O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh moves foward with rezoning of Wilke properties

Shiloh Planning Commission member Howard Steffey looks on at a rendition of what will soon be a newcoming housing development to south of Memorial Hospital East in Shiloh during Monday, April 10 village Planning Commission meeting.
Shiloh Planning Commission member Howard Steffey looks on at a rendition of what will soon be a newcoming housing development to south of Memorial Hospital East in Shiloh during Monday, April 10 village Planning Commission meeting. rkirsch@bnd.com

Over the objection of neighbors, the village of Shiloh Planning Commission opted to move forward with a request from a local business owner to rezoning about 14 acres of farmland along Carlyle Avenue and Shiloh Station Road.

Norman Wilke, who owns Wilke Window and Door, had two parcels he owns annexed into the village and both are now under review for rezoning. Currently, his land at 3090 Carlyle Ave. is zoned non-urban (NU) agriculture, and Wilke wants it changed to B4 business zoning. Another parcel at 1331 Shiloh Station Road is zoned non-urban in the county now, but he wants it to changed to NU, village zoned.

Just prior to the April 10 Shiloh Planning Commission meeting, a public hearing was held at which two residents spoke out against rezoning Wilke’s Carlyle Avenue.

“We own all of the adjacent land. We do not want to have 3090 Carlyle rezoned as B4 business,” said Nancy Voelkel, and her husband Richard, addressed the board. “The area is mostly agriculture by nature, and we don’t have any plans to change our properties and prefer the area remain as it is today.”

The couple has resided at 3013 Carlyle Ave. for 19 years, they said, and also own property next door at 2967 Carlyle Ave. The land is a part of the Voelkel Family Trust, and therefore “won’t ever be developed,” the couple said.

“We are not aware of any development plans for the property, so why change it to business at this time?” Voelkel said.

She also cited other concerns such as water and power being the only utilities available currently, while sewer, natural gas and cable are not. She said her farm utilizes propane gas and a septic aeration system.

She brought up issues of increased traffic and the need to eventually place a signal at the intersection of Carlyle Avenue and Shiloh Station Road.

“I know it’s not a major concern, but it is for us, the peace and privacy we have in our agricultural neighborhood will be greatly impacted by having businesses — literally, right outside my window,” Voelkel said.

The Voelkels’ neighbor Michael Heup, who lives at 3108 Enclave Drive, echoed similar concerns.

“I would agree with them that I would not like it rezoned to B4 and leave it NU, cause we don’t need the additional traffic. And, there is a major irrigation ditch that runs between the two tracts right now that I know they would have to address that if they put a business on that which means the water flow-age would change,” Heup said.

Wilke said he has no immediate plans for development, but having the property commercially zoned he hoped might help him sell in the future.

“We wanna keep all that farm land around there going, but this is for future planning, and it’s going to happen. Scott’s going to draw a lot of people, a lot of business. There’s a lot of things going on in the making that can happen, so it’s going to come. It’s not just going to be us alone,” Wilke said.

Howard Steffey, planning commission member, said he was surprised the land has gone undeveloped for so long as it is.

“I drive down Carlyle Avenue all the time, because the whole time I’ve been here I’ve worked at Scott AFB,” Steffey said. “In my opinion, it’s expected that there’s going to be eventual development on that main road.”

B.J. Berger, another planning commission member, agreed, adding that a turn signal to slow already existing high traffic from between Belleville and Scott Air Force Base would be helpful now, regardless of development.

“I think if a business does go in there, a stoplight at that intersection is not a bad thing. That’s a very dangerous intersection as it is right now. You have a hard time getting in and out of your driveways. You have a hard time getting on Shiloh Station Road. It’ll slow people down, so I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” Berger said.

John Marquart, village administrator, said that any property owner, regardless of what their zoning is, must come before the Village Board to address the issues of drainage, lighting issues, screening issues, intersection improvements before any development can take place. He also said St. Clair County would have to determine if a signal is needed.

The board voted in favor Wilke’s requests, 3 to 0.

Brian Manion, planning commission chairman, voiced concerns over the rezoning to B4, which allows for broad development options, but voted in favor of the request.

“Certainly, I understand that Mr. Wilke wants to have the most options for his property, but I have a little bit of a concern that it’s a slippery slope if we start, sort of, handing out B4 zonings willy nilly. But that being said, this does seem like a property well suited for a business, and probably likely to be developed as a business in the future,” Manion said.

Commission member John Lee abstained from all voting due to a conflict of interest, as Wilke is his father-in-law. Commission member Vince Kwiatkowski was not present.

The commission’s recommendation is just the first step in the approval process. The Village Board will review the commission’s findings on Monday, April 24 at its monthly committee meeting. It will then go come before the Village Board at its May 1 meeting for a final vote.Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the Shiloh Municipal Building, 1 Park Drive. Agendas are available by 5 p.m. Friday before the meeting on the village website.

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