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Carlinville Council hears updates on Our Market, Community Projects

Enquirer~Democrat Reporter

There were several guests to the Carlinville City Council meeting held April 3. Carlinville “Winning Communities” and members of the “Our Market” board were present to update the council on some of the projects each group is working on. Carlinville “Winning Communities” also had a few items on the agenda to be approved by the council members.

“Our Market” at the Plaza Update

Chris Hartsook, President of the Board for “Our Market,” spoke at the meeting to give council members on update on the market’s progress.

Hartsook says that “Our Market” is ready for community members to become co-owners of the store by purchasing stock in the business.

Our Market at the Plaza has currently raised $30,000 of the $1,518,000 start-up cost. It plans to raise at least 20 percent or $300,000 through capital development with the rest of the funds coming from USDA loans and grants. The start up costs include the complete revitalization of the 30,000 square foot space at the plaza as well as the cost of all of the products.

According to research done by the “Our Market” group, there is $7.314 million in leakage in Macoupin County. Leakage means there is not enough supply within a 15-minute radius of Carlinville, causing residents to venture out of county to buy groceries. Our Market hopes to collect at least $2.2 million annually to redirect into the county.

“Our Market” hopes to work with local growers and producers to supply the store but are also working with wholesale companies to offer name brand products. Besides the local economic growth offered by a new business coming into town, several amenities that “Our Market” will feature were discussed. According to Hartsook, “Our Market” will feature a covered parking area to keep customers out of the weather, a drive-thru deli lane and a community kitchen that would be open to anyone and would help promote the cottage kitchen industry in Carlinville. Cottage Kitchen items could also then be sold in store.

The target opening date for “Our Market” is Sept. 30 of this year. A full business plan can be found online at

There was no action for the council to take, the information was only presented to provide an update.

Carlinville “Winning Communities”

Members of Carlinville “Winning Communities” were at the council meeting for two reasons.

The first, “Winning Communities” is consistently applying to grants for the betterment of Carlinville. Most of those grants require support from the City, typically in the form of labor. “Winning Communities” wanted to ask the council to continue supporting its efforts when seeking grants and work in partnership with the City to complete grant projects.

Secondly, Carlinville “Winning Communities” requested four signs be placed throughout town directing tourists to Standard Edition. The signs are being made at no cost to the city, their request is that the City mount the signs.

They also requested permission to place a brochure box on the west side of the inner Square to hold new historical brochures and Carlinville maps/walking trails that are being printed. The brochure box is a replica of the 1830s log cabin courthouse that was the Macoupin County Courthouse until the current courthouse was built in the 1870s. A location has not been determined for the box but it will be located on the west side of the inner square, approximately where the first two courthouses were located.

The city approved the requests. Funding for the signs and brochures came from a $10,000 grant from the Foreground Initiative Grant.

Zoning Code Ordinance

Three changes to the Zoning Code were discussed by the council, though the final decision on the ordinance was eventually tabled.

The first change was in regards to Zoning Section 40-4-5 (B), adding as an allowed home occupation, Short Term Rental Structures. The amendment reads, “Short term rental structure. A residence providing short terms stays and accommodations for up to 10 guests; in operation for more than 10 nights in a twelve month period. No services such as food, laundry or entertainment are provided. Short-term structure rentals shall not include motels, bed and breakfasts, boarding houses or food service establishments.”

The next changes regard the sign code exemptions. Section 40-7-2 added subsections (F) and (G). (F) states, “Sandwich board used for advertisement or promotion. Sandwich board not to exceed 12 square feet. Sandwich shall not black vision (drivers or pedestrian) and allow pedestrian or vehicular traffic without restrictions.”

(G) says, “Windless banner flags used for advertisement or promotion of special event. May only be displayed during business hours. Windless banner flags are not to exceed 12 square feet. Windless Banner Flag may only be displayed one week prior or during an event. Windless Banner Flags shall not block and allow pedestrian and vehicular traffic without restrictions.”

The last amendment to the Coning Code is in regards to solar panels. Section 40-3-13 list the exceptions to height limits. Three additions were made to that section. Subsection (C) reads, “Roof installed solar panels. No roof installed solar panels shall exceed the height of the building by more than three feet.”

(D) requires that any ground based solar panels not exceed 8 feet in height and will comply with all setback requirements.
Subsection (E) requires plans for the installation of any solar panel be submitted to the City for review and approval. Submission of those plans requires a $50 permit fee.

Alderman Bill Link addressed an issue with subsection (C), asking if solar panels on a flat roof would be held to the same height restriction.

Alderman Doug Downey, acting as the Mayor for the meeting, stated that they would but home owners could apply for a variance. Alderman Kim Harber asked about what the setback requirements would be. City Attorney Don Cravens replied they were outlined in the city code. Downey suggested the matter be tabled and the Aldermen should return to the next council meeting with any changes to the ordinance to be discussed.

Other Business

The City’s budget for the next year is almost complete. It will be published at least 10 days before it is set to be approved by the council. The budget will be available to view at Carlinville City Hall. A public hearing for the budget will be held on May 1 at 5:45 p.m. at City Hall.

The Carlinville Police Commissioners sent a letter to the council advising them that Tyler Hughes was hired as a Full-Time Officer for Carlinville, pending his military release in April. Jared Gansz was also hired as a Full-Time Police Officer for the City on March 29.

“Make Carlinville Beautiful” announced it will be holding another “Spruce It Up Day” in Standard Edition on Sat., April 22. Those interested in volunteering should meet at Tom Thumb Park at 9:30 a.m. For more information, contact Mary Tinder at 217-825-9699. Make Carlinville Beautiful thanked its sponsors Illinois Humanities, Lotus Wind, The Goodman Agency and Carlinville Winning Communities for the grant which made such work possible.

The council approved a request from Gina Bellm to block off 4 parking spots on the center of the Square on April 22 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to display a Ford Mustang that will be given away at the end of June. Bellm made the request on behalf of the Loomis House, Red Hot Slots and Prairie State Gaming.

The purchase of a lawn mower was approved for about $11,000.