Planning and Zoning Meeting Agendas and Minutes

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Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Minutes


January 7, 2008

The meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission was called to order by Chairman Michael Wind at 7:00 p.m.  Members in attendance were:

Chairman Michael Wind 
Commissioner Pat Apel 
Commissioner Sue Heath 
Commissioner Anna Hunter 
Commissioner Frank Karr 
Commissioner Jim Leahy 
Alderman Jane Suozzi 
Mayor Walt Young  
Assistant City Administrator Tom Aiken 
City Engineer Gary Kramer 
City Attorney Robert Jones 
Commissioner Pat Buehrle
Commissioner Ron Kadane

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Commissioner Karr and seconded by Commissioner Heath to approve the minutes of the December 3, 2007 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as submitted.  The motion re-ceived unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

SUE 07-15 – Special Use Exception Petition (Restaurant with Carryout)
Chicago Taste Restaurant, 15525 Manchester Road – Mr. Robin Naser

Mr. Naser appeared before the Commission and requested approval for his petition.  Commissioner Karr asked Mr. Naser when he proposed to open the restaurant.  Mr. Naser said in March or April.

Chairman Wind declared the public hearing open and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of Petition SUE 07-15.  There were none.  Chairman Wind asked if there were any opponents to speak against the petition.  There were none and Chairman Wind closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Hunter made a motion to recommend approval of Petition SUE 07-15 to the Board of Al-dermen.  Commissioner Leahy seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Com-mission members present.

Z 07-1 (3) – Zoning Ordinance Change Petition and
SUB 07-1 (3) – Subdivision Petition
The Verandahs at Kehrs Mill Road, 520 Kehrs Mill Road – Charter Development Group I, LC, 11737 Administration Drive #101, St. Louis MO   63146 – Mr. Christopher Kersten

Mr. Ed Griesedieck, attorney for the petitioner, presented the revised petitions to the Commission.  Mr. Griesedieck described the proposed development and the surrounding neighborhood.   He said that he and the petitioner met with some of the residents of the surrounding neighborhood on October 17, 2007, to discuss the site and hear any concerns and suggestions about the development.  Mr. Griesedieck said that those concerns are addressed in the revisions the petitioner made to the plan. 

One of the issues raised dealt with pedestrian traffic cutting through yards to access the Target site.  The residents suggested that a privacy fence be erected along the west side of the site and the petitioner has agreed to that.  Another concern was the number of curb cuts along Kehrs Mill Road.  Mr. Griesedieck said that this small development will be targeted to empty-nesters, and does not need two access points on Kehrs Mill Road.  He said some residents were concerned about headlights shining into their homes and requested that the eastern end of the road be a cul-de-sac.  The petitioner complied with this request in the new proposal by providing only one entrance into the development and all the homes being accessed from this internal road.  Mr. Griesedieck also said the stormwater runoff situation will be improved.

Mr. Griesedieck said that the size and scale of the buildings proposed for this development is only slightly larger than the homes across the street on Kehrs Mill Road.  The dwelling units will be 1600-2000 square feet each, and will either be one story or one and a half stories with a two-car garage.  While not identical, all will have similar brick, stone and wood construction.  Average price will be approximately $390,000.  The buildings and the lots will be maintained by the homeowners’ association.  Landscaping will be placed along the frontage of Kehrs Mill Road as well as in the common ground area, which comprises about one-third of the property.

Chairman Wind asked Mr. Griesedieck about the letter he provided to the Commission dated January 4, 2008, regarding the petitioner’s meeting with the homeowners.  He asked how many homeowners at-tended the meeting, and asked if they received a copy of the letter.  Mr. Griesedieck said that he has an attendance list from the meeting, but that the homeowners were not provided with a copy of the letter.  A copy of the attendance list was not provided.

Commissioner Heath asked about the density issue raised in the petition review report, stating that the maximum number of lots should be 19, not the 22 proposed. Mr. Griesedieck said the petition review re-port references the Strategic Community Plan of 1997, which says the site is appropriate for between 7 and 50 units.  He said the 2007 Comprehensive Plan states the site is appropriate for 3.5 units per acre, or 24.5 homes.  Mr. Griesedieck said that neither plan takes into account the commercial portion of the site.  He said the proposed density is, in his view, appropriate for this site.  Mr. Griesedieck also said that the petitioner and the neighboring residents preferred the landscape buffer rather than homes fronting along Kehrs Mill Road.  Commissioner Heath said that the concern is that homes that back onto Kehrs Mill Road generally erect a back yard fence and then fail to maintain their property along Kehrs Mill Road.  Mr. Griesedieck pointed out that with the proposed development, there is one contact – the homeowners’ association – in case of poor maintenance.

Commissioner Hunter stated her concern about the extensive removal of existing mature trees on the site.  Mr. Griesedieck said that the petitioner will save as many trees as possible.  He said trees may need to be removed to install utilities, and that is why additional landscaping is proposed.  Commissioner Hunter asked about the 25’ no-grade zone on the portion of the site that backs to the Target site.  Mr. Griesedieck said that it is common ground, but the petitioner could include a preservation easement on that side to keep the trees that are shown to be lost.

Commissioner Leahy asked about the timeframe for completing the development.  Mr. Griesedieck said the plan is that it would be completed in two years.  Commissioner Karr asked if a builder has been de-termined for the project.  Mr. Griesedieck said no. 

Chairman Wind asked Mr. Griesedieck to address the right-of-way issue.  Mr. Griesedieck said there is a triangular, commercially zoned parcel at the rear of the site, and a right-of-way on the west side of Frank’s that abuts the site.  Chairman Wind said that his understanding is that the right-of-way was initi-ated in order to have a street connection from Kehrs Mill to Manchester.  This is made clear in the 2007 Comprehensive Plan as well as the plan from 1981.  Planning Director Aiken said that the subdivision ordinance requires that when there is a stub coming onto a site that is being developed into a subdivision, the developer is obligated to connect his street system to that stub street.  He said the Comprehensive Plan also recommends this roadway connection be created from opposite Ramsey Lane to Kehrs Mill Road.  Mr. Griesedieck said it is not the petitioner’s intent to continue the right-of-way to make it a road connec-tion.  Chairman Wind asked if the non-compliance with the right-of-way issue is something that can be approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission.  City Attorney Jones said that the dedication strip could be abandoned, but someone would have to initiate that, and the City would have to approve it.  He con-firmed Mr. Aiken’s statement regarding the subdivision ordinance.  Mr. Griesedieck argued that the right-of-way isn’t a street, but a parking lot.  Mr. Aiken said that by definition, a right-of-way is a street.  City Attorney Jones said that the Planning & Zoning Commission can determine whether the plan and the re-zoning are appropriate, but it is ultimately up to the Board of Aldermen to deal with the issue of what the subdivision ordinance requires in terms of connection to the right-of-way.  He agreed with Mr. Aiken that the plan is inconsistent with the ordinance.

Planning Director Aiken urged the Commission to study the petition review report carefully and said that it is not inconsistent in the statements that it makes about density.  The Comprehensive Plan makes rec-ommendations for the entire community, and limits infill developments to no more than 125% of the den-sity of the surrounding residential developments.  This is the critical issue, and would put the density of the proposed development at 16-19 units.   Mr. Aiken also said that no information has been provided from the developer regarding the size and style of the units that will be built.  He said that despite the statements made by Mr. Griesedieck, the petitioner is the developer and will not be the builder for this project.  Mr. Griesedieck said that the petitioner is a builder, and noted that he had built homes such as those pictured in the photos he gave to the Commission members to look at.  Mr. Aiken said that up to this point, the petitioner has not provided any information about what he is proposing to build on this site.

Mr. Griesedieck told the Commission members that they have the power to control the size and style of the buildings and landscaping by making it a condition of the PSD zoning petition approval.   Alderman Suozzi said her concern with that approach is that the Commission would be doing that every time a peti-tioner didn’t follow the guidelines set forth by the Comprehensive Plan.  Alderman Suozzi also said that Mr. Griesedieck talked about the Dixie Lee Heights subdivision in regards to one situation (runoff), but mentioned the ranch homes along Kehrs Mill Road when discussing consistency with their size.  Are the proposed home consistent with those in the Dixie Lee Heights subdivision?  Mr. Griesedieck said he was simply trying to compare “apples to apples” in comparing the proposed homes with those on Kehrs Mill Road. 

Alderman Suozzi referenced the photos that were submitted to the Commission, and said that the garages comprise more than 40% of the front of the home, which does not comply with the recommendations of the 2007 Comprehensive Plan.  Mr. Griesedieck said that these are duplex homes, which is a different product than single-family homes, and should be judged under a different set of criteria.  Alderman Suozzi said that she understands that argument, but there are elements of the Comprehensive Plan that were disregarded, such as clustering.  Mr. Griesedieck said that the general traveling public will not see the garage doors, and those who purchase the homes know what they are buying.  Ms. Suozzi said that the Comprehensive Plan was developed with a great deal of input from the residents of Ballwin, and it is a disservice to them to present a proposal that doesn’t take the Plan into consideration.  She said that this is the third site plan that the Commission has seen.  Chairman Wind added that the site plans have not changed significantly, and each petition review report has raised the same issues and concerns.

Commissioner Karr said that an architectural plan is needed.  Chairman Wind added that this was re-quested in the first petition review report.  Mr. Karr said that this site is a pivotal site within the commu-nity and the petitioner should use this opportunity build a development that will be a showplace.  Mr. Griesedieck said the site is perfect for transitional zoning, between commercial and residential properties.

Commissioner Heath said that the plan stipulates certain specific architectural criteria for new develop-ment and the Commission needs to see what will be built.  She said the petitioner can say what the homes will look like, but the Commission cannot act on his word alone.  Mr. Griesedieck asked how the peti-tioner can show that.  City Attorney Jones said that the site plan approval requires that the petitioner pro-vide floor area and height for each structure, and that information is not included anywhere in the plans.  Commissioner Heath pointed out that it is not the purpose of the Commission to spell out to the petitioner what will be built and how it will be built; the petitioner has to communicate this to the Commission so that its members can make a determination.  Mr. Griesedieck apologized and said that he was under the impression that the Commission had been provided the necessary information.  Mayor Young pointed out that the Zoning Ordinance Change Petition Review Report, page 12, states that “Subsection (2) C 3 re-quires that the floor area and height of each building is to be provided.  Neither has been provided.” Commissioner Hunter said the information needs to be in writing.  Mr. Griesedieck said if the Commis-sion were to table the matter, he would provide the information in a letter. 

Mayor Young raised a concern about having a cul-de-sac rather than two access points to the property.  He said that cul-de-sacs are difficult for emergency, trash collection, and snow removal vehicles to navi-gate.  He said this concern is raised in the petition review report as well.   Mr. Griesedieck said that the cul-de-sac became part of the plan in response to input from the neighboring residents, and fully complies with ordinance.

Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of petitions Z07-1 and SUB 07-1.  There were none.  Chairman Wind then asked if there were any opponents wishing to speak against the petition.

Ms. Melody Barger, 131 Glenn Drive, addressed the commission.  She said that with the current state of the housing market, it would be difficult for retirees to afford these homes.  She said only four hours’ notice was given by the petitioner for its neighborhood meeting, and she was unable to attend.  She is concerned about the number of trees that are to be removed.  She suggested that the developer donate the parcel to the City to be used as a park.

 Mr. Lee Thompson, 517 Kehrs Mill Road, addressed the commission.  He asked, if Charter Devel-opment sold the property, would this process begin all over again?  Chairman Wind confirmed with Planning Director Aiken that the new owner would have to follow this plan, but if changes are made to the plan, it would have to be resubmitted.  Mr. Thompson’s other concern was having an access point across from his driveway.  He is in favor of the cul-de-sac.

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

Commissioner Apel made a motion to table the petitions until the petitioner meets the conditions set forth in the petition review report.  Chairman Wind clarified with City Attorney Jones that the Commission has a time constraint in that it cannot table the petition for more than 30 days without the petitioner’s agree-ment without it becoming an automatic approval.  City Attorney Jones said that the matter would need to be continued to the next meeting, and it would be up to the petitioner to attempt to meet the Commis-sion’s concerns.  Commissioner Apel withdrew his motion, and made a new motion to recommend denial of petition Z 07-1 (3) to the Board of Aldermen.  Commissioner Heath seconded the motion. 

Mayor Young asked City Attorney Jones if the petitioner could request a continuance over the motion that is on the floor.  Mr. Jones said his only option is to withdraw the petition.  Commissioner Heath said if the Commission votes on the motion, the petitioner would have all the time needed to address the recommen-dations of the petition review report.  Mr. Griesedieck asked if the ordinances have changed since the date the petition was submitted.  Planning Director Aiken said the zoning district regulations are the same, but the 2007 Comprehensive Plan has been adopted since the time of the original submittal.

Chairman Wind called for a vote on the motion on the floor.  The Commission members present voted unanimously to recommend denial of Z 07-1 (3) to the Board of Aldermen.  Commissioner Apel then made a motion to recommend denial of SUB 07-01 (3) to the Board of Aldermen.  Commissioner Heath seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Petition Information Submittal

Mayor Young said that it is time the Commission gives Planning Director Aiken some support in regards to petition submittals.  He said that Mr. Aiken has taken the time to outline the procedure, and needs to have the backing of the Commission.  Discussion was held and clarification made on several points of the draft of the official policy on petition information submittal.  City Attorney Jones will review the policy to ensure it complies with city and state statutes.  Commissioner Hunter made a motion to adopt the Peti-tion Information Submittal policy with the following change:  Item 1, second sentence will read “Under no circumstance, shall such submittals be later than 5:00 p.m. …”.  Commissioner Heath seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Planned Overlay District Update

Planning Director Aiken said that an outgrowth of the 2007 Comprehensive Plan was to create the Man-chester Road overlay district.  The intent of the overlay district was to induce more mixed-used develop-ment and offer more flexibility in site design.  The Commission has been provided with a first draft which describes an overlay district that does away with site design regulations in the C-1 district (setbacks, height limitations, parking counts, etc.) but changes none of the allowed uses.  The overlay district also allows residential uses.  Mr. Aiken said that doing this may not accomplish the City’s goals, as the prob-lems with the Manchester Road corridor are market-driven.  Should the underlying C-1 district be changed to make it more limiting, thereby forcing the overlay district?  How do you deal with the existing developments while encouraging redevelopment?  It was the recommendation of the Commission that staff continue looking at a limitation of C-1 and an expansion of the overlay to make it more desirable.   All efforts need to be taken to minimize any interference with the usual in-out of businesses in existing buildings.

Outdoor Storage / Business License Fees

The Commission members received a list of Ballwin businesses and the accompanying business license fees in their packets.  Discussion was held regarding the manner by which business license fees are de-termined.  Retail business licenses are figured at $1.00 per $1,000 of gross sales receipts; all others are figured at 10 cents per square foot.  All have a minimum of $100.

Commissioner Karr asked if an annual cost-of-living increase could be applied to the business license fee.  City Attorney Jones said that would not be feasible.  Chairman Wind said that in reviewing the fees, he found the square footage based fees to be substantially lower than the gross receipts based fees.  Planning Director Aiken said the average gross receipts based fees are approximately 150 times higher than the square footage based fees.  He said that these fees need to at least pay for the services provided by the city such as police response.  City Attorney Jones said that simply requiring the businesses to register gives the City a lot of information that we would otherwise not have. 

Chairman Wind recommended that the Board of Aldermen reevaluate the square footage business license fees in order to offset the City’s costs to provide services.  Mayor Young said that this needs to be revis-ited on a regular basis, such as every two or three years, to ensure that fees remain in line with costs.

Alderman Suozzi asked if the city of Clayton still based their business license fee on the number of em-ployees.  City Attorney Jones said that several cities base it on the number of desks. He said since the work environment has changed, and many people work from home, it should probably be based on the number of employees as the city of St. Louis does.  Planning Director Aiken said that business license fees have to stay in line with what surrounding cities are charging, or the businesses will leave.  Alderman Suozzi noted that the real estate tax – if placed on the ballot and passed by the voters – will apply to every property, commercial as well as residential.
Planning Director Aiken said that it can be argued that the Royal Gate Dodge vehicle storage/parking lot is a warehouse and should be charged ten cents per square foot accordingly.  He also said that this may be applicable to some of the larger businesses that have large parking lots. 

Summary of Items Sent to the Board of Aldermen/Business Licenses Issued

Alderman Suozzi asked about the Goddard School petition.  Planning Director Aiken said that they did not get the information to him in time to be included on tonight’s agenda, but it was in time to be placed on the February agenda. 


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 9:25 p.m.
 Michael Wind, Chairman
 Planning & Zoning Commission