, and I’d like to voice them again,” Almind said.

Opening Archview Drive as a connecting thoroughfare between Meadowbrück and the Summit of Shiloh subdivisions after 30 percent of the construction of the subdivision has been completed is troublesome to subdivision residents, according to Almind.

“There’s a lot of concern with the increased traffic that will happen; it’s not potential — it would happen. We do not have stop signs or sidewalks. We do have a hill that curves at the end that causes a problem with speeding,” Almind said.

The possibility of implementing turn lanes at the top of Archview Lane will only encourage traffic through the neighborhood, she believes, “which tells us that you also are aware that the increase in traffic will occur.”

“I’m very worried and so are my neighbors that opening it up will not only cause the unwanted traffic, but also could increase the potential for crime too,” Almind said.

There’s a lot of concern with the increased traffic that will happen; it’s not potential — it would happen. We do not have stop signs or sidewalks.

Marilyn Almind, homeowner’s association president of Meadowbrück Lake Estates

She also brought up the issue of mine subsidence in the area of the proposed subdivision. Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier cut her off mid-sentence to tell her not to talk about mine subsidence, because it’s not “legally permissible for the board to discuss.”

“I’m not interested in mine subsidence, ma’am, that has nothing to do with this issue, please don’t bring it up. We’ve made it clear. We cannot legally talk about mine subsidence; it’s not going to be part of our discussion,” Vernier said.

A heated banter back and forth continued between Almind and the mayor, who raised his voice a number of times.

“Well that’s what I’m talking about. Every time we come here to talk about our concerns, which we should have a voice..., (but) you want to argue with me. I’m a taxpayer, and we are in a public forum and you’re cutting me off,” Almind said.

Vernier continued to interrupt Almind.

“I’m not arguing with you. I’m saying really what’s the point...I’m a taxpayer too. I’ve been in this town since I was born and you know what, I could lay down in the streets when I was a kid, so I put up with all of you moving in,” Vernier said.

“With all due respect, do you think that this is appropriate for you to do that to me in front of these people?” Almind said.

“No. But we discussed this already,” Vernier yelled.

During the exchange, Village Administrator John Marquart signaled multiple times and whispered from his seat in the audience to village attorney Terry Bruckert, who sits next to the mayor on the board panel.

“Yes I know that, but this is our last chance to voice our concerns that have been met with nothing but, ‘sorry,’” Almind said. “You’re impatient with our concerns, but we’re impatient with your lack of hearing us.”

Vernier said, “I do hear you. I’ve heard this for many years.”

We have gone from being 450 people in 1960 to, now, close to 14,000, and I’ve watched every one of them move in. I wish it was still 450 people, I really do, but there’s nothing we can do about it...

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier

“But hearing with no action doesn’t help,” Almind said. “I would like it noted that your comments towards me have been truly inappropriate and that I should have been allowed to speak without feeling like I’m being attacked.”

“I’m not attacking you,” he said.

“Well, I’m on the receiving end of that so everyone knows the concerns. Please consider them. I’m done talking,” Almind said.

Vernier said, “We have gone from being 450 people in 1960 to, now, close to 14,000, and I’ve watched every one of them move in. I wish it was still 450 people, I really do, but there’s nothing we can do about it, unfortunately we have a beautiful piece of property in the middle of Scott Air Force Base, Belleville, O’Fallon and Fairview Heights.”

Almind said, “I’m not arguing about the development. I’m concerned with one little thing in the comprehensive plan that you do have control over — that Archview Drive not be opened.”

Vernier said it could be 10 years before the connecting road is opened on Archview to the proposed development, and Almind said, “Well, I plan on living here to the day I die and that 10 years will involve me and our neighbors who live there. When I say you’re not responding. I mean it’s not a favorable response. I mean it’s like (my concerns) are falling on deaf ears — like you don’t care. You’re ignoring our concerns for taxpayers who don’t even exist.”

With that, Vernier apologized “for responding to your concerns.”

Roger Rodney, another resident of Meadobrück, addressed the board with the same concerns, and focused primarily on trying to get the board to say whether or not sidewalks would be installed along Archview in the future as the adjacent development progresses.

“I’m perfectly in favor of the (Summit of Shiloh) subdivision going in, but what would happen later when we do realize we have a safety issue and it hasn’t been addressed. I mean, I’ve lived there for over 12 years and I can tell you I’ve seen multiple vehicles hit in the middle of the night...one was demolished in June in an accident. People fly down the street,” Rodney said.

Vernier said he concurred that sidewalks should be installed, and village staff is currently looking into undertaking that project soon, which Vernier said could cost up to $200,000.

Later in the meeting, Vernier apologized to Almind for “making her feel like he was ‘attacking her.’”

Under the Streets and Sanitary Sewers Committee, Trustee Kurt Burrelsman motioned to table the review of the ordinance for allowing Illinois American Water to proceed with being able to cut a resident’s water off due to failure to pay after a period of up to 45 days. Vernier and trustees agreed to wait until the next committee meeting to discuss this further.

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

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