Public input on the planning of Shiloh’s future seems to have reached consensus that community members want “a centralized location” to go for entertainment and shopping.
“We have some commonality in that, I think… But there’s kind of a split, I think, on what exactly that means and what that looks like,” said Mary Vandevord, CEO and president of Heartlands Conservancy, the firm helping the village to update its comprehensive plan. “So that’s something we’ll have to work on over the next several months as we develop the plan and work through it with the planning commission.”
Vandevord and Tom Ashe, associate planner at Heartlands Conservancy, steered the village of Shiloh’s second “Visioning Workshop,” held on July 26 workshop at the Shiloh Senior Center. The goal was to solicit residents’ ideas as the village works through updates to its comprehensive plan, which was last amended in 2004.
A workshop in May had less than 10 people attend, but only two were not Shiloh officials. The second workshop, garnered about 25, seven being village officials.
“This is great to have more people come this time around and share their feelings on what Shiloh’s strengths and weaknesses are and what their ideas are for its future,” said Tom Ashe, associate planner at Heartlands Conservancy, the firm helping the village to update its comprehensive plan.
Lifelong Shiloh resident Thad Mueller attended the workshop with his wife, Andrea. The Muellers were among those who would like to see an entertainment district.
“But the infrastructure has to keep pace with everything else,” Than Mueller said. “If the infrastructure doesn’t keep pace, then it doesn’t matter what you develop, ’cause it’s all gonna be stagnated. You have to have the sewers. You have to have the roads and everything to maintain it, so you have to start with the underbelly and work out from there.”
Mueller also said we would like to see balanced growth between residential and commercial developments.
“Try to keep it all single-family residential and eliminate the amount of rental property,” he said. “I think the more you can (do that), the better you can maintain everything else.”
Greg O’Neil, a Shiloh village trustee, attended the workshop but sat in the back without participating. However, afterward, he said he agreed with Mueller’s feedback about housing.
“The old Comprehensive Plan we have from 2004 says, ‘No more multi-family housing development,’ but now we might be getting two big multi-family apartment complexes. So do we even follow our own plans. What will this one have?” O’Neil said.
In the 2004 amended compehensive plan, it states under ‘high intensity residential development,’ on page 18: “There is a particular concern in the village about the extent of new multi-family housing as there is already a fair amount of this type of 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 and The Retreat at Shiloh are the two recently proposed luxury apartment complexes in Shiloh. Neither has yet to receive final approval. The Planning Commission did not take action at its July meeting on zoning requests for each developement.
John and Jane McKee moved to Shiloh from out of state six years ago and said they attended the workshop because they think growth and traffic related issues that need attention.
“Traffic on Frank Scott Parkway and Green Mount Road is dangerous, and someone’s going to get hurt. People are using turn lanes to get around each other instead of being patient because of the long lines at certain times of the day getting in and out of subdivisions and the mega churches,” said Jane McKee said, adding, “If they develop Shiloh Springs off Frank Scott Parkway, it’s going to be a nightmare.”
Shiloh Planning Commission member Howard Steffey and shared his group’s ideas on what they envision for Shiloh’s future. His group members were other planning commission members John Lee, Jim Stover and Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier.
“Part of our vision would be to further develop our downtown area very similar to the St. Charles (Mo. area), where it’s mixed use, where you would have condos and townhouses and restaurants, kinda of old-town style,” Steffey said.
In addition to wanting more affordable property taxes, Steffey said his group dreams for more “pedestrian friendly” areas to be sprinkled throughout the community tied to Scott Air Force Base, especially through major intersections.
“Today, if you stay at the Drury Inn, you can’t safely walk over to Target. You have to get in your car and drive,” Steffey said.
“We aren’t sure if we will host another interactive workshop like this before we submit our Shiloh Comprehensive Plan proposal to the Shiloh Planning Commission over the next several months,” Vandevord said.
However, there will be more chances to the public to voice opinions before the final plan is ultimately voted on.
“There will be public meetings with them, so you’ll be able to comment as we go along,” she said. “We will be wrapping up sometime in the fall.”
What people say they want
Workshop participants were asked to fill out surveys, have discussions and identify liabilities and assets, as well as needs and dreams of the village in the two-hour workshop. Some of the main points and recurring ideas residents and officials attending developed included:
- Increasing the availability of pedestrian and bike areas linking Shiloh with other surrounding communities,
- Lowering property taxes,
- Having having a joint police, fire and municipality building or complex,
- Decreasing the frequency of multi-family housing,
- Having a village library and pool,
- Have a downtown entertainment and community district,
- Implement better infrastructure to coincide with rapid growth.