Cities sure seem to like creating master plans, sweeping visions for the futures of their communities with restrictions on what is allowed to develop where.
Then city leaders blithely go about ignoring those plans if they think there’s enough money behind making a change.
Belleville just did it. Shiloh nearly did it. O’Fallon city leaders are pondering doing it, allowing a strip mall that would have a drive-thru restaurant where they previously called for residential development.
The spot is across from the O’Fallon Family Sports Park. It is in the middle of an area that is farm land, which their long-range plan said should become residential.
Then they trot out their standards for good and bad businesses in the strip mall. No liquor. No gambling. No pawn shops.
Only good businesses will be allowed in the strip mall, such as drive-thru food. Future homeowners can rest assured that a drive-thru is a good business, and will never generate traffic or noise or nighttime lights or trash.
If cities are going for the taxes, fine. Go for the taxes. But why charge taxpayers to form a plan that will be ignored, then break the implied promise that led a developer to plan a subdivision there.
Better to declare it’s the wild West and never guarantee residents will know who or what their next neighbor might be. Buy a home, or develop a subdivision, at your own financial risk.