Planning and Zoning Meeting Agendas and Minutes

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Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Agenda click here


Meeting Minutes

October 4, 2010

The meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission was called to order by Chairman Michael Wind at 7:02 p.m.  Members in attendance were:
PRESENT                                                      ABSENT
Chairman Michael Wind                          Commissioner Sue Theodore
Secretary Frank Karr                                 Commissioner Mike Utt
Commissioner Pat Apel 
Commissioner John Schwent 
Commissioner Mark Weaver 
Commissioner Chris Wright 
Alderman Frank Fleming 
Mayor Tim Pogue  
Assistant City Administrator Thomas Aiken 
City Engineer Gary Kramer 
City Attorney Robert Jones 

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Secretary Karr and seconded by Mayor Pogue to approve the minutes of the Au-gust 2, 2010 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as submitted.  The motion received unanim-ous approval from the Commission members present. 

Z 10-06 – Zoning Change (Add Manchester Rd Revitalization Overlay Zoning)
SUB 10-03 – Subdivision
  U-Gas Development, 14799 Manchester Rd, Ballwin MO  63011
  Petitioner:  Mr. William Biermann, WB Biermann Co, 1795 Clarkson Rd, Chesterfield MO 63017

Mr. Bill Biermann presented the proposal to the Commission.  He introduced Paul and Craig Taylor, owners of U-Gas; Steve Quigley of Clayton Engineering; and Julie Nolfo of Crawford, Bunte & Bram-meier, traffic engineers.

Mr. Biermann said that of the four gas stations located in the City of Ballwin, only two are full service convenience stores.  From Hwy 141 to west of Clarkson Road, there is only one gas station on the north side of Manchester Rd, forcing westbound drivers to make a left turn if they need gas. 

Mr. Biermann described the site and the surrounding developments.  He said this property falls within the Manchester Road Revitalization District (MRD) recommended by the City’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan.  Mr. Biermann said he has worked diligently with City staff to develop a plan that is consistent with the intent of the MRD as well as those of the Great Streets Initiative.  Mr. Biermann noted that, as a result of the preliminary traffic study, the plans he is presenting have evolved slightly from those the Commission members received in their packets.  The major changes involve Seven Trails Drive and the removal of the internal roadway off of Manchester Road, between Lots A and B.

Mr. Biermann stated that he is proposing to split the existing parcel into three lots, with the most intense uses closer to Manchester Road.  This petition deals primarily with Lot A.  Lot B is envisioned to be retail, fast food, or a bank; Lot C is envisioned to be an office building, creating a transition from Manchester Road to the residences on Timka Drive. 

Mr. Biermann said that, as part of the proposal, the site would be graded down to roughly the same level as Manchester Road.  This petition proposes to build a 5460 square foot convenience store oriented north/south and facing Seven Trails Drive.  This orientation will allow superior traffic flow and be more aesthetically pleasing from Manchester Rd.  Nine pumps are proposed, and the building has been designed to be 34’ tall, giving a greater presence and mimicking the look of a two-story building. 

A detached car wash is proposed for the north side of this lot, and will match the convenience store archi-tecturally.  Mr. Biermann noted that the car wash is oriented east/west, so the bulk of the sound would come from the west end of the car wash. Decibel readings provided from the car wash manufacturer es-tablish that from 60’ away, the decibel level would be 64, so the sound from the car wash should not im-pact the residential neighborhood, which is 300’ to the north.  Another concern regarding the car wash was queuing.  Mr. Biermann said that space for 15-car stacking has been provided.  He said the petition review report recommended the hours of the car wash be limited to 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Mr. Biermann spoke to the changes in the plan as a result of the traffic study.  An additional left turn lane and a dedicated right turn lane have been added to Seven Trails Drive, causing the development to be shifted to the east.  As a result, the internal road accessing the site from Manchester Road was removed.  Per the traffic study, any development that increases traffic to this site would require the improvements to Seven Trails Drive.  The intersection currently functions at a failing level during peak traffic periods.  The petitioner will work with the City to widen the roadway and create the additional left turn lane.  Mr. Bi-ermann said that the petitioner is proposing to acquire property from MoDOT as well as the City of Ball-win, in exchange for the improvement to Seven Trails Drive.

Mr. Biermann said that the proposed internal roadway from Seven Trails drive into the site follows the master plan of the Great Streets Initiative for Manchester Road.  He said he tried unsuccessfully to acquire more property to the east to bring that vision to life.  Mr. Biermann said pedestrian pathways have been provided for in the site plan, as well as green space and landscaping that either meets or exceeds the City requirements.   

Chairman Wind said that he feels the ugliest sides of the building (the side and the back) will be exposed to the traveling public on Manchester Rd.  Why was it situated this way?  Steve Quigley of Clayton Engi-neering responded that part of the reason for siting the building this way was due to traffic issues and the City of Ballwin’s standards for access management. 

Chairman Wind asked about the request for donation of Ballwin right-of-way.  Mr. Biermann said he feels it is a fair trade, since the petitioner will be making the road improvements and adding a significant inter-nal roadway.  Mayor Pogue said that at the last Board of Aldermen meeting, the situation of donating property on Ries Road was brought up, and the Board of Aldermen’s recommendation was to come to a lease agreement between the City and that individual. 

Commissioner Wright stated that he works for a U-Gas competitor, but feels that he can be unbiased in this discussion.  He asked if having the building turned sideways is the safest way for U-Gas employees to work.  Having the front oriented to Manchester would allow passing traffic to see inside the store. Mr. Biermann said that the store’s interior would be visible to cars on Seven Trails Drive as well as eastbound traffic on Manchester. 

Secretary Karr said that this is the highest point in Ballwin, and the two-story office building will have a good view of West County.  This will make the property marketable.  Mr. Quigley said the front of the property will be graded down approximately 8’ for better access from Manchester Road, and to bring the internal access road down to where it can be extended to the east.

Chairman Wind asked if the petitioner is agreeable to paying the sidewalk reimbursement.  Mr. Biermann said yes. He also agreed to the site illumination recommendations in the petition review report.  Chairman Wind asked about the petitioner’s position on LED lighting.  Mr. Quigley said that is the standard lighting for new U-Gas stores.

Chairman Wind asked if the petitioner plans to use pervious pavement.  Mr. Quigley said there are no plans to do so due to the number of cars and trucks that will use the site.  Pervious pavement does not have the structural strength to withstand the weight of semi trucks.  Mr. Quigley said there are some areas of pavement where rain gardens may be utilized where slopes allow. 

Secretary Karr asked if the location shown for the proposed detention pond is the only appropriate loca-tion.  Mr. Quigley said that is the most likely placement, as that is the low point of the site.

Mayor Pogue noted that the petition review report discusses the pervious pavement as a “best manage-ment practice.”  Mr. Quigley agreed, but said that the use of rain gardens, as well as proper detention, is also acceptable practices.  He said the site currently has no detention.  Secretary Karr asked if an MSD report is forthcoming.  Mr. Quigley said it will come with the construction drawings.

Commissioner Wright asked how many MPDs there will be.  Mr. Quigley said there will be nine; the one farthest north has been removed from the plan.  Commissioner Wright asked if any of the pumps will be ADA compliant.  There isn’t one called out on the plan as such.  Mr. Quigley said the petitioner is cur-rently working with their attorneys on that.

Alderman Fleming asked City Planner Aiken how the revised plan is affected by the variance that has already been granted by the Board of Adjustment.  Mr. Aiken said city ordinance requires that not more than 50% of the site’s parking lot is allowed to adjoin a right-of-way.  While the revised plan probably provides for more green space than the original, the petitioner will still need the variance.  City Attorney Jones said that the new plan does not affect the variance, because they need less of a variance. 

Chairman Wind asked the car wash was a manned facility.  Mr. Quigley said the car wash is available for purchase at the pump or at the entrance to the wash.  Chairman Wind asked City Planner Aiken if that is in compliance with city ordinance.  Mr. Aiken said that he understood this to be an extension of the 24-hour manned facility.  He said he feels the ordinance that discusses “unmanned car wash facilities” refers to the type that a person would take the wand and manually wash their own car, with no attendant on site.  Mr. Craig Taylor of U-Gas described how the car wash works.  He said there is no attendant to wash or dry the car, but there is always a c-store employee on site if the customer needs assistance at the payment box.  City Attorney Jones reviewed the C1 zoning ordinance, and said the only fair interpretation of “self-service” would be to mean that the equipment is operated by the customer.  In this case, the equipment is not being operated by the customer.

Mayor Pogue asked about the length of the queuing lane for the car wash.  Mr. Quigley said it is approx-imately 250 feet, which holds 11 of the 15 cars required.  Mr. Taylor said there are very few days out of the year that cars stack up that much.  Mayor Pogue said he has seen other car washes on Manchester Road queue out that deep, and he is concerned that traffic will back up onto Manchester Road if that is the case with this site.  Mr. Quigley said there will be a stop bar to prevent that occurrence.

Mayor Pogue asked the reason for the continuation of the road that goes around the car wash to the north.  Mr. Quigley said that is in the event that the car wash is closed for some reason, cars can continue on and exit.  Mayor Pogue asked about the spur shown on the plans.  Mr. Quigley said that is where the trash enclosure will be.  Mayor Pogue raised the concern that a trash truck will have to wait in the car wash line to reach the enclosure.  Mr. Quigley said that the trash pick-up can be scheduled between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m., when the car wash is closed. 
Mayor Pogue said that he would like to see the car wash hours limited to 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Mr. Taylor said he would like to have the car wash open until 11:00 p.m., but he is willing to agree to the earlier closing time.  He would like the opportunity to revisit this topic after Lot C has been developed.

Chairman Wind asked about the traffic study and the number of parking spaces.  City Planner Aiken said his concern was that they had more parking than was necessary. The MRD and Great Streets Initiative both emphasize the need for not building parking spaces that are only needed seasonally.  This was not addressed in the traffic study, because there was not time to do so and have the report in time for this meeting.  Mr. Aiken said he does not have a problem with the Commission recommending approval of the petition if it is in agreement with all other aspects of the plan.  Mr. Quigley said this issue is being ad-dressed in the final traffic study.

Mayor Pogue asked about the width of the crosswalks and sidewalks.  Mr. Quigley said that these have been revised to comply with the recommendations of the petition review report.  Mayor Pogue asked about the recommendation for parallel parking on the north side of the east/west roadway.  Mr. Quigley said the petitioner would like to reserve that for when Lot C is developed.  Mr. Biermann said the peti-tioner is willing to explore parallel parking at that time.

Secretary Karr asked about the traffic study in relation to additional turn lanes on Manchester Road.  Ms. Julie Nolfo of Crawford, Bunte, & Brammeier (CBB), said that MoDOT access management guidelines dictate that a westbound right turn lane is needed to turn onto Seven Trails Drive.  This is irrelevant to the development; it is due to existing volumes going through that intersection.  Due to time constraints in getting this report compiled for this meeting, only the items pertinent to the discussion of this petition were presented.  The complete impact study is not included in this information.  The information pre-sented tonight will be supplemented with information on queuing, parking, and a twenty-year build-out projection per MoDOT’s request.

One of MoDOT’s requirements was the angled access to the site directly from Manchester Road.  This will allow traffic to enter the site from Manchester Road at a higher speed than a hard right turn would permit.  Mayor Pogue asked if approval for the access from Manchester Road was based on the north/south through street that was on the original plan, because now there is a greater than 90 degree turn to access Lot B.  Ms. Nolfo said that she doesn’t feel the harder turn into Lot B is a concern.  Mayor Po-gue said he feels that this is major consideration.  Chairman Wind asked if the traffic study is based on the assumption of specific users, i.e. a fast food restaurant that will not be open for breakfast.  Ms. Nolfo said CBB was given those parameters, and performed the study accordingly.

Secretary Karr asked how many cars the eastbound left turn lane will hold.  Ms. Nolfo said there is ade-quate capacity for queuing. 

Alderman Fleming asked about the grading for service levels.  Ms. Nolfo said that something with a ser-vice level A will have minimal to nonexistent delays, while a service level F will have extremely long delays.  She said the overarching goal of the traffic impact analysis is to quantify the impact of any devel-opment and, if possible, mitigate the impact to maintain conditions to what they were prior to the devel-opment.  The intersection of Ries Rd/Seven Trails Drive and Manchester Road is running on 150-second cycle length in the afternoon peak period.  Of that, only eighteen seconds are devoted to the southbound approach to Seven Trails.  This means that the intersection presently has an unacceptable level of service at this time.  The road improvements proposed by the petitioner will maintain or slightly improve the level of service.  MoDOT has no plans to give any additional time of the cycle length to Seven Trails Drive.

Alderman Fleming asked City Engineer Gary Kramer and City Planner Aiken if it is feasible to make these road improvements, due to the topography west of Seven Trails Drive.  City Engineer Kramer said that physically the road could be widened, but a significant retaining wall will be required.

Alderman Fleming voiced concern about cars turning left from the proposed development onto Seven Trails Drive and the traffic that will be going south on Seven Trails Drive coming to that intersection.  Ms. Nolfo said the preliminary study includes data for the left turn onto Seven Trails Drive, which shows that it will not be problematic.  She said the study can be expanded to include sight distances to ensure those turning left have adequate visibility to oncoming traffic.

Mayor Pogue asked when the traffic counts were taken.  Ms. Nolfo said they were done in September.  Mayor Pogue asked if it was taken into account that September is a slower time for Vlasis Park, because school is in session.  Ms. Nolfo said that when school is in session, parks traffic is lower, and vice versa.   Historically, there is not much difference between summer and non-summer months.  Mayor Pogue res-pectfully disagreed.

Mayor Pogue asked if there would be an issue with cars that are leaving the gas station backing up due to long lines on the internal access road of those making left turns onto Seven Trails.  Ms. Nolfo said at the peak time in the afternoon, the queue reached 40 feet, which is about where the driveway is located.  This takes into account the build-out of the site, not just the gas station.

Mayor Pogue asked if the traffic study takes into account the subdivision south of Manchester Road.  Ms. Nolfo said it does not, primarily because observations showed that the main challenge is turning left onto Manchester Road from Lark Hill Lane.  The uses that are being proposed for Lots A and B are conveni-ence oriented, pulling heavily from traffic passing the site.  It will only add about 100 more cars to Man-chester Road, which will not significantly impact Lark Hill Lane.  Mayor Pogue said that residents in that subdivision have related to him that the only time they are able to make a left turn onto Manchester is when the signal is giving the left hand turn from Seven Trails Drive onto eastbound Manchester Road.  The proposed second turn lane from Seven Trails Drive will increase this traffic, which will make it even more difficult.  Ms. Nolfo said it won’t make much difference, because the left turns onto Manchester Road from Lark Hill Lane are occurring during the transition time when the light changes phases.

Alderman Fleming noted that while architectural features have been added to the front of the convenience store building, nothing has been added to the side and back that will face Manchester Road.  Mr. Quigley said that in addition to the landscaping, the same architectural elements that are on the front of the build-ing can be added to the rest of the building.  Alderman Fleming asked if those are cosmetic or structural elements.  Mr. Quigley said it is an elevation difference and a color difference in the EIFS siding, which mimics a window.  Mayor Pogue referenced a plaza in Chesterfield that utilized false windows in the back of the buildings.  He said he would like to see architectural elements like that in this proposed building.  Mr. Quigley said the petitioner will work with City staff on that.

Mayor Pogue asked if any consideration had been given to having the fast food restaurant attached to the convenience store rather than having two separate lots.  Mr. Quigley said having both in one building is problematic with a car wash stack and a drive-thru stack.  Additionally, U-Gas has its own brand of pre-packaged food.  Secretary Karr asked how soon the Lot B proposal would come before the commission.  Mr. Biermann said he feels that it will be within the next three months. 

Chairman Wind asked whether the dimensions of Lot C include the detention basin.  Mr. Quigley said it does.  Chairman Wind asked what size building would fit on the lot.  Mr. Quigley said the petitioner has laid out a 20,000 sq.ft. two-story office building, which would be a 10,000 sq.ft. footprint.  City Planner Aiken said that, as a comparison point, the Ballwin Government Center has a slightly larger footprint of 11,500 sq.ft. 

Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of the petition.  There were none.  Chairman Wind if there asked if there was anyone wishing to speak in opposition to the petition.

Pat McDermott, 242 East Skyline Drive.  Mr. McDermott said that while there may be a need for another gas station on Manchester Road, this is not necessarily the place for it.  He feels that the Commission needs to consider the petitioner may have to blast to remove some of the rock on the site.  Mr. McDermott said the intent of the Great Streets plan is to develop large parcels of land.  He said he has been in contact with Dennis Callier, who owns some of the property to the east of the site, as well as U-Haul representatives.  They are both willing to come to the table to combine properties for a larger development.  Mr. McDermott sees the internal access road as a positive.

There were no other opponents, and Chairman Wind declared the public hearing closed.

Mayor Pogue asked City Attorney Jones about the donation of land versus a lease or purchase.  Mr. Jones said it is not unprecedented for the City to donate land to a development, as was the case for the Olde Towne development.  However, in that case, the City did receive concessions such as the relocation of the Old School House, detention, and road improvements.  In the case of the lease agreement, the individual wanted to use the right of way for parking.  City Attorney Jones said it can be done either way, but it is up to the Planning & Zoning Commission to recommend an option to the Board of Aldermen.

Alderman Fleming said that he would like to have more time to see the complete traffic study, revised drawings showing the elevations, and the feasibility of widening the road.  Who will be responsible for the maintenance of the retaining wall?  City Attorney Jones said it will be the City’s responsibility, as it will be on City property.  Chairman Wind would like to see the petitioner reevaluate the building siting.  Mayor Pogue said his biggest concern is the volume of traffic this proposed development would add to Seven Trails Drive.  Commissioner Weaver said a consideration that no one has talked about is the fact that, as a matter of convenience, eastbound traffic will not cross westbound lanes if they can turn right into U-Gas, and westbound lanes will turn right into QuikTrip for the same reason.  Commissioner Wright disagreed, saying that consumers are brand-loyal.  Alderman Fleming said that Mr. Weaver made a valid point, but he still has a concern about the amount of cars that will come out of U-Gas onto Seven Trails Drive. 

Mayor Pogue asked Ms. Nolfo about new trips created by the proposed development.  Ms. Nolfo said that 2,275 new trips will be generated by the development in a day, once all three lots are built out.   

Secretary Karr said that what is now being proposed has changed significantly from the materials that were included in the meeting packet.  More information is needed regarding the road improvements, ele-vations for both the convenience store and car wash, and landscaping, and the traffic study still needs to be completed.  City Planner Aiken said it may be prudent to hold the petitions over until the Commission has received the information it needs to make a decision.

Mr. Biermann said that he did talk to Dennis Callier and U-Haul representatives regarding combining the properties; however, while Mr. Callier was amenable, U-Haul was not interested.  The owner of Vista Properties, when reached, declined to discuss the property.  Chairman Wind asked Mr. Biermann about the need for blasting on the site.  Mr. Quigley said he does not anticipate being allowed to blast on the site.  City Planner Aiken said the City discourages blasting.  Mayor Pogue asked how deep the storage tanks will be placed.  Mr. Quigley said they plan to chip out any rock that needs to be removed.

Mayor Pogue made a motion to hold over Petition Z 10-06 to the November 1, 2010 meeting of the Plan-ning & Zoning Commission.  Commissioner Apel seconded the motion.  The motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Mayor Pogue made a motion to hold over Petition SUB 10-03 to the November 1, 2010 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission.  Commissioner Apel seconded the motion.  The motion received un-animous approval from the Commission members present.

SUB 10-04 – Subdivision Lot Platting Regulations Amendment
  Petitioner:  City of Ballwin, 14811 Manchester Rd, Ballwin MO  63011 

City Planner Aiken said that Ballwin had a situation recently where an infill subdivision created a scenario where the side yard (8’-10’ minimum) abutted a rear yard (minimum 15’-25’).  In this case, a narrow side yard abutted a small rear yard.  While the homeowners were able to work out a compromise with the builder, Mayor Pogue felt it was time to amend the subdivision ordinance to address this scenario.  This petition is a proposal to create a new section in the subdivision ordinance to say that in an infill develop-ment situation, a side yard abutting a rear yard must have a minimum 15’ setback.

Mayor Pogue asked City Attorney Jones if he reviewed this change.  He said he did, and feels that it is a reasonable way to handle this situation.  He said that if the no-grade zone is imposed as part of the devel-opment, it should be incorporated into the record plat, so it will be binding to successive owners.  City Planner Aiken said no-grade zones have always been a limitation only on developers, not on the future homeowner.  The City can change that to limit the homeowner’s ability to remove the vegetation, and make it a vegetation preservation zone. 

Commissioner Apel made a motion to recommend approval of Petition SUB 10-04 to Board of Aldermen.  Commissioner Wright seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

City Planner Aiken asked the Commission members if they have specific additional feedback that he can relate to the U-Gas petitioners.  Chairman Wind said that he doesn’t like the building facing Seven Trails Drive.  Mr. Aiken said that the building originally faced Manchester Road, but was rotated as a result of City ordinance and MoDOT limitations.

Alderman Fleming asked if the north/south roadway that was removed from the plan would have helped keep traffic off of Seven Trails Drive.  City Planner Aiken said no, because cars cannot get back on to Manchester directly from the site.  They have to go to Seven Trails Drive.


A motion was made by Chairman Wind and seconded by Commissioner Apel to adjourn the meeting.  The motion received unanimous approval, and the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

Michael Wind, Chairman
Planning & Zoning Commission