Bill No. 7099, sponsored by Ward 3 council members Dale Kling and Nathan Bibb was presented at the June 13 O’Fallon City Council meeting. Its approval would allow an indoor storage facility to be built and operated and rezone the land at 1160 Technology Drive near Hwy. K in the southern area of the city.
Another bill [No. 7100] would grant a conditional use permit [CUP] to Covington Land Acquisitions II, LLC, allowing an indoor storage facility to be built and operated in a C-3 Highway Commercial District.
At the June 13 meeting, Paul Langdon, vice president of development for Covington Land Partners, presented preliminary plans for the indoor storage building. A key part of Langdon’s message was the fact that the current landowners have tried unsuccessfully for a decade to market the property for retail use.
According to Langdon, Covington’s proposal is to divide the land into two parts, using a triangular-shaped portion for “an attractive indoor storage facility, designed to resemble a large office building, flex-space building or a large retail building such as a Best Buy.” He said the remaining symmetrical, rectangular portion presents retail opportunities such as shops or a hotel. The proposal was a way for the city to generate twice the parcel’s property tax revenue compared to retail property taxes, he noted.
The combined parcel currently is undeveloped commercial land with no structures on it that is surrounded by commercial uses. Lot A is about 2.38 acres and would house the proposed 31,335-square-foot indoor storage facility. Lot B would become an undeveloped 1.91-acre parcel.
A site plan, request for rezoning and CUP application was submitted in conjunction with the preliminary plat development plan for Lot A. A proposed cross-access easement would connect the lots on the northern edge of the property, providing access to Lot A from a proposed full access curb cut to Technology Drive. Both Lots A and B also would connect to existing retail lots to the east.
As part of the plat, the applicant is proposing a full access driveway connecting to Technology Drive.
If the two bills are approved, Covington will acquire Lot A and the current landowners will retain ownership of Lot B for potential future retail use still to be determined.
Both bills had their first reading and were open for public hearing and comment. Citizen comments included concerns about a three-story storage facility being unattractive and that the storage facility will only generate property tax revenue and not sales tax revenue. Citizens asked the council to focus on developments with the potential to generate sales tax revenue, given that the 2020 budget season is starting soon. One citizen remarked that the proposal would help the school districts with increased property taxes.
In addition to sales tax concerns, some council members critiqued the building’s aesthetic, noting that untinted windows would allow a view of inside storage units and that a storage facility does not fit well with the “high-tech corridor” visualized for Technology Drive.
Both bills are expected to come before the council at its next meeting on June 27.