Planning and Zoning Meeting Agendas and Minutes
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Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting
PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION MEETING
AGENDA / briefs
1. Call to Order
2. Approval of Minutes
3. Z 13-03 – Zoning Ordinance Change
This petition proposes to amend the site development plan of the CAP Carpet project site to allow the construction of a patio/outdoor dining area adjacent to the multi-tenant building on what is a landscaped area of the site. This is being proposed because the Jets Pizza restaurant which occupied a portion of the building is in need of more outdoor seating than can be provided on the sidewalk in front of the store.
4. Z 13-04 – Zoning Ordinance Change
A petition has been received from John Henderson of American Arms at 15531 Manchester Rd., asking that Ballwin amend Article XIV of the Zoning Ordinance to make indoor shooting ranges a use allowed by special use exception in the C-1 zoning district..
5. Z 13-05 – Zoning Ordinance Change
Mr. Henderson is requesting that the allowed uses specified in the MRD Governing Ordinance (10-43) addressing this site be amended to include an indoor shooting range and retail sales and that the approved site development plan of the 3 lot U-Gas subdivision (approved per ordinance 10-44) be amended to accommodate the new uses on lot 3 of the subdivision. This petition is being submitted with the knowledge and concurrence of Tayco Seven Trails Drive LLC, the present owner of the property.
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
The meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission was called to order by Chairman Mike Wind at 7:00 p.m. Members in attendance were:
A motion was made by Mayor Pogue and seconded by Commissioner Utt to approve the minutes of the May 6, 2013 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as submitted. The motion received unani-mous approval from the Commission members present.
Swearing in of Members / Election of Officers
Reappointed Commissioners Karr, Schwent, Wright, and Weaver were sworn in by City Planner Thomas Aiken. Secretary Karr nominated Michael Wind to continue as Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission. The nomination was seconded by Mayor Pogue and received unanimous approval from the Commission members present. Chairman Wind nominated Frank Karr to continue as Secretary of the Planning & Zoning Commission. The nomination was seconded by Mayor Pogue and received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.
Z 13-03 – Zoning Ordinance Change
Alderman Boland asked how much green space will remain after the addition of the patio. Mr. Quigley said the landscaped area will shrink somewhat. Some shrubs will be relocated within the space, and a hedge will border the area.
Commissioner Utt asked if Jet’s Pizza has a liquor license. The answer was no.
Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if anyone wished to speak in opposition to the peti-tion. No one came forward. Chairman Wind asked if anyone wished to speak in favor of the petition. No one came forward, and Chairman Wind declared the public hearing closed.
Chairman Wind asked about a timeframe for construction. Mr. Quigley responded that it would be a month to six weeks.
Mayor Pogue made a motion to recommend approval of Petition Z 13-03 to the Board of Aldermen. Commissioner Utt seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission mem-bers present.
Alderman Boland raised the question of which petition to address first. City Attorney Jones said that Petition Z 13-04 should be considered first, because it would be inappropriate to make a recommendation on the shooting range development unless it first becomes a special use allowed in the zoning regulations.
Alderman Boland asked there are OSHA and EPA standards for ventilation and lead concentration; should there be specific criteria regarding decibels for sound issuing from the site (ventilation system; discharging firearms). City Attorney Jones said that since our inspectors don’t typically carry decibel meters, the Commission should avoid setting decibel criteria. What the City is looking for is whether the noise would disturb people outside of the site at the property line.
Commissioner Goetz said he feels that stating “the sound of the shooting should not be audible at the property line” is restrictive and inconsistent, because the sound issuing from car washes and tire stores can be heard on any given day. Chairman Wind noted that the sound of gunfire is much different than the sound of a car wash. Commissioner Theodore said that in today’s society, and the proximity to the park, no one wants to hear gunfire.
Mayor Pogue said that he’s been to a couple of the indoor ranges in the area. He asked Mr. Henderson to address how he plans to handle the issue of noise. Mr. Henderson said that the sound of the report would be extremely muffled; it would sound more like a pop. It is very restrictive to say that no noise would be heard from the gunfire and HVAC system. Mr. Henderson asked that the wording be amended to say “no noise beyond the normal noise associated with a commercial building.” He said that while the proposed HVAC is extensive and is louder, but that will be mitigated by the addition of a second roof.
Mayor Pogue said that he has been to the indoor shooting range in Valley Park and from the parking lot, he could not hear any gunfire. Mr. Henderson said that the construction of that facility is different from what he is proposing, and actually allows more noise to escape. He said his facility will be more sound-proof.
Chairman Wind asked Mr. Henderson about safety procedures and staff training. Since this is the first shooting range Mr. Henderson has built, where is his knowledge coming from? Mr. Henderson said he has been an active shooter and is ex-military officer, so he has been around firearms his whole life, with extensive safety training. Everyone who works the range will be certified as a range safety officer. OSHA and the EPA have standards for lead exposure and disposal which will be strictly adhered to. Extensive educational material is available from the National Sport Shooting Foundation and the NRA for shooting range and retail firearm owners and operators.
Chairman Wind asked who is responsible for compliance with these regulations. Mr. Henderson said that is his responsibility. The EPA, OSHA, and ATF have the right to audit his facility to ensure that he is following the rules. Mr. Henderson said he has to keep strict records and if he is found to be non-compliant, he would be subject to hefty fines. There is a financial incentive for him to follow the rules.
Alderman Boland asked Mr. Henderson to explain how the facility would be constructed and what kind of baffling would be used for noise mitigation. Mr. Henderson said in transitioning from the retail area to the range, there is a room used as an air-lock to maintain the negative air pressure in the range. This is done so that no air is expelled when a door is opened, but rather air is pulled through the door, so that all air is expelled through the ventilation system. It also acts as a sound baffle.
Mr. Henderson said construction of the building itself is all concrete, six inches thick on the walls, and 12” of hollow core concrete on the roof. Even using the highest-power firearm allowed on the range (a .30-06, or thirty-aught-six), a shot fired at a 90 degree angle might dimple the concrete, but there is zero percent chance of penetration. Annual inspection of the range will be done, and any necessary repairs will be made. Alderman Boland asked about the hollow core used for the roof. Mr. Henderson said that the hollow core concrete actually provides more structural integrity for the roof as well as added sound attenuation.
Mr. Henderson said that additional sound baffling will be provided inside and downrange. The steel backstop is fronted with 2-3 feet of fire-retardant rubber similar to shredded tires. This material deceler-ates the bullets before striking the metal backstop, which significantly reduces the amount of lead expelled into the air.
Commissioner Utt asked if Mr. Henderson plans to offer concealed carry classes with certified instructors. Mr. Henderson said yes, and noted that he is also a certified instructor. Mayor Pogue asked firearms brought to the range would be required to be cased. Mr. Henderson said that firearms would be required to be cased and unloaded before being brought into the range, and staff would examine the gun and am-munition.
Commissioner Theodore asked about the hours of operation. Mr. Henderson said that normal operating hours would not exceed 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. The only exception would be to allow municipal police officers to use the range prior to opening to the public.
Chairman Wind noted that the petition review report raised a concern about lead and air filtration. Mr. Henderson said that the ventilation system is designed to have a constant flow of air, so any particulate matter dispersed at the firing line is immediately moved downrange to a prefilter that removes heavy par-ticulates, and then through a HEPA filter to remove anything else. The air coming out of the filtration system is cleaner than the air at the sidewalk next to Manchester Road. A certified company will recover the rounds annually and recycle the lead.
Chairman Wind reminded the commissioners that Petition Z 13-04 will affect anyone wishing to open an indoor shooting range, not just this petitioner. He asked Mr. Henderson if he plans to move the retail store currently open in Gordon Plaza to this proposed location. Mr. Henderson said that is the plan.
Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if anyone wished to speak in opposition to the peti-tion. No one came forward. Chairman Wind asked if anyone wished to speak in favor of the petition.
Mr. Michael Rhodes, Ballwin resident, feels it is safer than an outdoor range.
Mr. Ray Kerlagon, 1146 Westrun Dr, supports the petition.
Mr. John McGuire, 112 Timka Dr, said he was concerned about lighting and noise coming from the proposed development, but those concerns have been alleviated.
Mr. Skip Clark, 115 Timka Dr, wants to have an indoor range closer to home. He feels there are many benefits to this development being in Ballwin.
Mr. Dave Davis, Ballwin resident, is 100% in favor of the petition. He feels it would be a good addi-tion for the City of Ballwin.
Mrs. Elizabeth Henderson, 339 Lakewood Ln, enjoys shooting, but has to drive to Arnold or St. Charles. She would appreciate having something close.
Mr. Mike Rhoads, 115 Robin Song Dr, Ellisville, has patronized Mr. Henderson’s store, and feels that safety is the ultimate concern of the staff.
Ms. Angela Dillman of 2057 Fiddle Creek in Labadie, said that Mr. Henderson is very safety-oriented, and has been researching opening this type of facility for years.
Mr. Ed Henderson, 339 Lakewood Ln, feels this is needed in Ballwin.
Mr. Brian Arnold, 317 Fox Hollow Woods Dr, is part of the design/build team, but speaking as a Ballwin resident, feels that this indoor range would be an asset to the community. Mr. Arnold also said that he feels having zero noise issue from the site is unreasonable. There should be a normal standard that applies.
City Attorney Jones said that St. Louis County’s noise standard is incorporated into Ballwin’s ordinances, and it starts at the ambient level. Any complaint or prosecution will be done under this code.
Commissioner Theodore said that she has concerns about having a shooting range in such close proximity to Vlasis Park. She said the Planning & Zoning Commission held a lot of discussion about the impact of Wendy’s and U-Gas and associated traffic so close to the park. She said parks are for families and a shooting range does not fit in that environment. Chairman Wind said that is a discussion for Petition 13-05; the current petition is to change the code to allow shooting ranges.
No further speakers came forward, and Chairman Wind closed the public hearing.
Mayor Pogue said he would like to discuss item #4 in the petition review report regarding noise. He feels there is an allowable level of noise, and asked City Attorney Jones if the St. Louis County noise code re-flects back to decibel levels. City Attorney Jones said that it does, and if the Planning & Zoning Commis-sion is inclined to make a recommendation to the Board of Aldermen, it should incorporate the sound levels that are already part of the ordinance. Mayor Pogue said that building up the walls around the HVAC equipment to direct the sound upward would help. He noted that no doors are planned for the north side of the building, so any sound escaping from the entrances would be directed toward the com-mercial area to the south.
Chairman Wind said that he has a concern with the sound of firearms disturbing the public. Mayor Pogue said that would be addressed on a case-by-case basis. It would be covered by the requirements of the special use exception. Mayor Pogue feels that this petitioner has addressed this concern with his plans for construction of the facility.
Chairman Wind asked Mr. Henderson if the CDC has any regulations that must be followed. Mr. Hen-derson said the facility is bound by the regulations of OSHA, which covers the staff, and the EPA, which covers the air coming out of the facility. Chairman Wind noted that under the CDC, the National Institute for Safety and Health regulates air quality. Mr. Henderson said he believes the standards for the EPA are more restrictive. Chairman Wind said that item #2 in the petition review report should be amended to read, “OSHA and the EPA.” Mayor Pogue asked if the petitioner is amenable to that change. Mr. Henderson said it may be easier to simply say “all applicable federal laws and standards.” Chairman Wind asked how the air quality is monitored. Mr. Henderson said there is electronic testing built into the HVAC system, but there is quarterly indoor testing and annual exterior testing.
Mr. Henderson stated that no one has more of an investment in this facility being constructed and operat-ed properly than he does, since he bears the brunt of the liability if anything goes wrong. He has made the commitment to invest the time and money to make this a first-class operation that is an asset to the com-munity.
Mayor Pogue made a motion to recommend approval of Petition Z 13-04 to the Board of Aldermen, with the amendment of items #2 to add “all applicable state or federal regulations” and #4 to reflect back to current City ordinances and County code in regards to audible levels. Commissioner Utt seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.
Z 13-05 – Zoning Ordinance Change
Chairman Wind asked Mr. Henderson if he read the petition review report. Mr. Henderson said yes. Chairman Wind noted that one of the issues raised in the report, regarding front yard parking, would have to go before the Board of Adjustment. Chairman Wind said he feels Mr. Henderson needs to resolve the items in the petition review report and resubmit his petition to the Planning & Zoning Commission. There are too many amendments to make to recommend approval to the Board of Aldermen.
Mr. Henderson said that he is in agreement with most of the issues raised in the petition review report. There are a few issues he would like to address, and invited Mr. Brian Arnold and Mr. Nathan Rau of KAI Design/Build to the podium to help respond to those issues.
Mr. Arnold started by addressing the building height. There are no inherent challenges to adding height to the building other than adding cost to the project. However, this building does not front Manchester Rd. Mr. Rau said that the primary portion of the building 20’6” tall, and steps down to 12’ in the rear of the building. He feels that requiring this building to be at a two-story height would be detrimental to the adjoining residential neighborhood. Mr. Arnold said the intent is to diminish any focus on the back of the building. Chairman Utt agreed with this. Chairman Wind allowed that the petitioner could redirect funds that would be used to raise the height of the building to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Secretary Karr said that even though this building doesn’t front Manchester Road, it will still be visible from the park and to people turning into U-Gas and Wendy’s. He feels the petitioner could utilize landscaping to enhance the building.
Mayor Pogue said if the building height is not added, there should at least be an extension of a parapet wall to shield the subdivision from the noise of the HVAC system. Mr. Rau said that the ventilation is actually under a secondary roof and will not be visible. The condenser will be on the exterior. Mr. Hen-derson said he has no problem with shielding the condenser.
Mr. Arnold continued, stating that item #6 addresses the 10’ greenspace between the parking lot line and the line of the interior roadway. He asked Mr. Steve Quigley to speak about this issue. Mr. Quigley said there is 12’ of landscape clearance along Seven Trails Drive, and 10’ across 2/3 of the interior drive. Where the shortfall occurs, the petitioner has proposed a retaining wall and ornamental fence. Additional landscaping can be provided.
Mr. Quigley also addressed pervious pavement (item #6 on page 6 of the petition review report). He said pervious pavement is not a viable option for this site, and the petitioner is instead proposing to address water quality with a vortex type device and then the water will flow to an underground detention basin. This detention basin would utilize perforated CMP pipe, allowing water to infiltrate into the soil before exiting the property.
Mr. Arnold addressed to page 4, item 10 in the petition review report, regarding the addition of 41 spaces on the parking lot. There is no way to do this. Mayor Pogue said he understands the petitioner’s position, as well as City Planner Aiken’s, but he doesn’t want to set a restriction on this business on the chance that it may fail.
Chairman Wind asked about the future retail floor area. Will that be owned by the petitioner? Mr. Hen-derson said yes. Chairman Wind asked if it was for retail for the petitioner or for another retailer. Mr. Henderson said it is his plan to expand his retail. Alderman Boland asked if the 55-space requirement for parking was for this use or applicable to another use on this site. City Planner Aiken said if everything moved up to the highest theoretical use, it would require 41 more spaces than the plan shows. He said he isn’t saying that the spaces have to be built. He cited previous issues with this type of situation for the Planning & Zoning Commission to be aware of potential problems if the parking spaces are not able to be made available and the shooting range is converted to retail uses.
Chairman Wind asked about the dumpster location in front of the building. Mr. Henderson said it was positioned there for easy access by the trash company. It will be screened with fencing to be consistent with the building.
Mr. Arnold said he feels the building setback and parking lot frontage issues can be demonstrated as hardships to the Board of Adjustment. Mr. Henderson said that the detention basin dictated where the parking would be as a building cannot be built over a detention basin.
Mr. Arnold said that the points that have been addressed are the only ones that the petitioner has an issue with. He is agreeable to all other points in the petition review report. Mayor Pogue said he would like to list those remaining issues for the record. Mr. Henderson agreed to the following:
• Provide 25' deep landscaped “rear” yard area where the site abuts residential uses in a rear yard con-figuration. The landscaping in this area is to provide 100% visual screening to a height of 6’.
• No wall-mounted light fixtures on the north, west, or east sides of the building; cut-off shields to be installed on all pole lights to prevent visibility of the lamp or lens from adjoining property. Utilize the same style pole lights as are already in place on the site.
• Provide a revised landscaping plan with more detail regarding species and size.
• Widen the sidewalk section to 6’ from 5’.
• Provide an irrigation system for landscaping.
• Provide site enhancements such as benches, fountains, artwork, shade structures, etc.
• Break up the large blank wall with architectural elements or landscaping to make it more visually in-teresting.
Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if anyone wished to speak in opposition to Petition Z 13-05.
Mr. John Wohler, trustee of Windy Acres Estates, is concerned about the location of this develop-ment. He feels it is too close to the park and major retail. He’s concerned with safety.
Mr. Henderson addressed Mr. Wohler’s concerns, stating that he chose the location because he wants to stay in Ballwin, and also be along the Manchester Road corridor. There are locations on Manchester that might be easier to develop, but they were not in Ballwin. He explained that firearms not being used should be unloaded and cased. Firearms will be visually checked by staff upon arrival and upon departure from the facility. The only exception is for concealed carry firearms.
No one else came forward in opposition to the petition. Chairman Wind asked if anyone wished to speak in favor of the petition.
Mr. Ray Kerlagon, 1146 Westrun Dr, supports the petition. He enjoys shooting with his family in a safe environment.
No one else came forward in support of the petition. Chairman Wind declared that the public hearing would remain open.
Chairman Wind asked if the petitioner would like to table the petition, given the modifications that need to be made – new architectural drawings, new landscaping plan. Mayor Pogue suggested tabling the peti-tion to allow the petitioner to go to the Board of Adjustment to pursue the variance he needs for the park-ing, and building setback. If he is granted the variance, to come back to the Planning & Zoning Commis-sion with the amended plans noted by Chairman Wind. Mr. Henderson agreed.
City Attorney Jones noted that a fifteen-day notice is required to allow for advertising the petition for the Board of Adjustment meeting, which is scheduled for June 19, so there is not a guarantee that it can be placed on that agenda. City Planner Aiken said the petitioner should come in to the office to file the ap-peal first thing in the morning.
Mayor Pogue made a motion to table Petition Z 13-05 to allow the petitioner time to go before the Board of Adjustment. Commissioner Utt seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.
A motion was made by Commissioner Utt and seconded by Alderman Boland to adjourn the meeting. The motion received unanimous approval, and the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.
Michael Wind, Chairman