EFFINGHAM — The Effingham Plan Commission will hold a public hearing to rezone 18 acres near the Effingham County Memorial Airport for potential residential development.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

A petition to rezone property owned by Billy and Florence Genaust, now used for agricultural purposes and currently zoned non-urban, will be reviewed.

The Genausts want to amend the zoning from non-urban to multiple-dwelling district to allow for residential development. The acres are located east and north of 14018 East 1100th Avenue, also known as Airport Road.

Because the 18.15-acre property is located about a mile south of the city limits, Billy Genaust said he has 44 names of county officials and employees and Watson Township officers and trustees, plus other residents who are in support of the zoning change and possible residential development.

Even though his property is not in city limits, it still is situated within the 1.5 mile extra-territorial district that the city has zoning authority over, said Public Works Director Jeremy Heuerman.

Genaust added The Effingham Regional Growth Alliance had offered to buy the land from him for residential development, but Genaust said it appears that offer is off the table now due to how the property is zoned. The Alliance is an economic development agency that serves Effingham County.

He hopes another developer will be interested in the land.

Robert Bray, the newly appointed interim president for The Alliance, who started the position in May, said the talks for this project predates his involvement as its leader.

"There was an agreement (of some kind) to develop a residential area, but we found it didn't fit the city's Comprehensive Plan," said Bray. "So, we are going to look at other areas for residential development in areas that fit in with the city's Comprehensive Plan."

Bray added that The Alliance interest isn't just residential. However, if the zoning changes to fit residential needs, the group would consider working with Genaust again.

"We want to be a partner with the city in whatever development that's going on," said Bray. "We want to see Effingham grow. We will partner with the city or county to make projects happen."

Also, on the agenda is the approval of a preliminary and final plat for Butler Supply Inc., a plumbing and electric supply business, on South Willow Street, between Brentwood Avenue and Wabash Avenue.

The request is to replat part of one lot and all of three lots, creating two lots. The area is zoned general commercial.

Contact Dawn Schabbing at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews or 217-347-7151 ext. 138