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Re-zoning request causes push back among neighbors

Enquirer~Democrat Reporter

The council room was full at the Monday May 16 Carlinville City council meeting. Multiple people were recognized and honored at the meeting including members from the Carlinville Fire Protection District. There were also multiple visitors present at the meeting to discuss a zoning issue.

Re-Zoning request

James Sr. and Mary Lauwerens, the owners of two properties on West Second South Street in Carlinville are seeking to have the properties rezoned. When the ordinance creating zoning in Carlinville was created in 2002, the properties, being the site of the old St. Mary’s Church and the former Catholic Charities building were zoned as Single Family Residential.

The request is that they be rezoned as neighborhood commercial properties.

During the Zoning Committee meeting held on Thursday, May 12 several parties made their objections known to the building being rezoned.

The Lauwerens’ state that the county classified the property as commercial at the time of purchase in 1996. When Carlinville began zoning districts in 2002 the properties were rezoned as Single Family Residential, which the owners were supposedly not notified of until March 21, 2022.

The request for rezoning asks that since the buildings have maintained ownership, use, and classification through the County that the Carlinville zoning be updated “to reflect the actual use of these properties.”

Elizabeth Toon, who lives between the properties in question, brought forth a petition along with the signatures of others in the neighborhood opposing the property be rezoned.

Toon in her argument, pointed out that according to the zoning code, Macoupin County Tax Codes and Carlinville City Zoning have no effect on each other, they are mutually exclusive. She also pointed out the properties had been zoned as grandfathered, nonconforming, single-family residential since 2002 and that according to the City Ordinance, “A nonconforming use occupying a structure shall not be exchanged except to a use permitted under the applicable district regulations.”

Zoning Administrator Brian Zilm, in his recommendation to the Zoning Commission, noted that there is a historical precedent in Carlinville to be zoned as Neighborhood commercial. Specifically he refers to 531 South West St. which previously house St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and has since held multiple restaurants and businesses.

After hearing all of the information from both sides the Zoning Commission recommended to the Council that they adopt the proposal that the properties be rezoned to Neighborhood Commercial.

Toon was present at the Monday meeting to speak directly to the council members asking they not adopt the rezoning recommendation. She pointed out multiple places in the Zoning Ordinance that she felt the council would be going against and presented a petition signed by some of her neighbors.

After both Toon and Rich Lauwerens, speaking on his parents behalf, presented their arguments, the council voted to adopt the proposal that the properties of 512 and 516 West 2nd South Street be rezoned. Only Alderman Downey voted against the measure, as he hoped to address any parking issues before the motion passed, while other council members chose to focus on parking at the next meeting.

Carlinville Fire protection District Captain John Schott (middle left), Lieutenant Mark Kanallaken (center) and Firefighter Chris Hopper (middle right) were honored at the recent Carlinville City Council meeting for their service. Awards were presented to them by Mayor Sarah Oswald (left) and Alderman Doug Downey (right). Enquirer~Democrat photo by Erin Sanson.

Carlinville Fire Protection District

Downey and Mayor Sarah Oswald presented three awards to members of the Carlinville Fire Protection District.
In April, a trailer caught fire with the resident inside and unconscious. The three firefighters, who also have training as emergency medical responders were able to retrieve the patient from the burning structure and begin life saving measures.

Captain John Schott, Lieutenant Mark Kanallaken, and Firefighter Chris Hopper were recognized for their actions as part of Oswald’s proclamation naming the week of May 15-21 to be Emergency Medical Services week in Carlinville.

Brigid Dunn of Girl Scout Troop #6826 was honored for achieving her Gold Award by completing a sculpture for a city space. B. Dunn (center right) stands with (left to right) her mother Jackie Dunn, father Matt Dunn, grandmother Joan Madell to receive her award from Mayor Sarah Oswald (right). Enquirer~Democrat photo by Erin Sanson.

Gold Award Proclamation

Brigid Dunn was also honored at the meeting for her work as a Girl Scout, receiving the Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. Dunn took on a project to improve the area outside the Carlinville Train Station by adding a sculpture to the pollinator garden. The sculpture is not yet in place but will soon sit among the various plants and flowers, beautifying the station and the town.

Facade Grant Recommendations

Brian Zilm presented to the council his recommendations for the facade grant. The grant recommendations were approved by the council with the exception of the grant that was to be awarded to Bruzek Enterprises LLC for $1,900. The applicant for that business pulled his application after the recommendation had been made to the finance committee. Several questions arose during the council meeting regarding unused grants. Ultimatly the council decided to approve the grants as presented and send the newly available $1,900 back to the finance committee to redistribute.

Other Business

The Budget for Fiscal year 2022-2023 was approved at the previous city council meeting on May 2. The council approved an amended budget on May 16, that included the historical data of previous budgets as was requested by a citizen. The budget for 22-23 did not change amounts, data was only added to the printed documents. The addition of the historical data to the budget was approved by the council.

The Carlinville Rotary Club requested permission to hold the annual Halloween Parade on Oct. 30, 2022, beginning at 3 p.m. The theme for the parade will be “Fairy Tale Magic.” They also sought permission to use City Hall as staging area for judging and requested permission from Chief of Police Dave Haley to provide orange cones for the staging area on the Square. The council approved the request.

Gina Bellm sought permission to restrict parking from 116 East Side Square to East Main Street beginning May 23, due to facade repairs taking place at the Loomis House. Parking would be restricted Monday-Friday for a minimum of two weeks as construction occurred. She added that Illinois Power will be disconnecting the power supply line to the street light in front of Mother Road Antique Mall. While the repair is scheduled to take two weeks, Bellm noted that strong winds and/or inclement weather may affect the projected dates. The council approved the request.

Carlinville Police Officer Derek Graham was at the meeting as the departments representative. He asked the council purchase the remaining item on the Public Safety Center equipment list. The items consisted mostly of needed furniture items and the council approved the purchase.

Graham also brought to the council’s attention a problem the Carlinville police have been dealing with in regards to oversized or overweight loads. The oversized vehicles were avoiding the square and traveling down side roads, which caused the police to be involved in escorts and traffic control.

According to Graham, in 2016 the city called IDOT and had a note placed on file asking oversize loads avoid the Square.

Graham asked the city start the process of creating an ordinance to join a website, he cited the program Oxcart as an example. The site connects to IDOT and would allow the city to show the route they would like oversize loads to use. The council approved the motion to begin an ordinance allowing the city to join oxcart.

An Illinois Alluvial Regional Water Company update was provided to the council. The update spoke of Attorneys’ Don and Joseph Craven’s presence at the meeting to discuss Carlinville’s outstanding bills. The city is currently being asked to pay $209,000, the invoices were given to the attorneys for review.


Linda Boente was appointed to be the Budget Officer for the City of Carlinville.

Tim Dickison was appointed to the Zoning and Planning Commission.

The Carlinville Library Board recommended Carl Ziedler be appointed to fill the Treasurer of the Board position. The council approved his appointment.