Plan to develop land in O’Fallon, MO sparks controversy

O’FALLON, MO - Controversy in O`Fallon, Missouri about plans to develop land near a subdivision.

Residents are upset because the developer wants to rezone the land from commercial to residential.

While some O`Fallon city leaders have already recommended against the plan the city council is still considering it.

Multiple O`Fallon residents oppose plans to develop nearly 22 acres of land just south of I-70 off Bryan Road.

There are just under 45 acres of undeveloped land in the area that is currently zoned commercial.

But a developer wants to rezone about half of it to residential to build villas.

Gloria Obermark lives in the nearby Magnolia subdivision and her home backs up to the land.

She doesn`t mind the area being developed but opposes the rezoning.

“'It`s going to cause a lot more traffic congestion. We have a lot of retired people, some that you know are maybe a little marginal on their driving. And it could pose some dangerous problems with accidents and such,” said Gloria.

David Spain worries about traffic as well.

But he is also concerned about apartments going up on the rest of the land in the future.

There was talk of apartments at one point but that never moved forward.

Spain believes rezoning sets a dangerous precedent.

“I don`t think a commercial development there is necessarily a bad thing, I just don`t,” said Spain.

The city`s planning and zoning commission recommended against the move by a vote of ten to one.

Members citing concerns about property values and the change being against the city`s overall plans for the area.

City staff has also come out against it.

O`Fallon City Spokesperson Tom Drabelle says the plan could be voted on at the city council meeting this Thursday.

It was tabled at the last meeting.

Drabelle says while the rezoning would allow garden apartments there are no apartments in the plan being considered and it`s unclear what might happen with the rest of the land.

Drabelle says city council members will take everything into account.

“They take the factors of what staff said, they take the factors of what P & Z said, they look at what the citizens say, and they also have to look at the common good for the entire city,” explained Drabelle.

Spain added, “Please listen to everything that we say, you know, and objectively look at it.”

O`Fallon city officials say the other half of the land not up for rezoning would remain zoned commercial.

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