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Planning and Zoning Meeting Agendas and Minutes

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Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Minutes

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

MINUTES OF THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING
CITY OF BALLWIN – 300 PARK DRIVE

July 2, 2007

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

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

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

Swearing In of Commission Member

 Mr. Michael Wind was reappointed to the Planning & Zoning Commission by the Board of Aldermen and was sworn in by Assistant City Administrator Thomas Aiken.   

Election of Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman and Secretary

Assistant City Administrator Tom Aiken explained that Missouri statute provides that the chairmanship of the Commission is to be established by an annual election by the Commission members.  A Commission secretary is to be elected as well.  The Board of Aldermen determined that the City’s procedures should be changed to conform to this statute, per Ordinance 07-17.  

Chairman Boland stated that his term of office expired in May of 2007, and that as of this meeting, he has not been reappointed to the Commission.  He said that he and Mayor Young had spoken, and disagreed on whether he should continue on the Commission.  Mr. Boland said that this would be his last Planning & Zoning Commission meeting.  He said that he would not push for reappointment, and asked the Board of Aldermen not to refuse to endorse the mayor’s nominees.  Mr. Boland said that he feels that there is too much at stake with the Comprehensive Plan for the Aldermen and the Mayor to continue his position on a month-to-month basis, and asked the Commission for nominees for Chairman.  Alderman Robinson asked if Chairman Boland would take comments from the floor.  Mr. Boland refused.  

Commissioner Karr asked if this means Chairman Boland has no interest in continuing.  Mr. Boland said the mayor has chosen not to reappoint him, and he has chosen to resign from the Commission.  

Alderman Suozzi said that she is alarmed and disappointed.  She said that Mr. Boland has had the support of the Alderman not only as a Planning & Zoning Commission member, but as the chairman.  Alderman Suozzi said she is disturbed to lose someone who has been a strong, knowledgeable and longstanding member of the Commission, as well as a former alderman and member of the Comprehensive Plan committee.  She said she is disappointed, but if this is Mr. Boland’s choice, it does not leave the Commission with a lot of options, as he was not left a lot of options.

Commissioner Wind asked for clarification of choice versus the process of reappointment.  City Attorney Jones responded, saying that Chairman Boland, in his capacity as a member of the commission, would continue to serve until another person is appointed by the mayor and approved by the Board; however, Mr. Boland has chosen to resign.  

Commissioner Wind asked Mr. Boland if he would reconsider.  Mr. Boland said no.  Commissioner Wind asked about the possibility of tabling the election until the next meeting.  Commissioner Buehrle asked what would change in a month.  Commissioner Wind said his intent had been to keep Mr. Boland on as chairman, and rather than make a hasty decision as to the chairmanship, tabling the election would allow the members to gain a greater understanding as to the responsibilities of the chairman.  City Attorney Jones said the ordinance directs the Commission members to select the chairman and secretary commencing with the June meeting, although he said he is not aware of a penalty for not doing so.  He encouraged the members to proceed with the election as directed by the ordinance.  

Commissioner Leahy confirmed with City Attorney Jones that the nominations and election are to take place in the same meeting, and said he is not prepared to do that at this time, and would like thirty days to consider.  Commissioner Karr said that adoption of the Comprehensive Plan has to be taken into consideration in the election of chairman.  Commissioner Buehrle asked if there is a job description for the chairmanship.  Planning Director Aiken said the basic duty is to conduct the meetings.  He said that he would be happy to meet with whoever is elected.   

Commissioner Hunter suggested tabling the election until after the Comprehensive Plan public hearing.  The members of the Commission agreed.

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Commissioner Heath and seconded by Commissioner Buehrle to approve the minutes of the June 4, 2007 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as submitted.  The motion received unanimous approval from the members present.

Comprehensive Plan

Mr. Todd Streiler, of Streiler Planning LLC, addressed the Commission.  He said the Steering Committee has been working for almost two years to complete the document that will serve as the blueprint for the City’s future.  There were three phases to the process:  looking at the existing conditions of the community, public engagement, and finally the vision, goals and objectives.  

The public engagement process included ten stakeholder interviews, neighborhood focus sessions hosted by members of the steering committee, two charrettes that included a visual preference survey, and a retail market workshop.   The critical issues report is a summary of the public engagement sessions.  The seven key elements of the critical issues report were used to develop the goals and objectives, as well as the implementation strategies.

The public engagement process helped to craft the vision for the City of Ballwin – to be a family-oriented community of predominantly single family neighborhoods supported by a unique, well-planned commercial retail business sector.  

Economic development was also an issue raised during the public engagement sessions.  A retail market survey was done that found many positive elements that would be attractive to developers, including that the median household income is just under $100,000.  However, the study also found that many residents are going outside of the city for their purchases.  This socio-economic analysis in Chapter 6 of the plan will provide focus and direction in revitalizing the commercial districts.

Another area of concern is housing diversity.  As the population ages, there is an increasing demand for condominiums, villas and similar housing.  At the same time, if there is redevelopment within the city’s neighborhoods, it is important that the city has guidelines for such development to assure compatibility.  

Transportation is another critical issue.  Improvements are taking place on county- and state-owned roadways (Clayton, Big Bend).  New Ballwin Road continues to be studied.  One study recommended improvements, but the community felt that those improvements would negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods.  

Mr. Streiler said that his vision was to produce a thematic plan.  Two things that came out of the study that helped to identify the character of the community were the family-friendly atmosphere and Ballwin as a healthy city.  Mr. Streiler said that a lot of the implementation strategies have to do with marketing to businesses that have the same philosophy, as well as looking at land uses and preservation.  Updating Ballwin’s zoning code will be vital to these implementation strategies, particularly with regard to the revitalization of the Manchester Road corridor.  To provide an action plan for this revitalization, the Comprehensive Plan recommends an overlay district that allows a mixture of uses to occur along Manchester Road while relaxing the limitations that might otherwise prohibit some of the latest trends in retail development.  Mr. Streiler referred to the Future Land Use map in the plan.

Mr. Streiler addressed the community’s desire to position itself to annex surrounding areas.  The City of Ballwin feels that it would be a good steward of these areas by preserving their natural spaces.  The Comprehensive Plan advocates preserving the heritage of the old town part of Castlewood by making it a destination center for those who use Castlewood State Park.  Another important component of annexation is the conservation overlay district, a density-neutral development concept that would allow homes to be put on smaller lots while preserving the natural topography.

Mr. Streiler said that the Plan proposes other districts.  One is the Neighborhood Commercial (Nodal) zone, which would allow a mixture of uses in areas where two major streets come together.  The other district that the Plan recommends is Neighborhood Residential, which allows for higher densities than would otherwise be permitted in isolated areas, by having lower densities around the perimeter of the site with higher densities toward the center.  This would prevent a negative impact to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Chairman Boland asked the Commission members if they were comfortable with the explanation regarding the Manchester Road Revitalization overlay.  He said there were some concerns that everything in the overlay area was a target, and asked Mr. Streiler to address this issue.  Mr. Streiler said that the overlay doesn’t identify areas for redevelopment, but rather is more of policy document.  The district will provide tools for developers for market-based revitalization.  Planning Director Aiken added that it is important to note that the areas in the overlay are not being rezoned or even recommended for rezoning.  The overlay merely indicates areas where the Plan recommends applying these new zones.  Commissioner Wind said that it is a message to developers that we are more cooperative in these areas.  Commissioner Hunter asked about implementation of the overlay district.  Mr. Aiken said that the zoning ordinance has to be updated first. 

Mayor Young asked City Attorney Jones if a developer came to the City with a plan that is not in the overlay district, would that preclude the City from giving a positive response to the proposal?  Mr. Jones said that the reason for adopting a Comprehensive Plan is to establish consistency and defend legislative decisions in a litigation context.  However, if a developer chooses to develop a parcel outside of the overlay district and still utilize components of the Plan, it can still be done through the traditional zoning process whereby a petition is submitted and a zoning amendment takes place. 

Commissioner Wind said that there is a provision in the Plan for scheduled reviews and updates.  Mr. Aiken said that the Planning & Zoning Commission can choose to update the Plan at anytime, but the Plan does make a specific reference that it should be reevaluated every five years.  Mr. Streiler suggested that if such a situation arises, the plan should be evaluated and updated at that time.  

Chairman Boland opened the public hearing for comments.  

   Mr. Kelly Isherwood, addressed the commission on behalf of an existing business owner with a multi-tenant building.  He said that the Manchester Road overlay district makes existing and prospective business owners and their tenants feel that they are subject to redevelopment.  He said there is also a concern about the transportation plan and access management.  

 

   Mr. Dan Sidoti, 500 Wellshire Ct., asked about the definition of the Manchester corridor.  He said he likes to patronize “mom and pop” shops, but doesn’t know if the shops are in Ballwin.  He said he avoids Manchester Road on Saturdays, and would prefer to have a service road.

Chairman Boland said that the Comprehensive Plan addresses gateways to delineate the city limits.  Alderman Suozzi noted that City ordinance presently requires cross-access easements to be granted each time a proposal comes before the zoning commission, and limits access to major roadways.

Chairman Boland asked if anyone else wished to address the Commission.  Mayor Young suggested that the public hearing be continued until the next meeting. He said that there may be people who were unable to attend this meeting since it was held so close to the July 4 holiday.  Chairman Boland asked Planning Director Aiken if holding the public hearing over would require additional advertising.  Mr. Aiken said that readvertisement would not be required, but he probably would advertise again anyway.  Commissioner Karr said that the Steering Committee worked on this Comprehensive Plan for almost 22 months to put the Plan together. There were many opportunities for public input at the charrettes and the living room sessions, as well as at the open meetings of the committee.  Mr. Karr recommended that the Commission make a motion and approve the Plan at this meeting.  The Commission members in attendance concurred.  Commissioner Hunter said that the Plan is a living breathing document that can be updated at any time, but the Commission needs to have something in place in order to move forward.

Chairman Boland asked if the Plan has to go before the Board of Aldermen after the Planning & Zoning Commission approves it.  Planning Director Aiken said that by state law, the Comprehensive Plan belongs to the Planning Commission.  He said the Board of Aldermen has adopted previous plans by resolution, which offers political support for the plan.

Chairman Boland closed the public hearing, and called for a motion regarding the Comprehensive Plan.  Commissioner Wind moved to adopt the 2007 Comprehensive Community Plan as submitted.  Commissioner Heath seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Commissioner Boland expressed appreciation on behalf of the Commission to Mr. Streiler, Mr. Aiken, and co-chairmen Mr. Karr and Mrs. Hunter, as well as all the members of the Steering Committee for their work on the Comprehensive Plan. 

Z 07-3 – Zoning Ordinance Change Petition

Video Provider Regulations

Planning Director Aiken explained that the state is in the process of changing its regulations of video service providers; therefore the rules under which the City of Ballwin operates as relates to video service providers (cable television) should be amended accordingly.  Prior to this, each municipality had a franchise agreement by which the cable provider paid a user fee and was allowed to utilize the City’s rights-of-way for the installation of its system.   Now other providers have come along and convinced the state that rather than negotiate agreements with individual municipalities, they should only have to negotiate one on a state-wide basis.  The state legislature is in the process of passing legislation allowing providers to obtain a state franchise.  The video service providers will still pay a fee to the City, a portion of which is retained by the state.  The new legislation allows the cities to have control over the location of the facilities.  This will allow the City to establish setbacks and other criteria.

Commissioner Karr asked what the anticipated net gain or loss will be on the income.  City Attorney Jones said that the percentage paid to the City will remain the same – up to 5%.  Mr. Aiken noted that the state will take its portion out of that percentage.  Commissioner Wind asked if this change will allow the City to enforce restoration of disturbed areas when equipment is installed.  City Attorney Jones said that they are subject to the standard penalty clause in the City’s ordinances.

City Attorney Jones said that this petition is primarily trying to bring the City into compliance with what will be a state-wide law regarding state-wide franchise.

Chairman Boland opened the public hearing, and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of Petition Z07-3.  There were none.  Chairman Boland then asked if there were any opponents wishing to speak against the petition.  There were none, and the public hearing was closed.

Commissioner Heath made a motion to recommend approval of Petition Z 07-3 to the Board of Aldermen.  Commissioner Hunter seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Trails Plan Consideration

Planning Director Aiken said that the Commission considered the Trails Plan previously, but sent it down to the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee for its consideration.  The Steering Committee accepted the Trails Plan at its December 2006 meeting and made it a part of the Comprehensive Plan by reference with the provision that language similar to that contained in Chapter 3, page 10 of the Comprehensive Plan be added to the trail system plan.

Mayor Young said that the Planning & Zoning Commission has not seen the Trails Plan since the revisions were made following public comments.  He said the Commission needs to see the changes to the preliminary draft before it proceeds with adoption.

Alderman Suozzi said that the original drawings were conceptual and that if there is an issue with the placement, it will be resolved at the time the trail is developed.  She said that she understood that if residents didn’t want the trail in a specific area, it would not be placed there.  Ms. Suozzi said that if the Trails Plan is to be attached to the Comprehensive Plan, the Commission should move on it.  Commissioner Wind said there were modifications presented at the December meeting of the Steering Committee.  Mr. Aiken said that there was a long list of changes to be made to the Trails Plan, and a lot of them were incorporated into the plan, but he did not know if the document had been revised to reflect those changes.  He said it is his understanding that the intent is to incorporate the concerns and changes that have been expressed.

Commissioner Hunter said that she feels strongly that the Commission needs to talk with Parks Director Linda Bruer before approving the Trails Plan.  It was determined that consideration of the Trails Plan will be tabled until the August 6 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission.

New Zoning Ordinance Consultant Discussion

Planning Director Aiken said that with the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, the next step is to work on creating the various zoning ordinances that were discussed.  He suggested that rather than solicit proposals from consultants with no historical knowledge of the comprehensive plan, the City negotiate an agreement with Todd Streiler, who has an intimate knowledge of the plan.  Mr. Aiken outlined the process proposed in Mr. Streiler’s preliminary proposal.  Commissioner Karr asked if all the proposed zoning changes would come before the Commission in a final document, or one change at a time.  Mr. Aiken said that the zoning changes for the four districts would be worked on simultaneously, and all the regulations would be brought before the Commission at once.

Commissioner Wind asked about the timeframe for the zoning changes to be adopted.  Mr. Aiken said that ideally it will be completed within six months of the execution of the agreement.  Mr. Wind stated his concern that with the Commission only meeting once a month, it will be difficult to meet that deadline.  Mr. Aiken said that work sessions may have to be held.  The members of the Commission were agreeable to this, and authorized Mr. Aiken to negotiate an agreement with Mr. Streiler.

Commissioner Karr asked if there are funds available for the marketing effort to promote the city to businesses and developers.  Mr. Aiken said that there isn’t money in this year’s budget specifically for that purpose, but that doesn’t preclude budgeting funds next year.  Mr. Karr said that the marketing effort can’t be put off for a year.  Mayor Young said that the ordinances need to be in place so the city has something to work with.  Mr. Karr said that he is talking about selling the city so that people and businesses want to come here.  Mayor Young said that City Administrator Bob Kuntz regularly contacts businesses in an effort to bring them to the City.  Mr. Karr said that he had spoken with Mr. Kuntz before making his statements at this meeting.  He said that everybody makes an effort to some degree, but there isn’t a coordinated effort.  He feels that marketing is a priority.

Holiday Conflict

Planning Director Aiken said that there is a holiday conflict in September; the regular Planning & Zoning meeting date falls on Labor Day.  He asked if the Commission would like to meet the following Tuesday (September 4) if there are items for the agenda.  The Commission members present agreed to meet on September 4, if there are agenda items.

Election of Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman and Secretary

Commissioner Karr asked if the other members of the Commission have been reappointed.  Mr. Aiken said that all those currently serving have terms that expire either in May 2008 or May 2009.  Commissioner Buerhle nominated Commissioner Wind to be chairman.  Commissioner Karr seconded the motion.  Commissioner Heath asked Commissioner Wind if he is interested in the chairmanship.  Commissioner Wind accepted the nomination.  Commissioner Hunter nominated Commissioner Karr for the chairman position.  Commissioner Karr said that he wanted to be a part of the team, and would like to be the secretary.  A voice vote was taken and the motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.  

Commissioner Heath nominated Commissioner Karr to be secretary.  Commissioner Wind seconded the motion.  A voice vote was taken, and the motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Adjournment 

A motion was made by Commissioner Wind and seconded by Commissioner Heath to adjourn the meeting.  The motion received unanimous approval from the members present.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. 

Michael Boland, Chairman
Planning & Zoning Commission