New housing complexes meet early defeats

By Gus Bode

Several acres of land around Carbondale could soon be rezoned to provide more residential living areas.

The Carbondale City Planning Commission met Wednesday to discuss the preliminary rezoning of several parcels of land, totaling almost 100 acres, along the outskirts of Carbondale.

Dozens of residents turned out to oppose two rezonings, totaling 65 acres along North New Era Road. The first proposed rezoning would change land deemed as agricultural to PUD, or planned unit development land. Two gated communities, one for independent living seniors, would be built upon the rezoned properties.


“I live there, and I think the traffic would be horrendous,” said Dean Haake, an insurance salesman from Carbondale.

The first rezoning was requested by Arby Smith of RichSmith developments, who wanted to create an independent living community for senior citizens over 62 years of age. After more than an hour of citizens’ comments, the rezoning was denied by the commission.

“I can’t believe that the planning commission would not approve an independent senior living center every community loves that,” Arby said after the decision. “Obviously we’re disappointed, but we’re going to take it to the city council.”

The proposed senior living facility would include a fitness center, picnic barbeque area, library and theater.

The second major rezoning request, which was ultimately denied, was made by Dan Parrish, who wanted to rezone 42.5 acres of agricultural land to a PUD, in order to create a 338 unit living complex. Lewis Park currently only has 220 units while Aspen Court will have more than 300 when completed.

The Carbondale City Council will be making the final decision on these rezonings at the November 20th city council meeting.

A smaller, successful rezoning request was made by Juan Alvarez, an immigrant from Mexico City, Mexico, now living in Murphysboro. A 1-acre parcel of land off of North Oakland Avenue near Charles road was the land in question.


Alvarez said he originally lived in The Crossings mobile home park, but disliked the atmosphere, before moving to Murphysboro. Alvarez said he wanted to move his trailer home into Carbondale to keep his commuting costs down.

“I’ve gotten a lot of support in Carbondale,” Alvarez said. “I’m a painter and I get a lot of work here, plus they have good schools here.”

Another request, made by Dominic P. Cittadino, dealt with rezoning .881 acres of land adjacent to his property in order to build an accessory structure to his home, which lies west of the land. The request was passed with little deliberation and no opposition.

The final request was granted to Don Fike, who filed to rezone 25.63 acres of agricultural land and low-density residential to planned unit development land. Fike plans to build housing units along Westridge road, and though three lots totaling 13,000 square feet in his plan were rejected, the commission approved his request.

David Lopez can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 273 or at [email protected]