County board to decide fate of St. Joe’s tavern

Pictured is the former St. Joe’s tavern property at 4179 Kaskaskia Road.

The Monroe County Board will have the final say in an attempt to resurrect the former St. Joe’s tavern.

The building at 4179 Kaskaskia Road has been vacant for several years after serving as a tavern for decades.

Tracey Morris, who operates Fourth Street Bar in Waterloo and The Tavern in Maeystown, has purchased the shuttered tavern with plans to fix it up and open as St. Joe’s Roadhouse Grill.

Potentially derailing this plan, however, is the fact that the former tavern property is zoned as agricultural because it preceded zoning classifications and was previously allowed as an existing use. But because the tavern has been closed for a number of years, anyone wishing to re-establish it as a tavern must first have the property rezoned to commercial.

“She was unaware they had to do anything with the zoning when she bought it,” said Mike Fausz, Monroe County Director of Mapping and Platting.

Morris filed such a rezoning request, with both the planning commission and zoning board of appeals voting against a recommendation for the change.

The matter was taken up by the zoning board of appeals last Tuesday night and failed by a 3-2 vote. About 20 members of St. Joe’s Zion United Church of Christ, located across the street from the former tavern at 4202 Kaskaskia Road, were in attendance at this meeting, as was a neighbor to the property.

Concerns were expressed by church members that tavern patrons may try to park on church property.

“The church made a big difference,” Fausz said of the zoning board vote.

The neighbor was worried about potential noise problems if the tavern should be approved.

The planning commission and zoning board votes are merely recommendations to the county commissioners, however, and the Monroe County Board will take up the matter during an upcoming meeting, most likely on Feb. 1.

“Most of the time they do follow suit with these other committees, but they are the final authority,” Fausz said of the county commissioners.

Morris posted on the St. Joe’s Roadhouse Grill page on Facebook ahead of the crucial county board vote.

“We are still fighting the good fight to get St. Joe rezoned back to commercial,” the Facebook post states. “We have provided the parking spots they are worried about. My problem is I have a love of taverns and I would hate to see St. Joe become an apartment complex.

“I think all of our taverns down that way — from Walsh’s in Burksville, Freeda’s in Renault, The Tavern at Maeystown, all the way down to The Rocher Pub and Lisa’s — we rely on summer business (jeeps, motorcycles) to boost sales and the more people we can get into the county spending their money, the better. Let’s keep them in Illinois on the Cahokia-Kaskaskia Trail and the wonderful Bluff Road!”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
HTC web