VANDALIA — The Vandalia City Council is considering a proposal by American Legion Post 668 to move from their current location on W. National Road to the former Church of Christ building at the corner of Helke and National Road.
The relocation would require a conditional use for the “Club” on the property at 626 W. National Road. That use is a conditionally permitted use in the Highway Business Zoning District under the City Code.
Some nearby residents are opposed, however.
Harry Campbell, who lives on Koch Avenue, which abuts the property, told council that he opposes the move during Monday’s study session.
“My wife and I have lived in our home for 40 years and have lived in Vandalia for 62 years and we love it here,” said Campbell. “This is not about the American Legion – we do not object to the American Legion. We object to having it in our back yard.”
The city’s Planning Commission voted 4-0 to recommend the Conditional Use Permit at its January 24 meeting with some conditions including adequate parking, conformance to sign codes, landscaping and screening, repaving of the parking lot, loading and unloading of trucks in the northwest corner of the property, lighting being downward shining, and the closing of the Helke Road entrance.
Vandalia Fire officials have subsequently recommended that the Helke Road driveway not be closed.
During that meeting, residents also voiced opposition.
Joyce Orange voiced concern about possible noise and trash as well as the possibility of increased insurance premiums.
Emily Harker, in a letter to the city, voiced opposition as well.
“I am against American Legion Post #668 moving to 626 W. National Road,” she wrote. “This is because there will be more people, cars, noise, trash behind my house which means there will (be) more annoyances and nuisances. There is alcohol served and that does lead to disorderly conduct.This noise and nuisances will in turn affect my family.”
During the study session, City Planner Amber Holloway noted that a check with Vandalia Police found 14 calls for service attributed to the phone number at the post over a two year period, but not all could be attributed to the post because some were for medical and others were simply calls using that phone number and not for incidents at the post. All of the incidents were characterized as minor in nature.
In its application, the post noted that their “better attended functions generally tend to be during off peak traffic hours consequently the effect on traffic would be negligible. Noise would be minimal.”
The post also notes that they are moving within the same zoning code and “already abide by the purposes and intent of the zoning code and we already comply with the general guidelines and regulations for that district. We are open only to veterans, their families and their guests with the exception of when we are hosting a fundraising event for the community.”
The Vandalia City Council is scheduled to vote on the Conditional Use Permit at its next regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.