The O’Fallon Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional use permit for camping at O’Day Park at their June 1 meeting.
The group camping area in O’Fallon’s new 57-acre park will now go to the City Council for final approval.
The area of the park that will be designated for group camping is, according to city documents, “off the right-of-way and deep into the property” to “help preserve the rural character and scenic views,” and, they say, will not affect the value of adjacent properties.
Several nearby residents expressed their concerns about the inclusion of a campground at O’Day Park and asked how the city would address such issues as noise and lights. Concerns were also expressed about length of stays and other camping policies.
Cindy Springer, Director of Parks and Recreation, said that her department was still in process of developing an operational plan for the campground, but that it was intended for organized groups such as scouts and church youth groups to learn more about nature. The site, which she called a “mowed down green space,” will have water and electricity available, but will not have individual, pull-through spots for rent.
“This is not open camping,” Springer said. “Groups would have to get a permit.” The groups would generally stay for one or two nights and certain limitations, such as a curfew, would be in place.
“If there are any complaints about any group,” Springer said, “they won’t be back.”
Pending city council approval, construction bids should go out in August and construction should be complete by the fall of 2018.
The park, off of Highway DD, will eventually feature a community building, an amphitheater, a playground, and trails. In August of 2016, voters passed a bond issued to fund the development of the park, as well as improvements and additions to Civic Park and Alligator’s Creek Aquatic Center.