New Development Controversy Brewing in Local Town

New Development Controversy Brewing in Local Town
By: Carly O'Keefe

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. - Some members of the Murphysboro Planning and Zoning Commission say they feel duped after voting to approve a new development in an enterprise zone on Watson Road.
Members of the Zoning Commission say they were told the development would be senior housing which they felt would fit in with the existing assisted-living center next door.
Thursday the proposal was to come before the zoning board of appeals and many folks in the community as well as some members of the lower zoning board were there to protest it after they learned that it is not slated to be senior housing, but rather low income housing.
"If you go through the statistics for subsidized housing, there are usually higher crime rates, drug use, it's just I don't think that's good for the area with the elementary school right there so close. with the new Wal-Mart we're really trying to turn over a new leaf in town so businesses will want to come here, and I'd rather see a business go there than subsidized housing," said Planning and Zoning Board Member Stephanie Drone.
Developers with the Gandolf Group out of Minnesota say it was not their intention to mislead anyone, and they believe the proposed project would fit in nicely with the current housing and businesses on Watson Road.
"Providing this kind of workforce housing which is really targeted for families or seniors whose incomes are higher than are eligible for public housing, but still have a hard time finding good, adequate, safe housing that they can afford," said Vice President Bruce Larson of the Gandolf Group.
The appeals board opted to table the issue at the request of the developer.  Board of appeals members said it was clear there needed to be a public forum through which to address any public comments and concerns about the proposal.