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Planning and Zoning Meeting Agendas and Minutes

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Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

Meeting Agenda

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Meeting Minutes

STATEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO INDIVIDUALS IN THIS “DRAFT” ARE NOT VERBATIM QUOTES. 
MINUTES OF MEETINGS ARE REPORTED IN SUMMARY AND NOT REPORTED VERBATIM. 
THIS IS AN “UNOFFICIAL DRAFT VERSION” OF THE MEETING MINUTES. 
DRAFT VERSIONS OF MINUTES ARE SUBJECT TO REVIEW, MODIFICATION, AND APPROVAL
OF THE PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
MINUTES OF THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING
CITY OF BALLWIN – 300 PARK DRIVE
November 1, 2010

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:
 
PRESENT                                            ABSENT
Chairman Michael Wind                   Commissioner Pat Apel
Secretary Frank Karr 
Commissioner Mike Utt 
Commissioner Sue Theodore 
Commissioner John Schwent 
Commissioner Mark Weaver 
Commissioner Chris Wright 
Alderman Frank Fleming 
Mayor Tim Pogue  
Assistant City Administrator Thomas Aiken 
City Engineer Gary Kramer 
City Attorney Robert Jones 

Approval of Minutes

Chairman Wind amended the minutes on Page 2, paragraph 3 to read, “A detached car wash is pro-posed…”  A motion was made by Secretary Karr and seconded by Commissioner Weaver to approve the minutes of the October 4, 2010 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as amended.  The motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present. 

Chairman Wind stated that, for expediency, the petitions on the agenda would be heard in reverse order.

SUE 10-04 – Special Use Exception (Communications Tower Erection)
  Ferris Park Cell Tower, 500 New Ballwin Road, Ballwin MO  63011
  Petitioner:  Ms. Tabitha Riggle, SSC for Tower Co., 701 Emerson Rd #333, Creve Coeur MO  63141 

Ms. Tabitha Riggle addressed the Commission on behalf of Tower Co and Clearwire, stating that the peti-tioner is withdrawing their special use exception petition at this time.

SUE 10-05 – Special Use Exception
  (Alcoholic Beverage Sales by the Drink for Consumption on the Premises)
  Royal Buffet & Grill, 15425 Manchester Road #38, Ballwin MO  63011
  Petitioner:  Mr. Fa Xian Yuan, 15425 Manchester Road #38, Ballwin MO  63011

Mr. Fa Xian Yuan appeared before the Commission to request approval for this petition.  Mayor Pogue asked City Attorney Jones if the police department report would follow a positive recommendation of the Planning & Zoning Commission.  City Planner Aiken said that the license application has been filed and processed through the police department, and is waiting for final approval at the aldermanic level.  City Attorney Jones said that, pending a positive recommendation of the Planning & Zoning Commission, an ordinance would be ready for the Board of Aldermen to entertain at its November 8, 2010 meeting.

Chairman Wind asked if the license was for beer, wine and spirits.  Mr. Yuan said they would only sell beer.  City Planner Aiken said the special use exception doesn’t differentiate the type of alcohol, just that it will be sold by the drink for consumption on the premises.  The license issued by the Board of Aldermen specifies which type of alcohol the petitioner can sell.

Mayor Pogue asked if the special use exception held by Longhorn Steakhouse at this address does not transfer.  City Attorney Jones said it is issued to the owner/occupant.  City Planner Aiken added that Longhorn has been out of business at this address for so long that the special use exception cannot be transferred.

Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of the petition.  There were none.  Chairman Wind if there asked if there was anyone wishing to speak in opposition to the petition.  There were none, and Chairman Wind declared the public hearing closed.

Alderman Fleming made a motion to recommend approval of Petition SUE 10-05 to Board of Aldermen.  Commissioner Weaver seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Z 10-06 – Zoning Change (Add Manchester Rd Revitalization Overlay Zoning)
SUB 10-03 – Subdivision
  U-Gas Development, 14799 Manchester Rd, Ballwin MO  63011
  Petitioner:  Mr. William Biermann, WB Biermann Co, 1795 Clarkson Rd, Chesterfield MO 63017

Mr. Bill Biermann presented the changes and enhancements that were made to the proposed development as a result of the discussion at the meeting of October 4, 2010.

Mr. Biermann said the building has been redesigned to give the appearance of two stories, with architec-tural features on the sides that face Manchester and Lot B to create a building that doesn’t have a “back.”  The petitioner is proposing a gateway feature at the intersection with seating.  This will include a heavily landscaped bed complemented with a piece of artwork.  Mr. Biermann said the petitioner would like to provide an allowance for the City to purchase the artwork of its choice.

Mr. Biermann said the petitioner will provide streetlights along Seven Trails Drive and the site’s internal roadway that match those along Kehrs Mill Road in Vlasis Park and at the Government Center.  He said the north/south roadway was returned to the site plan in order to alleviate the concern about stacking traf-fic and blocking Manchester Road.  This will also allow the trash dumpster to be more accessible. 

Chairman Wind asked if someone decides not to stay in line for the car wash, how can they get out of that line.  Mr. Biermann said they can exit onto the north/south road at the point opposite the trash enclosure.  Mr. Craig Taylor said the car wash takes between 4 minutes, 30 seconds and 5 minutes, 45 seconds per wash.

Mayor Pogue asked Mr. Taylor about the existing U-Gas near New Ballwin Road.  An alderman had vi-sited the store and asked about its future; an employee replied that it would be converted to a Dirt Cheap store.  Mr. Taylor said that his company owns and operates Dirt Cheap Beer Cigarettes and Liquor in St. Louis, five of which also sell gasoline.  Feasibility studies have been done, and preliminary business anal-ysis indicates maintaining the current gas station use; however, Mr. Taylor cannot guarantee long-term use.  Mr. Biermann said that the petitioner feels that both the existing U-Gas and the proposed development will be viable as gas station/convenience store uses.

Mr. Steve Quigley of Clayton Engineering discussed the details of the street improvements of Seven Trails Drive and the grading to the west of the street.  He said the petitioner is proposing that the new curb line of Seven Trails Drive be followed immediately by the guard rail.  From the back edge of the gua-rdrail, there will be a six-foot sidewalk.  Then there will be an eight-foot planting bed designed at a 3.5 to 1 fall, followed by a 5’ tall (average height) retaining wall.  An additional landscaped bed is proposed below the retaining wall.  An ornamental fence will top the retaining wall, which will range from 5’ to 7’ at its highest point near Manchester Rd.

Alderman Fleming asked about the strip of land required to build the retaining wall.  Is the expectation that the City will donate the land, or is the petitioner proposing to lease or purchase the land from the City?  Mr. Biermann said the petitioner would simply request a temporary easement to make the im-provements, with the City retaining ownership of the property and the improvement.  He said the petition-er is willing take responsibility for the maintenance in perpetuity, and is willing to enter into an agreement with the City whereby, if the petitioner were to fall short on any aspect of the agreed-upon maintenance, the City of Ballwin would have the right to have the work performed and invoice the petitioner.  Mr. Bi-ermann noted that no matter what is built on the Rothman Furniture site, these roadway improvements will have to be made, and the petitioner is willing to undertake that burden.

Chairman Wind asked City Attorney Jones if this type of agreement is something that would need to be stated in the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendation to the Board of Aldermen.  City Attor-ney Jones said there are several ways to approach the issue of ownership of the property, but that at the very least, there must be a maintenance agreement in place.  City policy does allow this type of structure, but it needs aldermanic approval. 
Mayor Pogue asked City Planner Aiken and City Engineer Kramer if QuikTrip owns a strip of land on the east side of Ries Road.  Mr. Kramer said that it does, as a result of QuikTrip donating a portion of their property to allow Ries Road to be built across from Seven Trails Drive. 

Alderman Fleming asked Mr. Quigley to confirm the size of the property on the west side that is needed for the road improvements.  Mr. Quigley said it is approximately .44 acres, about .23 of which is Ballwin right-of-way.  He said the petitioner is establishing a private right-of-way for public use on the east/west roadway within the site, in keeping with the Great Streets Initiative.  Mayor Pogue said that the petitioner needed an access road there for the site’s traffic flow.  Mr. Quigley agreed, but noted that the petitioner went beyond the minimum in that the street will be built to the City’s standards and will provide cross access to properties to the east.   

Alderman Fleming said the petitioner is asking the City to grant  4/10 of an acre on each side of Seven Trails Drive.  Mr. Quigley said the petitioner is asking for .23 of an acre from the City on the east side, with the remainder coming from MoDOT.  Mr. Biermann said that MoDOT has agreed to sell the right-of-way to the petitioner.  City Attorney Jones said that the City can sell the right-of-way to the petitioner as well.  Alderman Fleming said that his main concern is the maintenance of this property.  City Attorney Jones said that the Planning & Zoning Commission can make a recommendation as to how this strip of land is handled; but the Board of Aldermen will ultimately make the decision.

Chairman Wind said that his concern with the strip of land on the west side of Seven Trails Drive is with liability.  He feels that it makes more sense to sell it to the petitioner.  Alderman Fleming agreed, but noted that if the City retains ownership, then any maintenance issues can be addressed promptly.  City Planner Aiken said another consideration with selling the piece of property is loss of future access to Sev-en Trails Drive from the Government Center site. 

City Attorney Jones asked Mr. Biermann if the City were to sell or donate a portion of the strip of land west of Seven Trails Drive to the petitioner, would the petitioner be willing to dedicate some of it back to the City as public right-of-way?  Mr. Craig Taylor of U-Gas said he is willing to purchase the right-of-way on the east side of Seven Trails Drive at the same square foot rate that will be paid to MoDOT, and will continue to work with City staff on the details for the west side.  Chairman Wind reiterated that he feels that it would be in the City’s best interest to sell the piece of property needed for the street improvements and retaining wall on the west side of Seven Trails Drive.  Alderman Fleming said he is leaning towards recommending the lease option, but it will be for the Board of Aldermen to decide.

Mayor Pogue noted that the site distance report submitted by Crawford Bunte Brammeier (CBB) stated the standard could not be met.  Mr. Biermann said that is if people are speeding.  Mr. Brian Rensing of CBB said there is 280’ of sight distance to the north along Seven Trails Drive from the proposed east/west road curb cut.  This adequately meets the 25 mph posted speed. Beyond this speed, the grade and the curve of the road doesn’t allow for visibility.  Stopping sight distance for vehicles traveling north on Sev-en Trails Drive is 40 mph.  The proposed curb cut is at the optimal location along the east side of Seven Trails Drive.  Mr. Rensing added that the volume is relatively low, and the grade of the road for south-bound traffic on Seven Trails Drive allows vehicles to slow down more quickly.

Chairman Wind asked about Exhibit 6 of the traffic impact study.  He asked why the “afternoon in” and the “afternoon out” traffic counts are such disparate figures.  Mr. Rensing went over the figures for the Commission.  City Planner Aiken noted that the two figures won’t necessarily equal each other because cars that enter or exit during peak hours can enter or exit during the previous or subsequent non-peak hours. 

Mayor Pogue asked about the parking demand for the fast-food restaurant site (Lot B).  It appears that parking demand exceeds the number of spaces proposed for Lot B.  Mr. Rensing said that based on obser-vation of another Wendy’s restaurant on two separate days, the maximum parking demand during the peak lunch hour was 35 one day, and 42 on the other.  If the demand for this site was the same, and the preliminary site plan was in place, two cars would have to park at the U-Gas site.  Mr. Biermann said that the final parking plan has not been determined and may be modified from the preliminary plans when the petitioner comes before the Planning & Zoning Commission for Lot B. 

Mayor Pogue said he is still concerned about the 8’ radius on the Lot B curb cut from Manchester Rd.  Delivery trucks will have a difficult time with this and be forced to use the north/south connector road to access Lot B.   Mr. Quigley said that the north/south roadway was returned to the plan as a result of con-cerns raised at the October 4 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission, and trucks can use it to access Lot B as well as Lot C.  Mayor Pogue said the hard turn into Lot B will be difficult for passenger vehicles as well, and there is no westbound right turn only lane shown on the plan.  Without this right turn lane, traffic will potentially back up onto Manchester Road.  Mr. Rensing said that MoDOT required the curb cut alignment shown on the plan to prevent eastbound vehicles from making left turns onto the site from Manchester Road.  Mr. Quigley said that Julie Nolfo of CBB addressed this entrance onto Lot B at the October 4 meeting and did not feel it was a concern.  Chairman Wind asked if the entrance to Lot B can be moved further north.  Mr. Quigley said that can be discussed when the petitioner comes before the Planning & Zoning Commission with a proposal for Lot B.

Chairman Wind asked about the required number of parking spaces for U-Gas.  Mr. Quigley said that the petitioner is willing to remove the spaces along Manchester Road as recommended in the petition review report, but would like to reserve the option to install them if they are needed in the future.  Alderman Fleming asked City Planner Aiken why the petition review report recommended removal of the parking spaces.  Was it an issue of runoff?  City Planner Aiken said the Great Streets study as well as the City’s comprehensive plan showed that the City’s requirements for parking were more than needed most of the time.  Since their need was not supported by the parking study, there seemed to be no reason to build the spaces.

Alderman Fleming said that Ms. Nolfo stated at the October meeting that with the improvements made to Seven Trails Drive, the intersection of Manchester Road and Seven Trails Drive will be no worse than it is currently.  However, the updated tables in the traffic study show that conditions will be D grade.   Mr. Rensing said the traffic impacts are mitigated by the improvements.  He said that in one instance where the level of service went from a “B” to a “C,” the delay increase was less than two seconds.   The letters assigned to the levels of service merely represent a numerical threshold.

The only way to improve the level of service on Seven Trails Drive would be to get more timing from MoDOT, and it has already indicated it will not allow that.  Commissioner Schwent asked if the level of service rating of “F” is only during the peak hours.  Mr. Rensing said technically, it represents the worst 15 minutes of the peak hour and definitely does not apply to the non-peak hours.

Mayor Pogue asked about peak hours for the fast food restaurant.  The current table shows 170 additional trips generated for the morning peak hour if the restaurant serves breakfast, but the total number of trips is the same as the original table.  Mr. Rensing said the total includes morning operations.  The original table’s morning counts were set at zero, reflecting the fact that Wendy’s is not open for breakfast, but included the 170 trips that are shown on the most recent table.

Mayor Pogue asked if the petitioner has plans to include any westbound right turn lanes.  Mr. Rensing said that MoDOT has the study under review and will make that determination.  Mr. Biermann said that at this point, MoDOT is leaning towards not requiring a westbound right turn lane.

Mayor Pogue said he has a major concern with a gas station at this location and the traffic it will generate.  He understands that it is an allowed use in the C-1 district, but only with a special use exception.  Mayor Pogue feels that this development does not pass the requirements of the special use exception.  He feels it will have a negative impact on the park, and the surrounding roadways and neighborhoods.  Mr. Rensing said that most of the additional traffic will be kept well south of the park, in the first 300’ of Seven Trails Drive.  Mayor Pogue said he feels the petitioner is underestimating the amount of traffic that will exit the development and use Seven Trails Drive or Kehrs Mill Road to get to Holloway Road.   Mr. Rensing said the road improvements mitigate the traffic on that portion of Seven Trails Drive.  Mayor Pogue said the improvements mitigate the queuing, but not the volume.  Mr. Biermann said that the traffic going north on Seven Trails Drive will be minimal.  Mayor Pogue respectfully disagreed.

Mr. Quigley said this plan was developed with the Great Streets Initiative in mind.  Chairman Wind said the Great Streets Initiative does not necessarily intend for the traffic to be routed to side streets.  Mayor Pogue said he finds it insulting that the petitioner states that the roadway improvements (queuing lanes) and east/west roadway are influenced by Great Streets recommendations, when the traffic study shows that these improvements are needed because of the development.  Mr. Biermann said the internal site roadways were asked of the petitioner and put in before the traffic study was received.

Alderman Fleming said that without cooperation from MoDOT, the petitioner has done the most they could to accommodate the increased traffic.  Commissioner Theodore said that traffic flow changes daily. 
 
Chairman Wind asked the petitioner who is to remove the existing retaining wall.  Mr. Quigley said that City Planner Aiken requested that the City be allowed to remove the wall and retain the blocks.  City Planner Aiken said that this was a failure in communication.  The City incurred the cost of the blocks to build the wall at the time of the sidewalk construction.  What he had recommended was that the blocks be salvaged during site demolition and provided to the City.  Mr. Quigley said the petitioner will do this.

Chairman Wind said that while the petitioner did improve the back of the convenience store building and made both the back and the side nicer, it is still the back of a building.  He noted that there is no additional landscaping provided to improve this area.  Mr. Biermann said that the user on Lot B will hide some of the back of the building.  He said that false glass doors can be added to the back to make it look more like the front.  Secretary Karr suggested adding the corporate logo to that side of the building.  Mr. Quigley said the petitioner is at the maximum limit for signage.  Mr. Biermann said that the same decorative elements that are on the front of the building can be added to the back as well.

Chairman Wind said he is concerned about the amount of traffic and questioned the impact of a gas sta-tion at the corner of Manchester Road and Seven Trails Drive.  Mayor Pogue noted that in the past eight years, two gas stations have closed between Hwy 141 and Clarkson Road, both on the north side of Man-chester.  Chairman Wind said the retaining wall and the associated risks still concern him.  He doesn’t know whether this is a good location for this use because of its impacts on the City. 

Commissioner Weaver disagreed, saying that the petitioner has gone to great lengths to make the changes requested by the Planning & Zoning Commission.  He feels that it doesn’t make sense to turn down this petitioner and let the property become vacant and deteriorate.  Commissioners Utt and Theodore agreed.  Commissioner Theodore said that Ballwin needs to attract businesses, and feels that this is a good location for this use.  She doesn’t feel that the traffic will seriously impact the park. 

Secretary Karr said that most of the traffic is really a redirection of vehicles that are already on Ballwin roads.  Mayor Pogue said the traffic study states that over 2,000 additional cars per day will utilize Seven Trails Drive as a result of this development.  Commissioner Weaver said those cars must already be going past the site, but just aren’t turning onto Seven Trails Drive.  Mr. Rensing said that while studies have shown uses such as a gas station and fast food will pull 50-79% of traffic from existing volumes, MoDOT will not allow more than the 50% figure to be used, in order to account for new trips.

Alderman Fleming said that he shares the concerns raised by other Commission members, but the peti-tioner has made an effort to make the site as attractive as possible, and MoDOT is part of the problem with the traffic issues.  He wants a strong recommendation to go to the Board of Aldermen regarding the disposition of the retaining wall and property to the west of Seven Trails Drive.  At the least it should be a lease and maintenance agreement.  Chairman Wind said his opinion has not changed.

Alderman Fleming made a motion to recommend approval of Petition Z 10-06 to the November 1, 2010 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission, provided that all provisions of the petition review report are met, with the Board of Aldermen to determine an appropriate lease and maintenance contract ar-rangement for the retaining wall and property west of Seven Trails Drive.  Commissioner Weaver seconded the motion.  A voice vote was taken with the following result:  Aye – Fleming, Utt, Theodore, Schwent, Weaver, and Karr.  Nay – Pogue and Wind.  Abstain – Wright.  The motion passed 6-2.

Alderman Fleming made a motion to recommend approval of SUB 10-03 to the November 1, 2010 meet-ing of the Planning & Zoning Commission, provided that all provisions of the petition review report are met, with the Board of Aldermen to determine an appropriate lease and maintenance contract arrangement for the retaining wall and property west of Seven Trails Drive.  Commissioner Weaver seconded the mo-tion.  A voice vote was taken with the following result:  Aye – Fleming, Utt, Theodore, Schwent, Weaver, and Karr.  Nay – Pogue and Wind.  Abstain – Wright.  The motion passed 6-2.

Other Business

Secretary Karr commended QuikTrip for its status as a “Safe Place” and asked Commissioner Wright, as an employee of QuikTrip, to explain what that means.  Commissioner Wright said that QT representatives visit schools to let youth know that they can go to QuikTrip and know they will be safe if they are in trouble, and the appropriate authorities will be notified.

Adjournment

A motion was made by Chairman Wind and seconded by Commissioner Weaver to adjourn the meeting.  The motion received unanimous approval, and the meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Michael Wind, Chairman
Planning & Zoning Commission