After pleading with the Shiloh Planning Commission for explanations, residents begged the Board of Trustees to hold off on voting on whether to rezone the 169 acres off Lebanon Avenue.
“We begged and couldn’t persuade the Planning Commission to delay their vote, so now we are asking you to delay your vote,” said Don Gillum, of 3750 Boatmans Point.
His wife Pat Gillum said, “we’ve been down this road before, we come to the meetings and we ask questions and voice our concerns, but they never listen, or even answer any questions, and then they just move it forward. If we hadn’t been hear tonight what would’ve happened?”
Although the Planning Commission made a unanimous vote of approval to move forward the ‘Heitman Tract’ rezoning request for the Board of Trustees to review, a last minute change of heart by two trustees turned the tide against the request during Monday’s Committee at Large meeting.
Trustees Colleen Powers and Greg O’Neil both abstained from voting during the regular vote, but seconds later voted against the request after Mayor Jim Vernier called for a second round of votes by roll call.
O’Neil said, “I’m going to have to go ‘no’ on this one, there’s just too much to still review. What’s the rush?”
Powers, like O’Neil, said, “I think I’m going to vote ‘Nay’ on this too,” as she looked to those gathered in the audience.
“I think it’s irresponsible of local government to approve this area for residential homes knowing the mine subsidence issue exists. I’ve lived in my home since 1995, we didn’t know what was under the ground and now we, along with many of my neighbors on our cul de sac on Boatmans Point are experiencing damage from mine subsidence. But, in this instance, the village is fully aware or should be fully aware that the fact that mine subsidence runs north-south through that entire property,” said Chris Busse, of 3754 Boatmans Point.
He went on, “So to turn it into residential is exposing future homeowners and tax payers to further damage, issues and problems. The village has already had to come out and repair streets because of mine subsidence, that’s going to be a future cost the developer will not
Initially, Trustee Tina Warchol paved the way with her motion to approve the rezoning request, and Trustee Kurt Burrelsman carried the motion with a second. Trustees Mark Kurtz and Bob Weilmuenster were the other two opposition votes.
Weilmuenster said he wasn’t against the development itself, but wanted more traffic analysis, research and review of the possibility of mine subsidence on the property before making any decisions on changing the zoning.
Kurtz didn’t offer an explanation during the meeting.
“What does this mean,” Vernier quietly asked Terry Bruckert, village attorney.
“It was voted down. Denied. Didn’t go through,” Bruckert said.
Village Clerk Brenda Kern asked Bruckert if trustees were permitted to vote on matters that hit so close to home. Kurtz and Weilmuenster live in Meadowbrück subdivision, but Bruckert assured Kern and the board that they are still allowed to vote on the agenda item regardless of where they live, unless they are affected by the agenda item(s) in a financial manner.
“It’s really quite a shame. That’s such a nice development they’re planning for Shiloh,” Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said in tandem with Trustee Kurt Burrelsman, who voted in favor of the request.
O’Neil said after the meeting he feels more time needs to be given to trustees to review plans or requests prior to voting.
“I hope not, but I think we may have made some enemies tonight, but really I feel like there’s just too much being thrown at us all at once during these meetings,” O’Neil said.
Planning Commission voted for rezoning
With over an hour-long public hearing, the Planning Commission board voted unanimously in favor to recommend the rezoning application be moved to the Board of Trustees for review, despite the negative comments and the plethora of concerns from attendees.
“For all of you that don’t know, I live on Archview, sort of ground zero for these issues (that have been brought up tonight), so to speak, even some of my neighbors have spoken here tonight. I do hear your concerns acutely because I do have a one-year-old, and I don’t like the idea of a lot more traffic out there — I don’t, but what this commission has to consider is this is a rezoning request, and we have to stick to these factors, and every property owner has rights to use their property and apply for rezoning too,” Manion said.
The Planning Commission and Village Board of Trustees may approve the proposed items with or without modifications or conditions or it may disapprove the requests.
“Just because this is a big piece of land surrounded by a lot of property owners doesn’t me they can say, ‘no, I want to look out on a farmfield (still)’ and then the other property owner have these factors apply to them,” Manion said.
This could significantly amend, modify, revise, or alter the plan as originally filed by the applicant and could significantly change the impact of the proposed issues on surrounding property owners, including roadways, drainage, sewage systems, traffic patterns and utilities.
“From what we’ve heard and the knowledge I have of mine subsidence with my work with the county (St. Clair County), and this is not just an incidental issue — this is a serious issue, and I know this is something that will need to be addressed further down the line as the project progresses, and should be considered with much weight,” Kwiatkowski said.
“I also think consideration of an alternative traffic flow, which has been mentioned, rather than going through Archview Drive (because) we’re still going to have the deterioration of the roads and the noise the residents are going to have to live with,” Kwiatkowski said.
He also mentioned to the board he feels a left turn lane off of Lebanon Avenue is a realistic factor to be considered to be implemented at Archview Drive at some point, along with additional stop signs throughout the side streets to help mitigate speedsters through the family neighborhoods.
The majority of attendees live on Archview Drive and Boatmans Point within the Meadowbrück subdivsion off Lebanon past Valleyview Farm Lane, which is the only current access road to the 169 acres.
Johnson spoke up to inform the board of a compromise she feels her client would be willing to uphold — keep construction traffic off of Archview Drive to appease the attendees concerns.
Should an individual desire to be heard regarding the proposed items as filed or as to any amendments, modifications, revisions or alterations of the proposal, he or she should attend the public hearings, as well as the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees’ meetings, Kern said.
“We aren’t trying to hide anything from the public. We post the agendas 48 hours in advance of the meetings in accordance with the Open Meeting Act,” Kern said.