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

June 5, 2006

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 Ron Kadane 
Commissioner Sue Heath                       Commissioner Jim Keefe 
Commissioner Anna Hunter                    Commissioner Jeff Medler 
Commissioner Frank Karr 
Commissioner Michael Wind
Alderman Jane Suozzi 
Mayor Walt Young 
Assistant City Administrator Tom Aiken 
City Attorney Lou Lucchesi

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Commissioner Wind and seconded by Commissioner Heath to approve the minutes of the May 1, 2006 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as submitted.  The motion received unanimous approval from the members present.

SUB 06-2 (Resubmittal) Subdivision Petition, and

SUE 06-3 (Resubmittal) Special Use Exception Petition

Walgreen’s at Central Plaza, 15253 & 15287 Manchester Road – Pace-Central Associates LLC, 1401 Brentwood Blvd #100, Brentwood MO  63144 – Mr. Mark Sedgwick

Mr. Sedgwick addressed the Commission requesting approval for the petitions, which had previously been declined based on the eastern curb cut on Manchester Road, and encroachments on the rear and front yard setbacks.  The Board of Adjustment granted variances on all three items.

Mr. Sedgwick distributed a new landscaping plan to the Commission members, showing detail on the rear yard plantings.  He said the creek behind the property has heavy vegetation already, which will remain undisturbed.  More plantings will be added to all areas that are disturbed by construction.

Mr. Sedgwick said that initially Walgreen’s plans to have the store open until midnight seven days a week.  They may change it to a 24-hour location in the future.  The drive-through lanes will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. and are for prescriptions only.  Typical maximum queuing for the drive-through is two cars between the peak hours of 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Commissioner Wind asked if two lanes are necessary in light of the relatively low usage.  Mr. Keith Steiner, architect, said that the two lanes keep the lines short and move cars through faster.

Alderman Suozzi asked about the hours for the drive-through lanes at 24-hour facilities.  Mr. Steiner said that it varies from store to store, but that the pharmacy is not necessarily open for 24 hours.

Commissioner Hunter asked about landscaping on the site.  Mr. Sedgwick said that the plantings will be a combination of evergreen bushes and flowers, and will be irrigated. 

Commissioner Karr asked about illumination and fencing.  The light fixtures to be used will match those existing on the Central Plaza site.  Wall pack lighting will not be placed on the rear of the Walgreen’s or Central Plaza.  Shields will be utilized as necessary to protect the neighbors.  Six-foot high sight-proof fencing will be used along the rear of the site.

Commissioner Heath confirmed with Mr. Sedgwick that the petitioner is agreeable to the sidewalk fund reimbursement. 

Commissioner Karr asked about the timeline for completion of the project.  Mr. Sedgwick said that Cingular’s latest closing date would be September 15, 2006, so construction would not be started until after that date.  Walgreen’s has agreed to take possession of the building as early as January 1, 2007.  Chairman Boland asked if the main entrance to the shopping center at New Ballwin Road will remain open.  Mr. Sedgwick said that securing the main drive so that it is not disrupted is a priority.  Chairman Boland asked about extending the median to prevent left turns into the Walgreen’s from Manchester Road.  Mr. Sedgwick said that MoDOT has given preliminary approval for the right-in/right-out and has mandated extension of the median to preclude the left turns.

Chairman Boland opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents to speak in favor of petitions SUB 06-2 and SUE 06-3.  There were none.  Chairman Boland then asked if there were any opponents to speak against the petitions. 

      Mrs. Linda Buermann, 107 Applegate Lane, expressed her concerns for adequate screening from noise and light in her and her neighbor’s rear yards, which back up to the Walgreen’s site.

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

Commissioner Karr made a motion to recommend to the Board of Aldermen that Petition SUB 06-2 be approved subject to the recommendations of the petition review report.  Commissioner Heath seconded the motion.  The motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Commissioner Heath made a motion to recommend to the Board of Aldermen that Petition SUE 06-3 be approved.  Commissioner Wind seconded the motion.  The motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Z 06-1 (Revised) – Zoning Ordinance Change Petition and

SUB 06-3 (Revised) – Subdivision Petition

Timbers at Ries Bend Subdivision, 303,311, 339 rear Ries Bend Road and 251 Ries Road, Ballwin MO  63021 – Mr. Matt Belcher

Mr. Belcher presented the revised petitions for the Timbers at Ries Bend subdivision to the Commission.  He pointed out the changes in the plan, and noted that the lot sizes have been increased and the lot count has been decreased. 

Chairman Boland asked if the size of the homes would vary in relation to the zoning.  Mr. Belcher said that the houses would all be approximately the same size (3500-4000 sq. ft.).  The houses will be situated so that vehicles will be able to turn around in the driveway, rather than having to back out onto the road.  House prices will start in the $500,000 range, and will be traditional in design.

Commissioner Hunter asked about the width of the cul-de-sac.  Mr. Belcher said that it complies with the standard design requirements and regulations for emergency equipment, etc.  Commissioner Hunter then asked if the landscaping plan was the same as the previous submittal.  Mr. Belcher said they still plan to heavily landscape the site.

Commissioner Heath asked about the change in sewer connection to the David Harrison subdivision.  Mr. Wind said that after receiving the as-built elevations from MSD, the grades were such that they couldn’t make the connection at Dickens Farm.  Commissioner Heath asked if there would be disruption to the front yards in the David Harrison subdivision.  Mr. Wind said there would be no more disruption than there would have been with the previous plan.  Chairman Boland confirmed that all sewer connections would be made within the MSD easement.

Alderman Suozzi asked why Lots 9-12 are set so far back from Ries Road.  She said this gives them very shallow back yards.  Mr. Belcher said distance from Ries Road was desirable, and the houses behind those lots were not in close proximity.  Alderman Suozzi said her concern is that those residents will not be able to build anything in the back such as a deck or pool.  City Planner Aiken said that the developer is not compelled to place the house exactly where it is shown on the plan.  As long as it meets all the required setbacks, the home can be built anywhere on the lot.

Chairman Boland asked about the need for less stormwater detention in the R-2 section of the subdivision proposal.  Mr. Wind said by removing the street from that area, the amount of runoff is well under the MSD threshold.  He said the petitioner has filed a request with MSD for a detention waiver for that area.  A similar waiver for this portion of the site in is requested from Ballwin.

Commissioner Heath confirmed that the petitioner is prepared to pay the recreation fee in lieu of dedication of land. Mr. Belcher said that the fee is part of their cost breakdown.

Chairman Boland opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents to speak in favor of petitions Z 06-1 and SUB 06-3.  There were none.  Chairman Boland then asked if there were any opponents to speak against the petitions.

      Mr. Richard Sellenriek, 327 Ries Bend Road, said he likes this proposal better than the original, but would like Lot 18 to be removed in order to maintain the R-1 minimum lot size standard for all lots.  He asked that the homes on Lots 11, 12, and 17 be moved away from his lot line.  He would like landscape screening to be used in place of fencing.

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

Chairman Boland asked if the petitioner had any plans for the indentures to specify the type of fencing that will be allowed.  Mr. Belcher said that the indentures would require consistent fencing.

Commissioner Heath asked about the large trees that are set to be removed from the City’s right-of-way.  Mr. Belcher said that the City-owned trees will be transplanted or restitution will be made to the City.  Mr. Aiken said that since the City recently had every street tree in town surveyed and evaluated.  As part of that program, a dollar value was established for each tree.

Commissioner Karr made a motion to recommend to the Board of Aldermen that Petition Z 06-1 be approved subject to the recommendations of the petition review report.  Commissioner Heath seconded the motion.  The motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Commissioner Heath made a motion to recommend to the Board of Aldermen that Petition SUB 06-3 be approved subject to the recommendations of the petition review report.  Commissioner Hunter seconded the motion.  The motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Z 06-2 – Zoning Ordinance Change Petition and

SUB 06-5 – Subdivision Petition

Clayton Brooke Subdivision, 15182 Clayton Road, Ballwin MO  63011 – Mr. Mike Noll

Mr. Noll of Noll Development addressed the Commission, requesting approval for the zoning ordinance change and subdivision petitions.  He distributed a color copy of the plan to the Commission members.

Mr. Noll said that he is a “niche” developer, and has worked with custom home builders to do small-scale development throughout St. Louis County.  He said that the future market in this area is for those with large custom homes to downsize, but to retain the amenities they had.  Mr. Noll has identified a “niche” buyer, and is building 4300 sq. ft. homes with three-car garages.  He believes that this development will be compatible with the neighborhood and aesthetically pleasing, and will be an asset to the community.

Mr. Noll introduced Mr. Joe Zanola, of Zanola Company, whose firm specializes in residential homebuilding research.  Mr. Zanola said that the market population will come from within a four-mile radius of the proposed development.

Alderman Suozzi asked if Clayton Road would be moving toward the development.  City Planner Aiken said the easement was granted when the previous subdivision was approved in 1998.

Commissioner Karr asked what the homes would be sold for.  Mr. Noll said the starting point would be $650,000 up to $800,000.

Chairman Boland asked Mr. Noll how he addresses the petition review report in regards to the question of spot zoning.  Mr. Noll said that what he is proposing is not inconsistent with the surrounding developments.  He said that the Park Huntington subdivision’s common ground, which surrounds his proposed development, gives the perception that the lots are larger than they are.

Alderman Suozzi asked what zoning is in place for Claymont Place subdivision.  City Planner Aiken first clarified that the site of the proposed development, as well as Park Huntington subdivision, is zoned St. Louis County R-2, which has a 15,000 sq. ft. lot minimum.  He then said that Claymont Place subdivision is zoned Ballwin R-2, which has 12,500 sq. ft. lot minimum.  Alderman Suozzi asked if the Ballwin setbacks are similar to the County zoning.  Mr. Aiken said the setbacks for the rear and side yards are the same, but the front yard setback is larger in the Ballwin R-2 zoning.  He said the actual lot sizes in Park Huntington are approximately 12,500 sq. ft., but St. Louis County allows the common ground to be factored in when calculating the average lot size.  Mr. Noll is not requesting R-2 zoning, but rather PSD.  Requirements for a PSD are established as a part of the approval.

Commissioner Hunter asked the petitioner why he is requesting a zoning change to PSD and not R-2.  Mr. Noll said the development plan fits the needs of what, demographically, they can sell.  It was not conceived with the R-2 limitations in mind.  Commissioner Hunter asked if this was planned to be a gated community.  Mr. Noll said that there would be a “passive gate” at the entrance which would be non-functional.  Commissioner Hunter then asked about the landscaping plan.  Mr. Noll said that he will do whatever is required by the City of Ballwin.  Chairman Boland said that while the Commission appreciates Mr. Noll’s willingness to satisfy the City’s requirements, a more detailed landscaping plan was to be submitted with the PSD application.  He said this is not something that should be left open-ended. 

Chairman Boland also said that when PSD zoning is recommended or put into place, it is because of the site’s unusual characteristics. Mr. Aiken said the appropriateness of the zoning is subjective, but the basis of the petition review report is what the ordinance requires and how the change would impact the community as a whole.

Chairman Boland asked how much of the terrain the developer would be changing.  Mr. Noll deferred to his engineer, who said that approximately 5,000 cubic yards of dirt would be moved.  Most of this is to accommodate walkouts.  The basic lay of the land will not be changing.  There is a 15’ no-grade zone around the perimeter, but no trees will be saved on the inside of the site.

Commissioner Karr asked if there had been any discussion with the Park Huntington homeowner’s association regarding the detention pond into which the site will drain.  The site will have an underground detention system that will be designed according to MSD’s new criteria, which virtually eliminates sediment from new storm sewer systems.

Chairman Boland opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents to speak in favor of petitions Z 06-2 and SUB 06-5.  There were none.  Chairman Boland then asked if there were any opponents to speak against the petitions. 

      Mr. Brian Domijan, 573 Briarwyck Drive, stated his concerns about stormwater runoff, the density of the development, and lights from cars on Clayton Brooke Lane.  He would like to see berms along the perimeter and architecture on the backs of the houses, rather than flat undecorated expanses of vinyl siding.

Mr. Noll said that if it is possible to construct a berm along with the 15’ no-grade zone, he is more than willing to do so.

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

Commissioner Wind stated his concern that the development felt cramped, and felt that R-2 zoning would fit better with the surrounding community.  Changing the proposal from eight lots to seven would accomplish this.  Chairman Boland said he agrees with the petition review report that a change to PSD at this density would create spot zoning.  He doesn’t see a valid zoning justification for the change.

Mayor Young said that this type of project may fit into the future development ideas of the comprehensive plan that is underway.  He said that we will need more information before a decision is made.  City Attorney Lucchesi cautioned the Commission members that speculation about the comprehensive plan of the future is not a valid basis for decisions made today.  Chairman Boland said the Hill Trail property had very different topographical considerations.

Commissioner Karr stated his concern that these lot sizes may not allow for the addition of decks or pools.  Mr. Noll said that six of the lots will allow for this.

Commissioner Heath said that she finds the development proposal appealing, but does not want the Commission to set a precedent for PSD spot zoning.  She feels it will be a problem on Clayton Road.    

Commissioner Medler made a motion to table Petitions Z 06-2 and SUB 06-5 and to keep the public hearing open until the July 2006 meeting of the Commission.  Commissioner Heath seconded the motion.  The motion received unanimous approval from the members present.

SUB 06-5 – Subdivision Petition and

SUE 05-9 – Special Use Exception Petition (Parking Lot)

Holy Infant Catholic Church, 621 & 623 Dennison Dr and 248 Nancy Place, Ballwin MO 63021 – Msgr. Thomas Dempsey

Father Tom Dempsey of 627 Dennison Drive addressed the Commission, requesting approval for front yard parking for a parking lot on the southeast corner of Nancy Place and Dennison Drive, across from the church.

Father Dempsey said that the need for additional parking space has long been recognized.  There is adequate parking to accommodate the six worship services that are held over the weekend, but parking is inadequate for the community-building activities that are also held on the weekend such as breakfasts and scripture study.  Parking is a problem when parishioners stay after mass to attend these additional activities.  Father Dempsey said that the additional parking would also allow more handicapped parking spots to be added.

Another problem is traffic on school mornings.  Father Dempsey feels the new parking lot will alleviate those issues.  Illegal parking, both on the street and within the current parking lot, is another issue that may be resolved with the additional parking.  When school is in session, the north portion of the parking lot is used as a playground, and is therefore closed.  This becomes a problem when there are funerals or other parish or school activities held on school days.

Father Dempsey said that the location for the new parking lot was chosen because it is closer to the front entrance of the church, and because they want to leave the area north of the parking lot available for further expansion to the church campus.  He then introduced Jerry Brendel of Zambrana Engineering, Jeff Kendall of Horstmann Landscaping, and Brian Eads of CMT Engineering.

Mr. Brendel said that the petitioner has spent the last year working on the plan, in order to address the concerns of the City as well as the neighboring residents.  CMT Engineering was brought in to do a parking needs and traffic study.

Mr. Brendel said that the proposed parking lot is comprised of 120 parking spaces, with landscaping and an area for stormwater detention.  Five new handicapped spaces will be provided in front of the church.  A 20’ landscaped buffer will be provide 80% screening on the portions of the site that adjoin existing residences.  A landscape buffer will provide 60% screening for the detention area.

Stormwater detention complies with MSD’s special requirements for drainage into Fishpot Creek.  The stormwater release rate will be much less than occurs today with single family housing development.  Lights will be shielded, and will be on a timer that turns them off at 10:00 p.m. under normal conditions.

A crosswalk will be provided from the existing lot, and sidewalks will be rebuilt to accommodate the handicapped parking.

Mr. Eads of CMT engineering discussed the traffic study.  Existing traffic conditions, parking needs, and projected traffic conditions with the new parking lot were reviewed.  The portion of the north lot that is closed during the school day for recreation opens for the afternoon dismissal.  There are two dismissal times to accommodate all the students and traffic.  The new lot will be used as a staging area for the second dismissal, or to accommodate one large dismissal.

In reviewing existing demands, the current parking lots meet or nearly meet the minimum county and city parking requirements.  During highly attended weekend masses and special events, parking needs are in excess of the spaces available.  On-street parking alleviates this problem somewhat; however, there is illegal parking on the lots, causing an unsafe condition.  The parking lot to the north is underutilized due to the distance from the church entrance, which is the reason for the placement of the proposed parking lot.  There would be no adverse effects on traffic flow from the new lot.

Jeff Kendall from Horstmann Brothers Landscaping described the landscape plan.  Evergreens will be used to provide screening year round, along with other plantings that will provide color and interest.  Commissioner Karr asked if the plantings would be elevated on a berm.  There will be a raised landscape bed along the east side, but the topography on the north side does not allow for a berm.

Commissioner Hunter asked for clarification as to how the new lot would alleviate traffic issues at dismissal times.  Mr. Eads explained the procedure for dismissal and said that rather than queuing along Nancy Place in preparation for the second dismissal, those parents could wait in the new parking lot.  Commissioner Hunter asked if the new lot could be used for morning drop-off, since that time is more problematic for drivers on New Ballwin Road at Reinke Road/Old Ballwin Road.  Father Dempsey said that is the preliminary plan, but the details of implementation have not been worked out.  Chairman Boland said that there are two other schools on New Ballwin Road that contribute to the traffic problem.

Commissioner Wind said he is concerned about the safety of children having to cross Nancy Place to get to the new parking lot, in light of on-street parking on Nancy Place.  If the new lot is approved, he feels that parking should be restricted on all or parts of Nancy Place and Dennison Drive.  City Attorney Lucchesi said that the Planning & Zoning Commission does not have jurisdiction over parking.  The church and/or residents would have to make the request.  Mr. Eads said that this is discussed in the traffic study.

Commissioner Karr asked if the church planned to use the new lot for any other purpose, such as youth or church activities.  Father Dempsey said there are no specific plans to do so, but he does not rule it out.

Chairman Boland opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents to speak in favor of petitions SUB 05-3 and SUE 05-9.

      Mr. Steve Knobbe, 540 Oak Leaf Manor Ct, supports the proposed parking lot.  He is a member of Holy Infant Church and his children attend school there.  He was a member of the committee that was formed to look into building the new lot, and feels that a good effort was made to accommodate all parties involved.

      Mr. Jim Schmidt, Ellisville, a member of Holy Infant church, supports the proposal.  He said the proposed lot may not solve all of the traffic problems, but it will help with getting cars off of Nancy Place.  The landscaping will be an adequate buffer between the parking lot and surrounding residences.

There were no other proponents.  Chairman Boland then asked if there were any opponents to speak against the petitions.

      Mr. Shawn Taylor, 619 Dennison Drive, stated his concerns about traffic on Dennison Drive.  He is concerned about stormwater runoff and the environmental impact of petroleum products leaking from cars and washing into Fishpot Creek.  He said that people parking on the lot will be able to see into his house until the landscaping grows in enough to be an effective screen.

      Mr. Steve Moehlenkamp, 247 Dennison Drive, said is opposed to the proposed parking lot.  He said the church does not need additional parking since they don’t fill the existing lots.  He said that people will still park on the street.  If the petition is approved, he would like a privacy fence to be installed instead of the landscaping, and for Nancy Place and Dennison Drive to be designated “no parking.”

      Mr. Les Lexow, 252 Dennison Drive, member of Holy Infant Church, said he believes that the lot is bigger than necessary.  He is also concerned about stormwater runoff, as there are existing problems from overcharged storm sewers.

      Ms. Suzanne Schmitt, 254 Dennison Drive, said she has drainage issues in her yard now.  She also prefers a privacy fence in addition to landscaping.  She said there is a problem with drivers speeding after leaving church and after-school traffic blocking her exit from her driveway.

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

Commissioner Wind asked the petitioner to address stormwater drainage concerns and the request for a privacy fence in lieu of landscaping.  Mr. Brendel said that the parking lot will be graded so that the runoff will be captured and directed into the detention basin.  He said that the landscaping, in addition to being an ordinance requirement, was determined to be a more attractive option than fencing and the plantings will be placed close enough to provide screening.  The church will have to decide if it is willing to also install a fence.  The cost of the proposed landscaping is between $35,000-40,000.  Mr. Aiken said the City of Ballwin ordinance requires the landscaping buffer, but does not preclude the addition of a fence.  He said that maintenance of the landscaping is a condition of the special use exception.

Alderman Suozzi asked how many children walked to school, and expressed concern about the safety of individuals using the crosswalk to the proposed parking lot.  She suggested traffic calming to highlight the crosswalk and make it more obvious.

Father Dempsey said several walkers attend Holy Infant School and crossing guards are provided on New Ballwin Road.  He said there has not been a problem with walkers off of New Ballwin Road.

Commissioner Hunter made a motion to recommend approval of petition SUB 05-3 to the Board of Aldermen.  Commissioner Wind seconded the motion.  The motion received unanimous approval from the members present.

Commissioner Wind made a motion to recommend approval of petition SUE 05-9 to the Board of Aldermen, with the provision that the petitioner install a privacy fence on the parking lot property line abutting single-family land uses.  Commissioner Karr seconded the motion.  A voice vote was taken with the following result:  Aye – Wind, Heath, Hunter, Boland, Karr, Suozzi.  Nay – Young.  The motion passed 6-1.

Administrative Issues

Chairman Boland reminded the Commission members of their commitment to the Planning & Zoning Commission, and asked that necessary absences be reported in advance.

It was decided that the July meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission will be held on Wednesday, July 5.  Chairman Boland said that he will be unable to attend this meeting.  Commissioner Karr will act as chairman on that date.

Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee Update

Commissioner Karr said that the Committee is at the stage where the input and involvement of the City’s Board members is needed.  The next meeting will be held on June 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the golf course clubhouse, and is open to the public.  The discussion at this meeting will center on critical issues for the City of Ballwin.  The focus of the July 17 meeting will be to identify goals and objectives.  The members of the Board of Aldermen, the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Board of Adjustment are requested to attend these meetings.  Mr. Aiken stated that he has received confirmation that Mr. Bob Gibbs will make an economic development presentation at the July meeting.

Adjournment

A motion was made by Mayor Young and seconded by Commissioner Hunter to adjourn the meeting.  The motion received unanimous approval from the members present.  The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.

Michael Boland, Chairman
Planning & Zoning