Proposal for union hall on Kerth Road meets opposition from nearby residents

Noise, lighting among issues raised by residents in petition

By Kari Williams

Eighty-four residents recently signed a petition opposing a conditional use permit, or CUP, for a union hall proposed to be built on the east side of Kerth Road.

Dave Coverstone, of Kerth Road, started the petition to oppose Laborers’ Local 110 Holding Co.’s request for a CUP in the NU Non-Urban District for 6.42 acres on the east side of Kerth Road and the west side of Interstate 55, roughly 130 feet north of Coyle Court.

Coverstone said everyone he talked to signed the petition, and, of those who signed, about eight or nine are union members.

Though union members who signed the petition are in favor of union halls, he said they did not want one in a residential area.

“Every single person we’ve talked with within 1,000 feet of that property was in opposition to this,” Coverstone said.

Issues addressed in the petition concern a liquor license, noise and lighting.

“We don’t think this is the right use for the property … This request does not uphold the integrity of this area,” Coverstone said.

The property is currently owned and used by the South County Christian Center.

Stephen Kling of Jenkins & Kling represented Laborers’ Local 110 Holding Co. in its request for the CUP at the March 19 public hearing.

He said the union has the property at 6006 and 6010 Kerth Road under contract for use as a union hall and administrative offices.

The union has administrative offices in Green Park, which would move to the proposed location, and a training facility in High Hill.

Kling said there could be additional uses, such as renting the facility to members or community groups for special occasions on the weekends, approximately four times per month.

The union hall’s use of the property will be less intensive than that of the church, according to Kling, and most of the activities will take place inside.

“The union plans to hold member meetings once a month for its members,” Kling said. “It’ll have administrative offices on site, but those are for administrative personnel and probably not going to exceed seven in number.”

Resident Mike Heck, of Kerth Road, said one of his concerns with the hall is what could happen in the future.

“It’s not intended to be a hiring hall today. It could be. It’s not to be used for a lot of weddings, maybe four a month. It could be more …,” Heck said.

Kling said the purpose of the property is not to house a hiring hall.

“It’s not intended, and if that’s a condition that needs to be in the permit, then that’s fine,” Kling said.

No on-site training will be done according to Kling, who said he is not opposed to such a restriction.

Additional traffic, property values and the impact of a business in a residential neighborhood also concern Coverstone.

“I don’t believe anyone in this room would want to have a restaurant or catering hall put in next to their house, and I don’t want that to happen next to my home on Kerth Road,” Coverstone said.

Don Willey, business manager for Laborers’ Local 110, said the current facility in Green Park is rented out for wedding receptions for members and those related to members.

Liquor is served after the meetings in about a 15- to 30-minute time frame, according to Willey, and a liquor license is not needed at the Green Park location.

Coverstone said he hopes the CUP request is turned down or has stringent restrictions.

“I think it shouldn’t go in there, but we look to your (the Planning Commission’s) wisdom for what the right thing is to do,” Coverstone said.

In a symbolic audience vote, six were in favor of the union hall and nine were opposed.

No action was taken last week by the Planning Commission on the CUP request.