O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon City Council shows support for $30 million retail development

A $30 million project, The Shops at Richland Creek, has moved one step closer to reality after the O’Fallon City Council unanimously approved three ordinances Monday, but a decision on the creation of a 1 percent business district has been delayed.

Mayor Herb Roach said he pulled the 1 percent sales tax ordinance for first reading so the aldermen would have more time to research and discuss the proposal.

“That way we can explain it more in-depth,” he said.

It returns to the Community Development Committee for discussion Monday.

The developer would be allowed to collect up to an additional 1 percent sales tax within the development, which is an additional tax on retail goods above and beyond what is currently collected in the city. This is not a sales tax rebate, the mayor said.

The 17.23-acre mixed use development is located on the southwest corner of Green Mount Road and Central Park Drive and extends south to include frontage on Frank Scott Parkway. No tenants have been announced.

The initial phase includes three buildings, totaling 17,800 square feet of retail and restaurant development on one lot. The remaining seven lots would be for various other retail, hospitality and service-type uses.

The site includes providing a public street connecting Frank Scott Parkway to Central Park Drive, with a signalized intersection at both Frank Scott Road and Central Park Drive. The city has worked with the developer to add language for the construction of a west-bound thru lane on Central Park Drive.

The development will also construct private drives to provide access to the other seven lots associated with The Shops at Richland Creek, including a right-in, right-out on Central Park Drive and cross-access to the retail strip center and the Bank of Edwardsville/Busey Bank lots along Green Mount Road.

The developer has worked together with surrounding property owners to address the cross access and site circulation between the project site and the adjoining properties.

Ordinances expected to get the go-ahead at the July 15 meeting include planned use zoning, establishing and designating the Central Park/Green Mount Business District and approval of its plan, and the redevelopment agreement for the TIF incentive.

Applicant Geren Moor of Franklin Land Associates had requested approval for rezoning from Commercial Business District to Planned Commercial Business District at the May 14 Planning Commission meeting.

The TIF portion of the redevelopment agreement allows for 50 percent of the property tax increment generated by the property to be returned to the property owner, as the project is located within the Central Park TIF.

The developer has estimated $5,360,000 in TIF eligible costs and $8,875,000 in Business District eligible costs associated with the proposed $30 million project. However, the total amount of these costs to be recovered by O’Fallon Investment Partners is ultimately dependent upon final taxable value of the building when the project is complete and based on the 1 percent business district tax revenue.

A public hearing took place at the meeting. Jeff Pape, managing director of GBT Realty’s shopping centers and diversified divisions, said he was there to answer any questions, as was Mike Weber, a director at PGA Planners in St. Louis, an architect firm.

GBT Realty Corporation, based in Brentwood, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, has specialized in retail developments since 1990 and is now the annual leader of net lease developments in the U.S. GBT has been involved with the development, construction, leasing and management of more than 37 million square feet of retail, valued at $7 billion.

Charlie Pitts, an O’Fallon resident in favor of the project, was the sole citizen to speak at the hearing. He stated he had no financial ties to the proposal.

“I think it is a good plan, well-planned, well-structured. It’s a good way forward for the next 20 years,” he said. “That development is good for that area and will be a way to add tax dollars to the city.”

On June 24, the developers met again with the Community Development Committee, which unanimously moved it forward to council, and first viewed the proposal May 28.

Council seeks feedback on cannabis

A Town Hall meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. July 10 at City Hall. The mayor encouraged all citizens to attend, stating he would like to hear from residents on recent laws the state legislature passed.

“I would love to get feedback,” Roach said, noting the sale of cannabis and new gambling laws.

“We’ve done a great deal of study on the sale of cannabis,” he said.

Roach said Van Hook, City Administrator Walter Denton and Assistant City Administrator Grant Litteken have researched the topic.

“We’d like to know what you think and what O’Fallon might be doing with it,” he said.

The council’s Committee of the Whole meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, July 29.

Freedom of Information Software

City Clerk Jerry Mouser announced a new Freedom of Information software package is now in use by the city.

“It will streamline transparency of our records,” he said. “We’ve had an increase in FOIA requests, and this will help us keep pace with that.”

The link is on the website under the City Clerk department.

Deputy City Clerk Maryanne Schrader said 170 requests were received last year. They had averaged about 80-85.

The new software was tested about six months ago, and went into effect June 17, she said.

“It will help us find emails quicker. I think it will really help. Our goal is to provide information. I’m excited about it,” Schrader said.

Schrader said they like to have a one-to-three-day turnaround after a request is made.

“We want to make sure we are within the five-day range the statute says,” she said.

Council tackles parking changes

The council approved an ordinance amending No Parking and Limited Parking Zones regarding Agnes and Weber Road. The parking around OTHS was discussed at the May Public Safety Committee meeting, prompting a proposal to repeal and amend the current parking schedule ordinance.

The proposal is to amend the parking prohibition on Weber Road, Agnes Drive, and Edna Drive to “restricted parking.” This amendment would restrict parking between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on days when school is in session.

More parking changes were advanced to the next city council meeting for approval. The 100 block of East First Street is currently only one-way in an eastbound direction. This requires all vehicles exiting this block to travel east to Vine Street. The addition of O’Fallon Station has increased pedestrian volume at this intersection. Two-way traffic on the 100 block of East First Street would allow exiting vehicles to travel west toward Lincoln Avenue, which will decrease the traffic at the intersection of Vine and East 1st Street.

This will also make the intersection safer for pedestrians. The width of the roadway is wide enough to accommodate this change and the parking on the north side of the street can be reconfigured to 90-degree parking.

The council agreed to purchase 10 gearboxes for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Oxidation Ditch from Motor, Pump and Services in the amount of $299,500.

The oxidation ditch has been in continuous operation since the wastewater treatment plant upgrade in 1997. The gearboxes that operate the aeration discs need to be replaced due to years of constant use. Two of the gearboxes failed last year and were replaced as an emergency. The new gearboxes have a better design that allows for easier and safer maintenance. This is a sole source item from the supplier that is the local representative for the equipment