Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
MINUTES OF THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING
CITY OF BALLWIN – 300 PARK DRIVE
July 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 Sue Heath
Secretary Frank Karr Commissioner Ron Kadane
Commissioner Pat Apel
Commissioner Pat Buehrle
Commissioner Anna Hunter
Commissioner Jim Leahy
Alderman Jane Suozzi
Mayor Walt Young
Assistant City Administrator Tom Aiken
City Engineer Gary Kramer
City Attorney Robert Jones
Approval of Minutes
A motion was made by Commissioner Buehrle and seconded by Commissioner Apel to approve the min-utes of the June 2, 2008 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as submitted. The motion re-ceived unanimous approval from the Commission members present.
Z 07-1 (4) – Zoning Ordinance Change Petition and
SUB 07-1 (4) – Subdivision Petition
The Verandahs at Kehrs Mill, 520 Kehrs Mill Road, Ballwin MO 63011
Mr. Christopher Kersten, Charter Development Group I LLC, 11737 Administration Drive, Suite 101, St. Louis MO 63146
Mr. Michael Mueller of Cornerstone Engineering addressed the Commission on behalf of the petitioner and requested approval for these petitions. He said the petitioner has substantially changed the site plan in accordance with recommendations in the previous petition review reports. He noted the homes on Kehrs Mill Road face the road and have side-entry garages. Mr. Mueller said that one of the issues raised in the staff report was that no sidewalk is shown along Kehrs Mill Road. He said this was an oversight on his part; the petitioner does plan on dedicating the right-of-way and building the sidewalk. Mr. Mueller also noted that the detention has been increased in accordance with MSD regulations.
Chairman Wind raised the issue of density and compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood. Mr. Mueller said that with this layout, the petitioner tried to create as much open space as possible, much of which incorporates the required stormwater detention. The lot sizes are above the minimum 6,000 sq. ft. per lot. Mr. Mueller said the petitioner feels that this plan is a good transition from commercial to resi-dential. Chairman Wind asked if the amount of detention is determined by the number of homes. Mr. Mueller said that the amount of detention is determined by the amount of impervious area. He said they are discussing several different techniques with MSD that will lessen the impact of the hard surfaces.
Chairman Wind said that he did not see elevations of the homes the petitioner is proposing. Planning Di-rector Aiken said that the petitioner only included one set with the submitted plans, but did not provide copies to include in the packets. Chairman Wind asked about the footprint code violation noted in the petition review report. Mr. Aiken said that two of the units are too close to the south property line as shown on the present drawing. He said that this may be adjusted with a different footprint or rearrange-ment of lots. Mr. Mueller said that the petitioner will make those adjustments as needed.
Chairman Wind said he feels the petitioner is putting too many units on this property and the duplex homes do not fit with the single-family residential character of the neighborhood. He said that the pro-posed development doesn’t conform to either the 1997 or the 2007 community plans. Mr. Mueller said that the proposal is not far from the theoretical density of 19 units cited in the petition review report, and the units shown are similar to the units in Kehrs Mill Crossing on Holloway Road.
Commissioner Hunter said that her main concern is that this property has been zoned R-1 since 1966. No reason has been provided to explain the need for a change. One might see this as spot zoning and the Planning & Zoning Commission is charged with preventing spot zoning rather than creating it. Their re-sponsibility lies with protecting the character of the existing neighborhood. She said she does not see a valid argument for changing the zoning. Mr. Mueller pointed out that the request for rezoning includes a downzoning of a portion of the property that is zoned C-1 Commercial. He said they are trying to create a buffer between commercial and large lot residential. Commissioner Hunter said that the trees currently make a beautiful buffer along the whole property. She stated that she feels the petitioner is trying to put too many homes on this parcel.
Commissioner Karr said that this is the fourth time the Planning & Zoning Commission has heard this presentation, and many of the comments of the Commission have been ignored in subsequent submis-sions. Alderman Suozzi asked the petitioner if they looked into building fewer units. Mr. Mueller said that they met with staff to come up with the proposed configuration of lots, and this is the density that came from those meetings. Ms. Suozzi noted that no argument has been given as to why the petitioner does not want to or cannot develop this parcel as single-family R-1. Mr. Mueller said that the petitioner went with this type of development due to the price point and the proximity to the commercial site.
Commissioner Buehrle asked if the petitioner thought that the multi-family units would be easier to mar-ket since the development backs up to commercial property. Mr. Mueller said that is correct. Mr. Buehrle asked if they could build the development with two less units. Mr. Kersten said that he would accept that stipulation if it would move this proposal forward.
Alderman Suozzi voiced her agreement with Commissioner Karr that the petitioner has been told with each submittal that 19 is the maximum number of units for this parcel, and the Commission is still getting proposals for a 22-unit development. She said the proposal would be more palatable to her if it were within the 125% density increase recommended by the comprehensive plan. Alderman Suozzi also said that while she understands the need for detention, eliminating all those trees to get it is a real concern.
Chairman Wind noted that if single-family homes were built, it would probably reduce the need for deten-tion and save more of the trees. Commissioner Hunter said that it would still depend on the type of homes that are built; for the current proposal, the entire site has to be regraded to accommodate walk-out base-ments. Mr. Mueller said that even if the plan didn’t call for walk-out basements, the site would still have to be regraded.
Chairman Wind declared the public hearing open and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of Petitions Z 07-1 (4) and SUB 07-1 (4). There were none. Chairman Wind asked if there were any opponents to speak against the petition.
Mr. Don Brush, 566 Kehrs Mill Road, said that he feels there are too many units in the proposed de-velopment. He would like to have more green space between his home and the nearest unit. He said his screened-in deck is approximately ten feet from the property line.
Mr. Carl Essen, former resident of 520 Kehrs Mill Road, said that he believes that City Attorney Jones has a conflict of interest in this matter. He submitted appellate court documents for the Com-mission’s review. Mr. Essen believes that the petitioner is not reliable and cannot be trusted to follow through with the development if approved.
Chairman Wind asked City Attorney Jones about the documents submitted by Mr. Essen. City Attorney Jones said that Mr. Essen is correct in saying that he (Jones) was appointed commissioner by Barbara Wallace in 2006 to handle the partition of the property between Mr. Essen and his two sisters. They were joint tenants having absolute right to partition the property; there was nothing Mr. Essen could have done to stop that from happening. Mr. Jones said the court appointed him as commissioner to find the best sale contract for this parcel, and that is what he did. The fact that an appeal from Mr. Essen has been dis-missed because the judgment wasn’t final has nothing to do with the consideration of the petitions before the Commission.
There were no other opponents and Chairman Wind closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Leahy said that the Commission members are aware that eventually this property will be developed. He said he would not be opposed to this development if it were done in accordance with the zoning and the Comprehensive Plan. Since the petitioner has been asked three times to reduce the number of units, and has not done so, Mr. Leahy said that he cannot in good faith vote in favor of this petition.
Mr. Mueller requested that he be allowed to address Mr. Brush’s concerns. He said that if the number of units were reduced to 19, the additional buffer could be provided. Chairman Wind said he believes that the primary concern of the Commission is the issue of spot zoning to accommodate multi-family units. Mr. Wind said that density is not his main concern, but rather that the proposed plan in not in keeping with the neighborhood character as discussed in the petition review report.
Commissioner Buehrle said he can understand the concern about spot zoning, but said there may be situa-tions where it’s unavoidable. He said he can see the petitioner’s point that a potential buyer would not want to live in a house that backs up to a commercial site. Chairman Wind asked if the potential buyer of a duplex would? Mr. Mueller said that they might be more likely to. Commissioner Buehrle asked if it would be considered spot zoning if the homes along Kehrs Mill Road were single family homes, with duplex units in the rear. Planning Director Aiken said it would be difficult to answer this kind of hypo-thetical question without a plan. One has to look at the totality of the project and its surroundings in rela-tionship to the neighborhood and the Comprehensive Plan to answer such a question.
Planning Director Aiken said that relative to the issue of proximity to commercial development, what Mr. Mueller is saying is traditional planning theory as far as the gradation of intensity. However, there are 150 homes in Ballwin that abut C-1 commercial districts. Such proximity is not out of keeping with the character of Ballwin, and he isn’t aware that this creates a problem for the homeowners.
Commissioner Apel made a motion to recommend denial of Petition Z 07-1 (4) to the Board of Aldermen. Commissioner Hunter seconded the motion. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye – Karr, Leahy, Apel, Wind, Hunter, and Buehrle. Nay – Suozzi, Young. The motion passed 6-2.
Commissioner Apel made a motion to recommend denial of Petition SUB 07-1 (4) to the Board of Al-dermen. Commissioner Hunter seconded the motion. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye – Karr, Leahy, Apel, Wind, and Hunter. Nay – Suozzi, Young, and Buehrle. The motion passed 5-3.
SUB 08-2 – Subdivision Petition
Government Center Consolidation Subdivision, 14811 Manchester Road, Ballwin MO 63011
Planning Director Aiken presented the petition, stating that in 1995, the City purchased the property that the Government Center sits on, which is comprised of two parcels. In 2007, MoDOT gave the City a por-tion of the Manchester Road right-of-way that contained what used to be known as Paulding Drive. When the City built Kehrs Mill Road in the park and realigned Seven Trails Drive, there were parcels left between the roads and the Government Center. This proposal is to combine all the parcels into one for ease of use and future development.
Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of Petition SUB 08-2. There were none. Chairman Wind asked if there were any opponents to speak in opposition to the petition. There were none, and Chairman Wind declared the public hearing closed.
Commissioner Buehrle made a motion to recommend approval of Petition SUB 08-2 to the Board of Al-dermen. Commissioner Karr seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Com-mission members present.
Z 08-2 – SUE Regulations Amendments
This item was held over from the June 2, 2008 meeting. Planning Director Aiken reminded the Commis-sion that they had completed their review through Item 24 in the SUE Regulations Amendments.
25. Private retirement community, and/or nursing home offering living facilities…
Planning Director Aiken said the biggest change to this item was expansion to allow it in more than just the one PSD zoning district.
Chairman Wind asked if an amendment were to be made in the future, would the process be this exten-sive? Planning Director Aiken said it wouldn’t need to be, if there were just a couple of changes. He also noted that it is fully within the Planning & Zoning Commission’s authority to initiate changes to these regulations and make recommendations to the Board of Aldermen.
No further changes were made to the SUE Regulations Amendments.
Commissioner Karr made a motion to recommend approval of Z08-2 to the Board of Aldermen as amended. Commissioner Leahy seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.
Z 08-3 – C-1 Regulations Amendments
Planning Director Aiken said that after going through the SUE Regulations and making changes and cor-recting inconsistencies, the C-1 Regulations had to be amended accordingly.
Discussion was held regarding the definition of “place of worship.” City Attorney Jones said that unless the City chooses to give it a definition, the Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Aldermen is left to determine whatever criteria they wish to impose. He suggested including the parenthetical expression “including, but not limited to …” and list some examples such as temple, synagogue, etc. This language could be used as guidance if a petition came before the Commission. It was agreed to include this lan-guage.
Chairman Wind asked about Item 21 - Parking Lots and Multiple Level Parking Facilities. Does this refer to public or private parking or storage? Planning Director Aiken said either would be covered by this provision. He said under current regulations, parking lots are an allowed use. This regulation was probably envisioned as applying to a pay-to-park daily rate lot such as those found in more urban area. This led to the situation in which a piece of property is currently being used as a storage lot for a business that is not located in the City of Ballwin. Planning Director Aiken said that his intention with this amendment is to make parking facilities accessory to adjoining and affiliated uses.
Commissioner Karr asked if the definition of Item 17 – Office and Business Services should be ex-panded to include faxing and emailing. Planning Director Aiken said that he felt that the general term “office and business services” encompassed those services, but additional descriptive terms can be in-cluded if the Commission believes they are necessary.
No further changes were made to the C-1 Regulations Amendments.
Commissioner Buehrle made a motion to recommend approval of Z08-3 to the Board of Aldermen as amended. Commissioner Apel seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Com-mission members present.
Z 08-5 – Non-Conforming Use Regulations Amendments
Planning Director Aiken said that this is another outgrowth of the process of making amendments to the SUE Regulations. City Attorney Jones had recommended tightening the definitions.
No changes were made to the Non-Conforming Use Regulations Amendments.
Commissioner Hunter made a motion to recommend approval of Z08-5 to the Board of Aldermen as submitted. Commissioner Leahy seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.
Summary of Items Sent to the Board of Aldermen/Business Licenses Issued
Chairman Wind said that he noticed ELCO is moving forward. Mr. Aiken said that the construction they are doing now is what the Planning & Zoning Commission approved last year. Commissioner Buehrle asked about the Clubhouse Pizza proposal. Mr. Aiken said he hasn’t heard anything else from the petitioner. Alderman Suozzi said that the petitioner told her that he is having some difficulty with financing, but he is still excited about the project.
Chairman Wind asked if there were any agenda items for the August meeting. Mr. Aiken said that at this point, there are not. He said that if there are items for the September meeting, there is a conflict with the Labor Day holiday. Chairman Wind asked if there are any objections to moving the meeting to September 2 if there are agenda items. Most Commission members said they are able to attend a meet-ing on that date. It was determined to move the meeting to that date if there are agenda items.
Commissioner Karr asked if the church that is to be built on Ries Road will come before the Planning & Zoning Commission. Mr. Aiken said it isn’t required to; it is allowed by right. Commissioner Karr asked if builders for the lots at the corner of Ries Road and Ries Bend would be required to come before the Planning & Zoning Commission. Mr. Aiken said that unless the lot configuration is changed, they are not required to do so.
A motion was made by Chairman Wind and seconded by Commissioner Karr to adjourn the meeting. The motion received unanimous approval, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:27 p.m.
Michael Wind, Chairman
Planning & Zoning Commission