Shiloh police officer worries about development's impact on schools
Following a public hearing packed with residents in opposition, the village of Shiloh Planning Commission voted unanimously on Monday, July 10 to table proposals for two multi-family housing developments.
Each planned within a mile of Memorial Hospital East, “The Savannah” and “The Retreat at Shiloh” are both large, up-scale, multi-family apartment complexes. Between the two, they would offer about 600 individual units. Both would have 24/7 on-site management and security surveillance, developers said.
The Edwardsville-based private equity firm Crevo Capital is wanting to develop The Savannah. The 26-acre property is owned by TRDS LLC, Cross Street Townhomes. Projected cost for the 335-apartment community is $35 million. Impact Strategies of Fairview Heights is the construction management firm, and Thouvenot, Wade and Moerchen (TMW) is the civil engineering firm for the planned luxury apartments, which would range in rent from about $1,200 per month for a one-bedroom to a maximum of $2,000 for a three-bedroom depending on amenities and unit selection.
Crevo Capital president Corey Wenzel said the development will have multiple buildings, a club house with a pool, garages, a dog park, walking trails, community gardens and a recreational lake.
The developer was before the Planning Commission requesting a rezoning from the current R-2, single-family residential and B-3 retail — which allows for a wide variety of retail, service and office uses — to multi-family zoning. The developer was also requesting a special use permit in concern to green space. As it stands, the village code would requires 25 acres of green space, but The Savannah project is proposing nine acres of green space.
TWM representative Marsha Maller said the green space requirement was “excessive and unreasonable.”
Wenzel said the project would be constructed in phases.
Indianapolis, Ind.-based Watermark Residential is the developer for 276-unit, gated community called The Retreat at Shiloh.
The 21-acre property is owned by Progress East Healthcare Center, a.k.a. BJC Real Estate. Humphreys and Partners Architects of Dallas, Texas, is the architect. The projected cost for the project is a $49 million investment. Rent will range from a one-bedroom rate of $1,200 per month to an upwards of around $3,000 for three-bedroom units.
Buildings at The Retreat would be either 10 or 14 units buildings, with 80 percent having direct- access garages. Community amenities would include pocket parks throughout the complex, a fenced dog park, valet trash service, clubhouse with gourmet kitchen, year-round hot tub, resort-style pool with cabanas, outdoor fire pits, cooking areas, T.V.’s and bars.
Jessica Tuttle, Watermark development manager, said the company is requesting rezoning from the the current planned business zoning, which is for commercial development, to multi-family zoning. Another request was made for a special use permit to allow for buildings to have more than seven units.
In addition, two variances are being requested — one to allow for fiber cement siding in combination with masonry and the other to allow for internal streets to be private, which Tuttle said the owner will maintain, not the village.
Tuttle said the project would be constructed all in one phase.
Impact on schools
Many residents who stood up to voice opposition to the developments had concerns over how they impact already crowded schools.
“Just this past school year, the (Shiloh) school’s busting at the seams,” said George Fender, a Shiloh police officer and father. “Now, I know there are some empty spaces they are using at the middle school, and that’s great, but where does that end? My wife and I had to subject our fourth-grader to raffle during the middle of the last school year because so many kids came in during the middle of the school year that they had to add a third- and fourth-grade classroom (at Shiloh Elementary).”
Shiloh School District 85 would receive students from The Savannah community, and O’Fallon Community Consolidated School District 90 would receive students from The Retreat of Shiloh, according to Ted Shekell, O’Fallon community development director, said.
“It looks like the Watermark project adjacent to St. Clare Church in Shiloh is in District 90, and the other one, across from Tamarack, is in Shiloh 85. Both apartment projects are in OTHS (O’Fallon Township High School) District 203,” Shekell said.
Both developers said their projects would likely have few children, since their target demographics are young, professional millennial and retired individuals.
However, Shiloh Trustee Greg O’Neil was skeptical in comments directed at Wenzel of The Savannah project.
“This multi-family saturation is horrible,” said O’Neil. “This is going to be a huge burden to the school, and I’d like to know how you came up with your projections for how many kids?”
But while the number of children was in question, Shiloh SD 85 Board of Education member Holly Keller said there was no doubt the developments would mean more tax dollars for schools.
“Because of where Shiloh Public School District is located, we don’t actually get any money from Dierbergs or Target. So our money comes from property taxes within our small geographic area. So this type of development has the potential to give the school a good amount of money,” Keller said.
Fender said he thought the the area was “becoming over saturated with these types of developments,” siting Parkway Lakeside, Tamarack Woods, The Retreat at Shiloh, Green Mount Lake Apartments, Hartman Lakes and The Summit at Shiloh as examples.
Colleen Cox said she was concerned about safety near her home at the intersection of Cross and South Main streets. She said where the sidewalk ends, pedestrians often walk outside of the guardrail and in her yard.
“I’m telling you, this area is not safe. If you don’t put sidewalks there or expand that road, more people are going to get hurt. I don’t care if you put a stoplight in by Tamarack, not many kids are going to cross there, but they do walk that road,” Cox said.
Jim Stover, latest member to the commission and former Shiloh police chief, had his own concerns.
“I still have concerns with regards to both of these projects and whether they even fit with the village’s comprehensive plan,” Stover said.
The comprehensive plan on file was passed Oct. 6, 2003 with an amendment made Aug. 2, 2004.
The current comprehensive plan, under “High Intensity Residential,” states: “land use representing multi-family housing ranging from duplex, six-plex units and larger complying with the unit density of larger developments may range up to 10.45 units per acre. There is a particular concern in the residential land use within the planning area, the school districts and other taxing districts are of the opinion that this type of development does not provide sufficient real estate tax revenue to support required services.”
The Savannah is projected to have 13 units per acre, while The Retreat at Shiloh estimates 12.5 units per acre.
Concurring, Brian Manion, planning commission chairman, said, “Yeah, this is a lot to process.”
Board wants more information
Manion said he wants to know more about what the impact would be to the value of neighboring single-family home values if the developments were implemented.
Stover requested to be provided with additional information about the green space standard and requirements in multi-family developments as is relates to a community’s size and demographics.
“I think we need to really look at this stuff before we just push this through,” Stover said.
Howard Steffey and John Lee, commission members, agreed.
Lee added it might be better to wait on approval while the village hammers out changes to a new comprehenive plan.
Mascoutah-based Heartlands Conservancy hosted its first “community growth visioning workshop” to update the plan back in May. There is another one slated for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 26 at the Shiloh Senior Center.
“This meeting is going to happen on the 26th, and that concerns me. It’s almost like putting the cart ahead of the horse. I mean this is huge for the village of Shiloh, and I wanna make sure we dot our ‘i’s’ and cross our ‘t’s’ before we pass this on to the trustees,” Lee said.
The board will take up the matter again when it next meets. Planning Commission meetings in Shiloh typically take place the second Monday of the month.
Wezel requested Shiloh officials invite local school superintendents to the next meeting.