Letter to the Editor – Heitman Property wrong for development

Letter to the Editor Graphic   At the Shiloh Village Board Regular Meeting on Monday, August 1, 2016, the Trustees approved (5-1) the rezoning of property commonly known as the Heitman Property to permit residential development (Trustee Weilmunster opposed).

I live in a subdivision adjacent to the property being rezoned.  It would be foolish of me to think this property would remain unimproved with all of the residential and commercial development observed during the last 22 years of living in Shiloh.  I have come to believe this is the wrong place for this type of development.  Westwood Forum, Inc. v. City of Springfield (1994) established factors for local communities to consider when reviewing rezoning requests.  They are:

  • Existing uses in zoning of nearby property
  • Extent to which property values are diminished by the zoning
  • Health, safety, morals or general welfare of public
  • Relative interest of the public as compared to hardship imposed upon individual property owner by denial of zoning requested
  • Suitability of subject property for zoned purposes
  • Length of time property has been vacant as zoned, considered in context of land development in area and vicinity of subject matter
  • Need for use proposed by property owner
  • Care with which community has undertaken development planning

I am opposed to this rezoning because I do not feel it meets the criteria of being suitable land for residential development by placing future homeowners and the Village of Shiloh at risk.

I don’t know when ground will be broken, when building will start or if in five, ten, fifteen years or ever these properties will experience the impact of mine subsidence as property immediately surrounding this area has experienced.  But, if it does, I hope the Trustees and Village of Shiloh will be able to explain to future homeowners of this area why it was believed this property was found suitable for residential development when it was known this property was located in an area of active mine subsidence.  If they cannot, it calls into question the integrity and judgement of the current leadership of many members of the Village of Shiloh.

We chose to live in this area because of its affordability, location, schools and reputation for providing families with a high quality of living.  For most middle-class families their investment in their home is one of the most important financial decisions they will make.  It disturbs me that the leadership of the Village of Shiloh would jeopardize its reputation and the financial well-being of future residents by approving this rezoning request since it exposes both to potential losses from problems caused by mine subsidence – damage to property, declining property values, vacant lots, damage to infrastructure.

I don’t know what type of development is suitable for this property but I feel the Village of Shiloh made a short-sighted decision when approving this request for residential development on this property.

Christopher Busse

Shiloh, Illinois