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Murphysboro sign

Part of the efforts to spruce up Murphysboro included this welcome sign on Illinois 13 on the east side of town.

MURPHYSBORO — Murphysboro’s City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to change a zoning ordinance to allow a convenience store to expand.

The City Council voted to adopt the zoning change that would convert the strip of Walnut Street to business zoning, from its residential zoning. The change would impact from 2104 to 2136 Walnut Street on the north side and from 2101 to 2203 Walnut Street on the south side.

The council adopted the ordinance amending the zoning from an SR-2 to a B-1 Zoning District. The change would allow Casey’s convenience store to expand about seven to eight feet on each side, creating more storage and cooler space, Mayor Will Stephens said.

One alderman said he had talked to residents about the possible zoning change.

“Casey’s is an important asset to the residents in that area,” said Alderman Herby Voss, “and it’s reasonable to think that an expansion of that business would be an expansion of the benefits in the area that that serves, and I think that’s an important consideration.”

At the meeting, at least, the board's vote was disappointing for two women who live in the neighborhood.

Before the council's vote, Molly Alter told the council that she feared the change would cause a setback to changes in the area, such as the renovations and rehab some of older homes had undergone. She also expressed concern that the change might bring more traffic into the area, compounding problems she said she encounters with trash receptacles or delivery companies sometimes blocking the alleyway she uses to access her home.

“I just don’t think we’re interested in more congestion over there,” said Alter, who said she lived in the neighborhood for 14 years. “It’s a quiet neighborhood, even with the school. We enjoy it that way.”

Also addressing the board was Ann Wuest, who said she has lived in the neighborhood since 1971.

“Not surprised,” she said of the vote.

Alderman Dan Bratton noted that any resident bothered by a business’s trash receptacles or vehicles could always approach that business first about the concern and then refer the matter to police or code-enforcement officers.

stephanie.esters@thesouthern.com

618-351-5805

On Twitter: @scribeest

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Reporter

Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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