Planning and Zoning Meeting Agendas and Minutes
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Special Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting
PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION MEETING
Held at the Pointe At Ballwin Commons Community Center:
1. Call to Order
2. Z 09-1 and Z 09-2 – Zoning Ordinance Change – C-1 and NCD Zoning
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May 18th Updates to orginal documents
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS – SPECIAL MEETING
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:
Chairman Wind explained the process followed by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Z 09-1 and Z 09-2 – Zoning Ordinance Change – C-1 and NCD Zoning
Mr. Jim Mello, attorney for Schnuck Markets, addressed the Commission, requesting approval for Peti-tions Z 09-1 and Z 09-2. Mr. Mello introduced the members of Schnuck’s development team who were in attendance: Mr. David Fontana, Vice President of Supermarket Development; Mr. Joel Kersten and Mr. Paul Brink of Kuhlmann Design Group; Ms. Julie Nolfo of Crawford, Bunte & Brammeier.
Mr. Mello described the parcel and said the petitioner is requesting that the site be rezoned from R-3 Sin-gle Family Residential to C-1 Commercial, with the implementation of the Neighborhood Commercial Overlay District. Mr. Mello said that the petitioner believes that the rezoning is supported by changes in the area that have occurred since the parcel was annexed into Ballwin. The parcel is bounded to the west by Clarkson Road, a major north-south MoDOT thoroughfare, and to the north by Kehrs Mill Road, a major St. Louis County arterial roadway. Mr. Mello said these roadways are not typically conducive to residential development.
Mr. Mello said that the properties abutting the intersection of Clarkson Road and Kehrs Mill Road are high-intensity uses. He said that Marquette High School, which lies northwest of the site, creates as much or more traffic than the proposed development will.
Mr. Mello said that the small size of the parcel does not lend itself to residential development. By the time infrastructure is installed and the street is extended from the existing neighboring subdivision into the site, it would not be economically feasible to develop a single family subdivision. In addition, a resi-dential development with a high enough density to make the project economically justifiable would create the very issues that are being addressed by the commercial proposal. The economics of the development the petitioner is able to provide will mitigate existing conditions that are adverse to the neighborhood.
Mr. Mello said the proposed development is not the typical supermarket. The proposed building is two-thirds of the size of a typical Schnuck’s store. The emphasis is going to be on providing neighborhood-type services, with an extensive deli, a sit-down café with indoor and outdoor seating, and a hot food and salad bar. The store will also have a florist shop, bakery and pharmacy. The store is designed to serve the people in the neighborhood, not to attract customers from a large area.
Mr. Mello said the peak traffic flow of the store will not conflict with that generated by the high school. There are two entrances to the site. The entrance from Clarkson Road will be a right-in/right-out only, with a median barrier to prevent left turns in or out. The Kehrs Mill Road entrance will be a full access entrance. Mr. Mello said the parking lot is smaller than is typical for the square footage. The petitioner will provide a 30’ landscaped buffer and an 8’ fence between the parking lot and the adjoining residential properties. Pedestrian access will be provided at several locations on the site.
Mr. Mello said the height of the building has been kept at 35’, which is no higher than the residential zon-ing would permit. The dock area and the building itself is situated as close to the roadway as possible in order to remove it from the residential area. Mr. Mello said the petitioner has agreed to certain opera-tional restrictions. There is no outside dumpster; all trash is fed internally to a trash compactor in the loading dock. The hours of operation will be from 6:00 a.m. until midnight, and deliveries will be re-stricted to between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Mr. Mello discussed the architecture of the proposed building. He said the architectural details of the building will give it a more residential feel. A portion of the northeast corner of the site will be dedicated to the City for placement of street art to create an entrance feature for the community.
Ms. Julie Nolfo spoke about the traffic study. She said her firm, Crawford Bunte Brammeier (CBB) is very familiar with the intersection of Clarkson and Kehrs Mill roads and its constraints. She said by no means is it a perfect intersection in terms of how it works.
Ms. Nolfo said that CBB looked at four time periods when doing the traffic study. They looked at the morning commuter hour, which coincides with the school peak in the morning. They also looked at the afternoon school dismissal times, weekday afternoon commuter hour, and the Saturday midday peak hour, all during the month of March. With the exception of one count of the turns into and out of National City Bank, all counts were made during periods that did not coincide with spring break for the nearby schools.
Ms. Nolfo said that the heaviest commuter flow in the morning is northbound on Clarkson Rd. In the afternoon, the southbound lanes carry the heaviest traffic. Another problem in the morning is the east-bound lane on Kehrs Mill turning north on Clarkson Rd. Motorists making that right turn and heading to Marquette High School have to wait until all the northbound lanes are clear so they can cross to make the left turn into Marquette. This results in a right turn queue that is considerably longer than it would nor-mally be for this traffic volume. The high school is planning a new access point on Kehrs Mill Road to the west of the intersection, which will help alleviate the right turn queue problem.
Ms. Nolfo noted that in the course of the operational analysis of this intersection, CBB adjusted the signal timing in cooperation with MoDOT to make it operate better. Ms. Nolfo said that one of MoDOT’s re-quirements once this proposed development opens is to have the entire corridor studied and new timing put in from Froesel Rd. in Ellisville to Lea Oaks in Chesterfield. MoDOT recognizes that the signal tim-ing could be improved upon, particularly at the intersection of Clarkson and Kehrs Mill Roads.
Ms. Nolfo then addressed pedestrian accommodations. She said there currently are none at the intersec-tion of Clarkson and Kehrs Mill. They are provided at the intersection of Clarkson and Country Ridge, the next signalized intersection to the north, but students cross at the Clarkson and Kehrs Mill intersection without benefit of signalized protection.
Ms. Nolfo confirmed that access will be provided to the proposed development at two sites as Mr. Mello stated. She said the additional traffic that will be attributable to the proposed development during peak hours will be one additional car per minute added to Kehrs Mill Road.
Ms. Nolfo discussed the road improvements that would be made as a part of the proposal. A second southbound turn lane will be added on Clarkson Road, and Kehrs Mill Road will be widened to the inter-section at Westpar Drive to accept the two turning lanes. A deceleration lane and raised median will be provided on Clarkson Road, allowing northbound traffic to slow down to make the turn into the site and minimize the impact on traffic in the thru lane. The raised median will prevent southbound traffic from making a left into or out of the site. The existing northbound right turn lane at the intersection will be extended to meet MoDOT’s standards. Pedestrian crosswalks will be provided across Clarkson Road on the south leg and Kehrs Mill Road on the west leg. The signal will be timed to allow adequate pedestrian passage across Clarkson Road.
Ms. Nolfo said that the petitioner has met with the Rockwood School Board. People are having difficulty getting into the high school site. CBB is willing to work with the Rockwood School Board to mitigate these issues. Ms. Nolfo said that this is an opportunity to have significant investment in the infrastructure of Clarkson Road, Kehrs Mill Road, and possibly even the Marquette High School site, that will allow for improved traffic flow in the immediate vicinity, even with the traffic that will be added by the proposed development. The proposed roadway and pedestrian improvements would enhance the safety of the inter-section.
Commissioner Heath asked how the petitioner chose this site. Mr. Mello said that there is a void in this vicinity for a Schnuck’s store. He said the Schnuck family has been in the grocery business for over 50 years, and they feel this location is a way to better serve new and existing customers.
Commissioner Heath asked if the petitioner is concerned about Marquette students parking on the Schnuck’s parking lot. Mr. Mello said that it would be simple to enforce not allowing all-day parking on the lot. He said it is disingenuous to think that students will not meet up in the parking lot; he said it hap-pens on the site now.
Commissioner Kadane said the plan that was prepared by Kuhlmann Design is not sealed by an engineer or a surveyor. He asked about the height of the retaining walls, and the lighting issues. Mr. Mello said the petitioner has proposed lamps on 16’ tall poles in the parking lot, which is shorter than is typical in most parking lots. In the areas near residential properties, the lamps will have shields to keep the light from spilling onto the neighboring properties.
Secretary Karr asked about the certainty of the roadway modifications. Ms. Nolfo said that with the ex-ception of the suggested Marquette High School parking lot improvements, all the intersection and road-way improvements have been conceptually approved by MoDOT and St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic. Commissioner Kadane asked if Schnuck’s is willing to participate in the funding of the Marquette parking lot. Mr. Mello said the petitioner is willing to cooperate financially.
Chairman Wind asked if the roadway improvements would be in place prior to Schnuck’s opening. Ms. Nolfo said that having all the roadway improvements completed prior to the opening of Schnuck’s would be a requirement of both MoDOT and St. Louis County. The only improvement that would not be com-pleted would be the signal timing study of Clarkson Road. MoDOT indicated a preference for that to be done after opening, so actual store traffic will be included as opposed to traffic projections. The whole process is usually completed within six weeks.
Commissioner Schwent asked if CBB rechecks the estimates it prepares. Ms. Nolfo said that it does re-count intersections. Mr. Schwent asked about the rate of reliability in the projected traffic counts. Ms. Nolfo said that the estimates correspond with the Institute of Transportation Engineers standards. In this case, the two comparably-sized Schnuck’s stores in the area were also counted.
Commissioner Schwent asked about the difference between the plan and Ms. Nolfo’s presentation in re-gard to crosswalks. Ms. Nolfo said that at the time the study was done, there was a possibility of doing dual lefts on Kehrs Mill Rd., but it was not a sure thing. The study was written to cover both scenarios, with and without the dual lefts. The study determined that if there were no dual lefts, no pedestrian cross-walk could be provided on Clarkson Road and there would be one across Kehrs Mill on the east leg. Commissioner Heath said that it is imperative to have the crosswalk on Clarkson Road.
Commissioner Kadane asked about the portion of the site that doesn’t appear to have a berm in the buffer area. Mr. Paul Brink, project designer for KDG, said that the area in question is a transition area between the parking lot and the adjoining residential properties. The City requested that the petitioner raise the landscape areas between the two to get as much height as possible. They were able to do more in some areas than others.
Secretary Karr asked whether the petitioner will be using pervious material for the parking lot. Mr. Brink said the petitioner is considering it, but has not made a decision yet. Mr. Karr asked if the petitioner has used the pervious material in other places. Mr. Brink said other companies have used it locally, but the petitioner has not. He said there are benefits, but long-term maintenance also has to be evaluated.
Alderman Terbrock said he understands the issues inherent in pervious pavement with the cycle of freez-ing and thawing in this area. He asked if the petitioner has considered using the stormwater runoff to irri-gate the site. Mr. Brink said the site would be fully irrigated, but the petitioner has not made plans to use stormwater runoff for that purpose. Commissioner Kadane asked if the petitioner would be willing to consider it. Mr. Brink said they have not gotten to that point, but would consider it. Mr. Mello said one of the considerations in deciding on a pavement is the use of shopping carts, which need a smooth surface.
Chairman Wind asked if the petitioner is willing to comply with the 100% landscaping screening recom-mendation of the petitioner review report. Mr. Mello said 100% screening is difficult to attain immedi-ately, but the petitioner will meet that requirement.
Commissioner Kadane asked about the landmark feature required by the NCD ordinance. Mr. Mello said that while there is no specific piece planned, the petitioner has agreed to work with the City on this issue.
Commissioner Heath asked about sales projections, saying that it is a concern that the space will be left vacant after several years. Mr. Mello said this proposal is a serious commitment by the Schnucks organi-zation.
Chairman Wind said he has 130 speaker forms that are “written comment only,” which will be distributed among the Commission members to review while listening to those speaking. He then declared the public hearing open and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of Petitions Z 09-1 and Z 09-2. There were none. Chairman Wind asked if there were any opponents to speak against the petition.
Steven L. Kling Jr., Jenkins & Kling Attorneys at Law, 10 S. Brentwood Blvd, Clayton MO, rep-resenting the Clarkson Crossing, Picardy, Williamsburg Green, Stonebriar, Forest Hills, Westhamp-tion, Dunhill and Roundhill subdivisions, said this is one of the most drastic types of rezoning re-quests, going from single family residential to intense retail. The proposed zoning is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. It does not comply with the two most recent comprehensive plans.
Terry Grogan, 15924 Cypress Trace Ct., representing the trustees of Clarkson Crossing subdivision, said this site has always been designated by the City as residential in the comprehensive plans.
Paul DeNunzio, 15915 Picardy Crest Ct., Chesterfield MO, feels the proposed development would have a negative environmental impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, including light pollution, noise pollution, and odors and litter from trash dumpsters.
Gerry Matlock, 2327 Eagles Glen Ct., representing Citizens Against Increased Noise, is concerned that the noise from this development will have an adverse impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
Jeff Gidday, 15963 Cypress Trace Ct., said significant traffic congestion already exists at this inter-section. The proposed development will exacerbate the problem.
Bob Bohlmann, 2311 Eagles Glen Ct., feels traffic at peak hours will significantly increase with the proposed development. Safety at the intersection will not be improved if the project is approved since pedestrians will have to cross more lanes of traffic.
Deb Ksiazek, 2351 Westpar Dr., said the traffic study was partially conducted during spring break; therefore the traffic counts are skewed. The report also underestimates traffic volumes if the proposed development is built.
John Bezdichek, 15923 Picardy Crest Ct. Chesterfield MO, said there are already many accidents at this intersection. If the proposed development is built, incidents and accidents will increase. Traffic congestion will be much worse.
Myrna Meador, 2328 Eagles Glen Ct., representing the Marquette High School Parent Association, is concerned that the proposed rezoning will adversely affect the safety of Marquette High School stu-dents.
Shannon Cancila, 2206 Rebecca Lynn Ct. Chesterfield MO., read a prepared statement from the principals at Kehrs Mill Elementary in opposition to the proposed development. They prefer the site remain residential. Ms. Cancila feels the elementary school start time was ignored in the traffic study.
Dennis Firestone, 2303 Eagles Glen Ct., concerned that delivery trucks and sanitation issues will negatively impact the general welfare of the community.
Jim Nelson, 15961 Downall Green Dr., representing Williamsburg Green subdivision, feels the gen-eral character of the neighborhood would be changed if the proposed development is approved. Feels the grocery store is not needed at this location.
Linda Gidday, 15963 Cypress Trace Ct., feels the proposed development would negatively impact property values in the surrounding neighborhood.
Burton Halpern, 24 Picardy Hill Dr., Chesterfield MO., is concerned that rezoning this site to C-1 Commercial would hurt the property values and marketability of the homes in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Alex Lambie, 15918 Fairway Lakes Ct., is concerned that Marquette students will park on the Schnucks parking lot and cross the intersection to the high school.
Scott Douglas, Mayor of Clarkson Valley, is concerned about stormwater runoff. He feels that the zoning should remain residential.
Roberta Doebert, 2348 Fairwood Forest Ct., is concerned about the safety of students walking to Marquette High School if the proposed development is approved.
Mr. Mello said that he felt that the comments made about the traffic and safety issues had been addressed in the traffic study presentation. He said the comments about dumpsters are not true statements. All trash is compacted and not placed in a dumpster. He said that comments were made about commercial devel-opments in proximity to schools in the Rockwood school district, and noted that the City of Eureka ap-proved a commercial development directly across Hwy 109 from Eureka High School. He said there are numerous other commercial developments in close proximity to schools in the area.
Commissioner Kadane asked the petitioner to address the comments regarding the parking lot lights. Would they be on all night? Mr. Mello said the lights would be on for a short period after the store closed for the safety of the last customers and the employees, but they would not be on all night. Commissioner Kadane asked if the petitioner is flexible regarding the closing time of midnight. Mr. Mello said that the zoning district and NCD do not limit hours of operation. The petitioner decided to close at midnight to be sensitive to the concerns of the neighboring residents.
Commissioner Kadane asked about the type of delivery trucks that would come to the site. Mr. Mello said Schnucks delivery trucks are backed up to the loading dock and left there for unloading. This is a once-a-day operation. Other vendors would come on a scheduled basis during the non-peak hours. Fre-quency would depend on sales.
Commissioner Kadane asked Ms. Nolfo if she wanted to address any of the traffic issues that were brought up in the public hearing. Ms. Nolfo noted that CBB is very aware of the start and stop times for Kehrs Mill Elementary. CBB studied the traffic from 7:00-9:00 a.m. and from 2:45-6:00 p.m. on typical weekdays. From those times, they picked the three highest hours of traffic generation. None corre-sponded with the Kehrs Mill Elementary start time.
Commissioner Kadane said that one of the issues considered by the Planning & Zoning Commission is whether the proposed development follows the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan. He read from the 2007 Plan, which recommends the City of Ballwin move towards long-range mixed use redevel-opment strategies including neighborhood commercial activity. Commissioner Kadane feels this devel-opment falls in line with this recommendation.
Commissioner Kadane said that the traffic issue has been addressed. He said he visited the site twice, most recently on the afternoon of this hearing. Mr. Kadane noted that someone spoke in the public hear-ing about how quiet the neighborhood is. He said all he heard were trucks and traffic.
Commissioner Kadane said this developer is a first-class developer, but regardless of who develops this property, they will need to meet the requirements of the City of Ballwin.
Chairman Wind said this is a difficult decision to make. He said he doesn’t feel the petitioner has proven that the Comprehensive plan was incorrect in its recommendation for this site. However, he said it is a difficult piece of property to develop. If it isn’t developed residentially, eventually it will probably be developed commercially, because the area surrounding it has changed in character over the years.
Commissioner Heath said that she doesn’t feel the proposed development is in keeping with the surround-ing neighborhood or the Comprehensive Plan.
Commissioner Heath made a motion to recommend denial of Petition Z 09-2. Chairman Wind seconded the motion. A motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.
A motion was made by Chairman Wind and seconded by Commissioner Heath to adjourn the meeting. The motion received unanimous approval, and the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.
Michael Wind, Chairman