Instead of acting on a Park Ridge Station commercial overlay district, the O’Fallon City Council placed two ordinances on hold to give aldermen more time to discuss the issues involved.
At a brief meeting Monday, the council agreed to discuss their concerns about at the next Community Development Committee meeting on Jan. 8.
The council is considering amending the future land use map to add a commercial overlay district to the intersection of Venita Drive and Taylor Road and to zone 1205 Taylor Road as commercial real estate.
The intent when the city-owned property was sold was for a high-quality development to be built. The residential portion is on a 33.4-acre tract.
A 11,378-square-foot retail center, including a restaurant, is being proposed by Mike Wrigley, but no tenants have been announced. This planned use would rezone property from agricultural to planned community business district.
At the Dec. 18 meeting, the council passed the ordinance on first reading in a 12-2 vote, with aldermen Jerry Albrecht and Ned Drolet voting no. Drolet is concerned about the traffic density in that area.
The Planning Commission recommended it 5-1, but there was enough discussion to indicate more details needed to be worked out.
The city needs to determine if the comprehensive plan future land use map should be updated to add a Neighborhood Commercial Overlay District to the intersection.
The goal was to provide convenience and options for residents by allowing small-scale commercial uses that would be compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.
The area has changed dramatically since the last major update in 2006. The Family Sports Park is now to the east, and that is considered a major tourist attraction. The fire department has a new facility nearby as well. Before allowing any kind of commercial activity, changes to the map will be required.
The staff had already recommended limiting hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and that no gas pumps, video gaming or pawn shops be allowed.
One of the points needing further investigation is where to place a safe pedestrian crossing between the development and the park.
Sexual harassment policy updated
The council also approved a mandated sexual harassment law that all 7,000 government units in Illinois had to adopt by Jan. 15.
The new state law covers sexual harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct in more detail, and replaces any previous legislation cities, counties and governing boards had on record.
This is a response to the high-profile scandals nationwide that began unfolding in late fall.
The new law has four specific provisions prohibiting sexual harassment, detailing how an allegation can be reported, prohibiting retaliation after making a report, and addressing the consequences of both violating the policy, as well as knowingly making a false report.
Outdoorsman Lounge addition approved
In other action, the council approved a 600 square-foot addition to Outdoorsman Lounge at 127 E. First St. in downtown O’Fallon. The longtime institution wants to add a pool table and more seating. The facade will be brick like the other businesses in the area.
Alderman Jerry Albrecht voted no. He wanted local businesses to be more pro-active in applying for TIF funds when applicable.
In his report, Mayor Herb Roach thanked city services for their work under extreme weather conditions, “for stepping up.”
He noted that the volunteer O’Fallon Fire Department had been called out 28 times from Friday, Dec. 29, to Monday, New Year’s Day.
He has invited Fire Chief Brent Saunders to speak at the next Town Hall meeting, on Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Roach said educating residents on when they should call 911 and for what reasons will be a goal.
Two more sponsors have joined the Cityfest efforts — Jude Hopper Insurance and Wood Bakery. Cityfest is the new homecoming effort planned for August.