O'Fallon Progress

Residents oppose O’Fallon development that would include Dollar General

Citing drainage and traffic issues, a group of residents oppose a retail and duplex development plan for the Highway 50 Corridor being considered in O’Fallon.

About 30 residents attended the Dec. 13 O’Fallon Planning Commission public hearing to object to rezoning 6.49 acres from single family to multi-dwelling and retail at 648 W. Highway 50.

The commission voted 5-3 in favor of the proposal.

The matter moves on to a meeting Jan. 9 with the Community Development Committee, before it would be moved forward and acted on by the City Council.

Terry Johnson of Triple Net Management has presented plans for a 10,640-foot Dollar General store, 12,150-square-foot retail center, and 10 two-family duplexes.

The proposed retail site is at the northwest corner of Highway 50 and Lawn Avenue. The duplexes would front an extension of Hillcrest Drive in the Countryside Glen subdivision.

It would be developed in three phases.

Johnson is a commercial real estate broker/developer with 31 years of experience in the O’Fallon, Shiloh and Fairview Heights area. He developed the commercial lot across the street from this development.

The property is currently owned by Niteshkumar and Alka Patel.

Valerie Badgley Piekutowski, who owns a 2.5-acre residence next to the property targeted for re-zoning, said her group was armed with many facts, and provided a binder to the planning commission.

“We are fine with development under current zoning and land use map,” she said. The future land use map indicated office buildings.

Dollar General would be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

“This would impact lighting, noise, trash and traffic on a street that can’t hold the traffic that it gets now,” Piekutowski said.

She said that the nearby commercial property across U.S. 50 doesn’t affect residents like this would.

She also cited drainage issues on both sides of the development — on Lawn Avenue, due to mine subsidence that occurred on the property in question and the street in 2014.

The Illinois State Geological Survey states that the area is undermined by the St. Ellen Mine.

“We have been told it cannot be fixed until subsidence stops, and it has not,” she said.

Drainage issues were also mentioned in a subdivision affected on the west side.

“They want to put in an extension from the neighboring subdivision to the west, which will extend through Lawn Avenue. This presents major security and safety issues. We are against multi-dwelling behind low-level retail. We don’t think it would be a good draw,” she said. “Junky retail and multi-dwelling brings down property values.”

The project, known as Fifty and Lawn Subdivision, has been recommended by the city Community Development office.

Senior City Planner Justin Randall declined comment, referring to O’Fallon Community Development Director Ted Shekell, who could not be reached for comment prior to deadline.