The hotly contested Dollar General development was officially greenlighted by the O’Fallon City Council Tuesday, Feb. 21, with three aldermen standing firm in opposition.
The 6.49-acre project includes relocating the Dollar General from Southview Plaza to a new 10,640-foot space at 648 W. Highway 50, which is at the northwest corner of Highway 50 and Lawn Avenue.
The project, developed by Terry Johnson of Triple Net Management, also includes a 12,150-square-foot retail center and 10 two-family duplexes or villas to be built in two later phases. The residential development would front an extension of Hillcrest Drive in the Countryside Glenn subdivision.
Aldermen Kevin Hagerty, Robert Kueker and Matt Smallheer voted no, again. Alderman Ned Drolet, who represents Ward 6, was absent until Feb. 22.
Hagerty read a statement in support of the residents.
“Sometimes, you have to feel what it’s like to be in the residents’ shoes. I am not opposed to economic development, to Dollar General, to the developer. It’s the location,” he said. Hagerty sided with residents who were OK with another type of development there and wanted Dollar General to find an alternate spot.
Alderman Herb Roach said he switched to support the plan after learning the Public Works Department was working on drainage problems.
The plan had been previously shot down Jan. 17 in a 5-7 council vote, but resurrected Feb. 6 and advanced again through city procedures.
Residents objected to the specific type of retail business, citing trash, noise and crime concerns.
They had been concerned about traffic and drainage, but Johnson had agreed to an alternate street design with a cul-de-sac at the Jan. 9 Community Development Committee meeting. The Public Works Department is working on drainage relief plans in the Countryside Glen neighborhood.
While outspoken at previous meetings, residents were quiet Tuesday, although a group was in attendance.
Afterward, resident Burt Gedney expressed disappointment.
“Sometimes, the legal process does not work. The old boy system is alive and well in O’Fallon,” he said.
At Mayor Gary Graham’s request, the project was placed back on the agenda Feb. 6. Christopher Hursey, an alderman who voted no, recommended the ordinance be reconsidered. Aldermen Gene McCoskey and Matthew Gilreath had been absent Jan. 17.
The project had been recommended by the Planning Commission, Community Development Committee and the city’s Community Development staff.
In other action:
▪ The council approved Graham’s appointment of Gene McCoskey to the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners, effective March 1.
▪ McCoskey, an alderman not seeking re-election, had agreed to resign from his term early in order to fill the board position. Graham said the police board had a number of items that needed attention, thus the timing.
▪ The council authorized the sale of property at 131 E. First Street for $10,000.
▪ The council approved mutual aid agreements with Medstar and Abbott Ambulance services.