Council approves rezoning for hospital

By Tara Kulash


Southern Illinois Healthcare requested Tuesday at the Carbondale City Council meeting to rezone 112 and 200 N. Poplar St. from residential areas to professional administrative offices in order to house a generator and air conditioning units to back up the hospital.

There were concerns about drainage, noise and lighting. SIH representative Tom Stewart said, however, drainage would be guided to Poplar Street and noise and lighting would be minimal.


Councilman Lance Jack said his main concern involved the noise level. Although it would get as loud as 60 decibels, Jack said if it’s a non-stop noise, it can become quite obnoxious to neighbors and keep them awake.

“I’m not really confident that this is going to be as quiet as we can make it,” he said.

Stewart said 60 decibels is the loudest the sound would ever get, and it would only be when the generators are on, which won’t be often.

Councilman Lee Fronabarger said his concern was that the property on 200 N. Poplar St. is on the list of potential historical sites and hopes at least the front part could be preserved, and council member Jane Adams said she agreed.

“I think preserving that house would be really important to the larger community,” she said.

Stewart said he would be more than willing to meet with someone to try to work that out.

The council voted in favor of the request.

The developer, Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc., requested to build a complex of 88 apartments just west of Lowe’s. The development would target low-income families and offer a pool and dog park.

Councilwoman Corene McDaniel said she thinks the housing development would be a great opportunity for the low-income families to find worthy housing with a pool and dog park. She said it would also be good because it’s so close to Lowe’s and a grocery store, so residents would have everything they need within walking distance.

Councilman Lance Jack said he agrees good housing is important for low-income families, but he’s worried about the size and location of the request.

“(Large complexes for low-income families) tend to become a burden on the services here in the community,” he said. “They’re desirable now, but a few years down the road, they are not that desirable. I don’t want to burden the city with something we can stop right here right now.”

The council voted four to two to deny the request. Fritzler and McDaniel voted in favor.

City staff also asked the council to approve a $4.5 million loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for a new water storage facility. With a low interest loan from the IEPA with 25 percent principle forgiveness of up to $1 million, the final cost of the project would be about $3.5 million on a 20-year loan.

The project would include a 3 million gallon water storage tank and connecting water lines to replace the underground water storage tanks at the old water treatment plant, according to the agenda item.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the item.

Another item included the request from city staff to create a new TIF district, which is a Tax Increment Finance district for downtown. According to the City Council agenda, TIF districts do not take away tax revenue from taxing jurisdictions that receive revenues from property taxes. It allows the city to gain taxes through increased property value and the city can reimburse a developer for its costs.

The district would run along the railroad track from south of Grand Street to North Willow.

The council voted in favor of the item.

The council also accepted two grants at the meeting. The Illinois Housing Authority granted Carbondale $250,000 to rehabilitate old and damaged homes in the area. The grant has been given to the city for many years and will be used toward homes in Tatum Heights, the Northeast and Northwest areas. The other grant amounts to $18,750 for the Carbondale Police Department to purchase a new patrol car. The city will pay for 25 percent of the cost as well.

Ted Meiling was also commended for retiring after 16 years of service to the city. He has been a housing rehabilitation specialist, a neighborhood inspector and Cedar Lake supervisor.

Before the City Council meeting, though, the liquor control commission met to discuss the renewal of liquor license for the Ice Box Bar and Grill because the state liquor license had not been renewed. The owner of the establishment, Kevin Kirkwood, said he did not renew the license because he didn’t realize it had already expired. The council voted in favor of the license renewal.

Blue Fish Liquor and Cigars requested a transfer of its liquor license to NeeKee LLC, which was also passed.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for July 17.