Planning and Zoning Meeting Agendas and Minutes

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Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

Meeting Agenda

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Meeting Minutes

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
MINUTES OF THE PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING
CITY OF BALLWIN – 300 PARK DRIVE
May 2, 2011


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:

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


Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Secretary Karr and seconded by Commissioner Weaver to approve the minutes of the April 4, 2011 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as submitted.  The motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members present. 


Z 11-01 Zoning Change (Add Manchester Road Revitalization Overlay Zoning)
 ELCO Cadillac, 15110 Manchester Rd, Ballwin MO  63011
 Petitioner:  Mr. Paul Roeder, ELCO Chevrolet/Cadillac, 15110 Manchester Rd, Ballwin MO 63011

Mr. Rich Obertino of TRi Architects addressed the Commission on behalf of the petitioner.  He presented an overview of the proposed development of a Cadillac dealership and related rezoning proposal.  The existing curb cuts will remain in place, and no new curb cuts are proposed.  MoDOT is in agreement with this.  MSD will not require site detention, but the petitioner will have to provide water quality features. 

Mr. Obertino said the parking lot is currently used for inventory vehicles.  With the proposed building, inventory storage will be reduced substantially.  There will be 45 designated customer parking spaces as close to the building as possible.  Chairman Wind asked if these designated spaces will be used mostly for the service department.  Mr. Obertino said they will be used for service as well as new car sales customers.

Mr. Obertino explained that connections will be provided to the existing sidewalks along Manchester Road, giving two points of access to the site and the building.  The main entrance will face Manchester Rd, and a secondary entrance will be located on the east side of the building.  Site signage will direct cus-tomers to the Cadillac service area.  Full landscaping will be provided around the perimeter of the building and in the parking lot islands, as well as enhancing the corner of the site.  All landscaping will be fully irrigated.

Mr. Obertino said that the petitioner will utilize existing site lighting with modification to three poles.  Two poles will be moved to accommodate traffic flow, and one will be removed. 

Mr. Obertino said that existing stormwater detention will be used.  The petitioner will work with MSD on providing water quality for runoff.  Mr. Obertino said MSD will not require full detention basins for the site because it is nonconforming under its regulations.

Mr. Obertino described the existing buildings on the site and the proposed Cadillac building.  He said the building will be a combination of split-face and smooth-face block and stone panels.  Parapet height will be sufficient to cover the rooftop units.  The doorway into the building will be covered.

Mr. Obertino said the corner element will be a place to showcase new cars as well as a seating area for pedestrians. 

Secretary Karr asked how many new employees this development would bring to the facility.  Mr. Ober-tino said that the dealership already has the Cadillac brand.  Many employees will move to the new build-ing.  Chairman Wind asked how many service bays will be in the new building.  Mr. Obertino said there are eight.

Chairman Wind said that the southern part of the building is a big blank wall that is visible from Old Ballwin Road.  Can the petitioner do something to make it more aesthetically pleasing?  A lot of traffic goes up and down Old Ballwin Road, to and from The Pointe.  Mr. Obertino said the petitioner has en-hanced the colors and the materials to break up the wall.  Chairman Wind said even with those changes, the wall looks pretty dull.  Mayor Pogue asked if the petitioner would consider adding window elements to the wall.  Mr. Obertino said that is a possibility. 

Chairman Wind said there are several items in the petition review report that he feels warrant discussion.  Site illumination and stormwater quality were two that Mr. Obertino has already addressed.   Chairman Wind would like clarification regarding the partial redevelopment of the site and requirements thereof.  Mr. Obertino said that a lot of inventory parking will be lost due to the new development, the petitioner is concerned that planting trees and shrubs will obscure the inventory from the public view.  The concern with planting street trees is that they will grow up into the electrical wires above, as well as the issues with bird droppings and sap falling onto the new vehicles below.  The petitioner would prefer shrubs and annual plantings to enhance the site.  Mayor Pogue suggested replacing the ash trees on the site along Old Ballwin Road with a different species. 

Chairman Wind said that he walked the back part of the lot along the creek, and it is in bad condition.  Mr. Obertino said that some of the nursery across the creek behind the site is actually on ELCO property.  In order to plant landscape screening between the two properties, their presence would have to be re-moved.  The petitioner is not proposing to do this, but is proposing to erect a chain link fence to prevent trash and debris from blowing into the creek.  This area will also be monitored on a regular basis.  Chair-man Wind said there is creek bank erosion which the petitioner should be concerned about.  There is also a lot of dead vegetation.  Mr. Obertino said the petitioner will be doing something to stabilize the creek bank. 

City Planner Aiken noted there are other issues in that the creek falls under the purview of the Corps of Engineers, which limits what one can do in terms of creek bank stabilization and cleaning/removing vege-tation.  Anything the petitioner wants to do will need to go through the local Corps of Engineers office for approval.  City Planner Aiken said there are techniques utilized in such situations to restore creek banks that mimic natural vegetation, including planting native vegetation.  City Engineer Kramer said biostabilization with native plants is the current method of choice, but the slope must be made less vertical.  Anything done would have to have the Corps of Engineers’ permission. City Engineer Kramer said that even clearing the area of dead vegetation can do more harm than good, because the root structure is helping hold the bank in place. 

Chairman Wind said the petition review report noted several issues that would require a variance from the Board of Adjustment.  City Planner Aiken said that the MRD allows a waiver of the underlying C-1 zon-ing district requirements; however, in order to waive MRD requirements – for example, screening re-quirements – the petitioner will have to go to the Board of Adjustment.  Mr. Aiken said he doesn’t believe that the Planning & Zoning Commission has the authority to grant a waiver, but can recommend approval subject to the petitioner obtaining a variance from the Board of Adjustment.  He said he feels the petition-er has done a good job to meet the requirements of the ordinance.

Chairman Wind said that with multiple items that will require a decision from the Board of Adjustment, he is not sure how to approach phrasing a recommendation.  City Attorney Jones said that the recommen-dation for approval can be made subject to the Board of Adjustment granting the variances.  Chairman Wind asked if the recommendation should itemize each issue that has to go before the Board of Adjust-ment.  City Attorney Jones said if they can be identified individually, they should be.  He said the Board of Adjustment cannot issue a blanket variance saying the petitioner doesn’t have to meet the requirements of the MRD overlay.  There can be one petition, one fee, and one public hearing, but the particular vari-ances must be itemized.

Chairman Wind said that he likes the landscaping proposed by the petitioner; however, he would like to see more landscaping added to the Old Ballwin Road side of the site to improve the aesthetics to motorists on Old Ballwin Road.

 Mayor Pogue said the petition review report states that subsection 5.9 of the ordinance requires a concrete curb, but the petitioner proposes an asphalt curb.  Is the Planning & Zoning Commission in a position to allow an asphalt curb?  City Planner Aiken said the asphalt curb is on the existing (eastern) side of the site, along Manchester Road and Ramsey Lane.  City Attorney Jones said that if those areas are not being disturbed, he is comfortable saying that the asphalt curbs can remain there.  Mayor Pogue asked if the new curbs will be concrete.  Mr. Obertino said yes. 

Secretary Karr asked about the petitioner suggesting placing chain link fencing along the back of the property, rather than sight-proof fencing.  City Planner Aiken said it was his understanding that the peti-tioner is requesting a waiver, under the provisions of the MRD, of the requirement for sight-proof fencing.  He said this did not seem to be an unreasonable request in light of the fact that these same uses have coex-isted for 20 years without it.  The only negative ramification to not having a fence is debris blowing into the creek, but the petitioner has said they will keep on top of that situation.  Installing a black chain link fence would not be a negative thing.  Chairman Wind said planting evergreens would help with screening as well as creek bank stabilization.

Mr. Obertino said that to meet the MRD in regards to landscaping the parking lot, 30% of ELCO’s inven-tory would have to be eliminated.  This would be a deal killer for the petitioner.  Mayor Pogue suggested the petitioner consider adding some lower growing landscaping to add to the screening provided by the row of trees that is proposed on the southeast corner of the lot by the detention area. 

Mayor Pogue asked if any consideration had been given to a different type of lighting grid for the site to reduce some of the illumination late at night.  Mr. Obertino said the petitioner needs the lighting for secu-rity reasons. Mayor Pogue asked if the petitioner is in agreement with petition review report recommenda-tion to place shields on the existing lighting throughout the site.  Mr. Obertino said that recommendation applied to new lighting.  He was not sure of the ability to retrofit the existing fixtures.  He said the peti-tioner is not aware of any issues with the current lighting.  City Planner Aiken said that he is not aware of any complaints about the existing site lighting. 

Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if there were any opponents who wished to speak in opposition to Petition Z 11-01.  There were none.  Chairman Wind asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of the petition.  There were none, and Chairman Wind declared the public hear-ing closed.

Mayor Pogue made a motion to recommend approval of petition Z 11-01 to the Board of Aldermen, sub-ject to the petitioner obtaining Board of Adjustment variances for subsections 5(3), 5(5), 5(6), 5(7), 5(11) and 5(12); and subject to the petitioner providing the following: improvements to the south wall to include windows to eliminate the blank wall effect, clean up and creek bank stabilization of Fishpot Creek per Corps of Engineers approval, improvement to landscaping along Old Ballwin Road (southwest corner), additional landscaping at the four entrances and at the detention area.  Secretary Karr asked about the proposed fencing.   Mr. Obertino said the petitioner would like to leave the option open regarding fencing, depending on what comes out of the Board of Adjustment meeting.   Chairman Wind seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.


Great Streets Master Plan

City Planner Aiken said the proposal is for the Great Streets Plan to be made part of Ballwin’s 2007 Comprehensive Community Plan as an addendum either in its entirety or as amended by the Planning & Zoning Commission.  Mr. Aiken said the form and many of the recommendations of Ballwin’s 2007 comprehensive plan are echoed in the Great Streets Plan.

By state law, a comprehensive community plan is a document adopted by the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission after a public hearing.  Therefore, any amendment to the Plan must be adopted through the same process. 

City Planner Aiken gave a brief history of the Great Streets Initiative.  The overall goal of the project is to create a more visually appealing and economically vibrant commercial corridor throughout the five cities on Manchester Road between Highway 141 and Highway 109.  The study looked at ways to reinvigorate the economic nature of this corridor, or if that is not possible, to study what kind of alternate land uses might be possible.  The nature of the corridor is primarily transportation, but most important to the five cities involved is that this be a land use plan with a transportation element rather than a transportation plan with a land use element.  The Great Streets Plan is a long-range plan with a 30-year time frame.   

The economic analysis showed that the retail market in the St. Louis area, and the Manchester Road cor-ridor in particular is overbuilt.  There is up to 40% more retail space in the corridor than is needed to serve the corresponding population.  When the study was done, 20% of the retail spaces were vacant, and 20% were occupied by non-sales tax generating businesses.  Much of the retail space is old and does not meet current standards.  The study anticipates growth in office space uses.

The fundamental character of Manchester Road will not change.  It will still be a four-lane road.  The way properties are accessed from Manchester Road can be helped dramatically with alternate access, either as simple as interconnecting parking lots or as sophisticated as building entire secondary roadway systems.  Buildings will be taller and set closer to the road.  This is reflective of the “town center” approach, where-in future development is concentrated in nodes.

Wayfinding and signage will be upgraded to solar-powered internally illuminated signage at major signal-ized intersections.  The city plans to apply for a grant in late summer to offset the costs of these signs.  Having adopted the Great Streets Plan will help the city’s chances of receiving a grant. Approval from MoDOT will be required as part of the application for the grant.

The recommendations for stormwater control do not deviate dramatically from what Ballwin is already doing.  Bioswales, rain gardens, and pervious pavement are all considered acceptable under MSD stand-ards. 

Implementation is probably the most important element of this plan.  The recommendation is that each of the five cities adopt the plan.  City Planner Aiken said that Ellisville has adopted it and distributed a list of verbiage changes that they made to the implementation chapter.  City Planner Aiken said he didn’t feel these changes were necessary nor does he believe that they change the fundamental character of the plan.

Another recommendation of the plan is the use of form-based code.  City Planner Aiken said he has not shared it with the Planning & Zoning Commission as yet because it is not part of the plan.  He briefly described the difference between form-based code and Euclidian zoning, which is what the City currently uses.
The corridor redevelopment district is a concept that is being discussed by the involved city managers, city planners, and elected officials.  How could an overarching district be structured?  What should it do and not do?  The thought is that it would provide some connected thought in the development of this district.  The five cities would work together on uniformity of approach to development that would transcend changes in the political and economic environment.

Chairman Wind opened the public hearing and asked if there were any proponents wishing to speak in favor of the Great Streets Initiative Plan.  There were none.  Chairman Wind asked if there were any op-ponents who wished to speak in opposition to the petition.  There were none, and Chairman Wind de-clared the public hearing closed.

Secretary Karr noted that in working with cities, he has found there is a domino effect.  Ellisville has tak-en the initiative to adopt the Great Streets Plan.  City Planner Aiken said East-West Gateway really wants this plan to be successful.  They have invested a lot of funds in creating it, and they are finding grant funding to entice cities to move forward.

Chairman Wind asked if the Commission would have the option of making amendments in the future.  City Planner Aiken said yes.  A public hearing would have to be held.

Chairman Wind made a motion to approve the resolution of the Planning & Zoning Commission to amend Comprehensive Community Plan to include the Manchester Road Great Streets Master Plan.   Commissioner Schwent seconded the motion, which received unanimous approval from the Commission members present.

Other Business

Chairman Wind asked about the new Schnucks development.  City Planner Aiken said they requested a zoning letter, which he provided.  He received a copy of the street improvements submitted to MoDOT.

Chairman Wind asked about the Board of Adjustment determination for 5th/3rd Bank. City Planner Aiken said it was approved and will be on the Board of Aldermen agenda.  Chairman Wind asked about CAP Carpet. City Planner Aiken said it was approved.  Chairman Wind asked about any developments with the U-Gas location. City Planner Aiken said it is his understanding Mr. Biermann has a signed lease with Wendy’s, so he is expecting them to submit a petition to amend the MRD to accommodate Wendy’s on that development.  As yet, he has not received any submittals.

Mayor Pogue said that a public hearing on the Kehrs Mill Road project will be held at the Golf Course Clubhouse on May 24.  City Engineer Kramer clarified that it will be an open house type meeting.

Adjournment

A motion was made by Chairman Wind and seconded by Mayor Pogue to adjourn the meeting.  The mo-tion received unanimous approval, and the meeting was adjourned at 9:16 p.m.

Michael Wind, Chairman
Planning & Zoning Commission