O'Fallon Progress

Vinyl privacy fence addition hot topic at council meeting

The O’Fallon Progress

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The need for a 6 ft. vinyl privacy fence at a proposed Advanced Veterinary Care pitted the city code versus the desires of the residents, who feared that addition would cause more drainage issues and did not want it required in the rezoning amendment ordinance, which was up for final approval Monday.

The new business, at 706 and 800 E. Highway 50, will be a veterinary clinic with boarding and kenneling. Veterinarian James Bollmeier sought a proposed planned use for the 3.5-acre site, with two buildings totaling 21,000 sq. ft. of office space. It was previously occupied by Memorial Healthcare but had been vacant since January 2018.

The proposed development was going to utilize the existing buildings to provide veterinary services, including exams, imaging, routine surgeries, and overnight boarding. Bollmeier is also part of the Four Paws Animal Hospital nearby.

The fence recommended for the rear of the parking lot was separate from the one for dedicated dog-walking areas. Recommendations for lighting, parking and signage had been made and were being complied with, according to Bollmeier, who appeared before the council in the public comments portion of the meeting. Mayor Herb Roach remarked at how well-lit the property now was.

The drainage issues have been an ongoing problem, Bollmeier said.

“It doesn’t make sense. I think you’ll have more complaints if you put it in,” he said, noting he talked to Community Development Director Ted Shekell about it.

City Planner Justin Randall explained the committee actions, and that the staff was OK with removing the privacy fence.

Bollmeier could not attend the last CDC meeting because his son was playing Little League, so he did not know it had been put back in. Alderman Mark Morton said the committee was going by the city requirements and now that more information about accelerating the drainage problems had been shared, he supported removing the fence as a condition.

Alderman John Drolet, who has owned a business next door for 10 years, supported dropping the fence and Bollmeier’s plans.

“Memorial Hospital and BJC had allowed the property to fall into complete disrepair. I’d much rather see him use those funds for improvements to the property,” Drolet said. “There is plenty of buffer.”

Alderman Ned Drolet said access to the drainage ditch would be severely hampered if a fence went up.

Alderman Matt Gilreath agreed making drainage worse was not a good idea, and said they could work together through conversations, with Bollmeier being a good neighbor.

He said Jamestown residents were vocal in expressing complaints.

“If they wanted the fence, we would know about it,” he said. “This is an easy fix.”

Alderman David Cozad wanted the city to be consistent, but acknowledged the fence would likely be removed, and he did switch to voting for it.

“The reason it’s there is to take care of residents on the other side,” he said.

After considerable discussion, the council unanimously approved an amendment taking out the required fence, which had been previously removed by the Planning Commission but reinstated by the Community Development Committee during its city and staff procedures.

Alderman Gwen Randolph said she had received correspondence from people who did not support the privacy fence.



“Some of the residents did not want to see it,” she said.

The rezoning from “B-1” Community Business District to “B-1(P)” Planned Community Business District was also approved.

OTHER COUNCIL ACTION

In other action, the council approved the FY2020 budget, which begins May 1 and ends April 30, 2020.

Representing a 12 percent increase from the previous year because of several large public works projects planned, the proposed budget reflected expenditures in all funds of $83,968,042, which are equally balanced by revenues.

The council took care of tweaking a 2016 ordinance regarding public safety employee benefits and the administrative hearing procedures, amending language as recommended by the Illinois Municipal League to define “catastrophic injury.”

The state law, the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act, was enacted in 1997 to provide free health insurance benefits when a “full-time law enforcement, correctional or correctional probation officer, or firefighter, who … suffers a catastrophic injury or is killed in the line of duty.” It did not define what is catastrophic, so this ordinance would provide those guidelines.

Area communities that have already approved this new ordinance include Shiloh, Mascoutah, Belleville, Alton, Columbia, Waterloo, and Centralia.

The council also approved its intergovernmental agreements with the Shiloh Police Department for radio communications and computer-aided dispatch, and Fairview Heights for the Metro East Communications Center, also known as MECOMM.

They OK’d a contract between O’Fallon and Mediclaims Inc. for the processing, filing and management of emergency medical service claims and Code Red software.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Fireworks will be returning to the city after a long period of inactivity. The mayor announced the fire, police and parks departments had OK’d plans for a fireworks display July 7 at the Family Sports Park. Roach said people asked about their return frequently. It will be a stand-alone event, not tied to another activity.
  • The mayor will hold Saturday office hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 20. He will be gone the week of May 13, as he will attend the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Country Lane Produce’s request for a special event permit to sell flowers at 1790 W. Highway for multiple dates in April, May and June was approved.
  • Eagle TG’s special event permit request to place a weekly food truck at 1728 Corporate Crossing through the end of the year was OK’d.
  • Marie Schaefer School received a special event permit to hold their Fun Fest on April 26.
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