November 28, 2012 - Residents who live near a proposed 52.2-acre development expressed concern about additional traffic during a public hearing conducted last week by the county Planning Commission.
The development at Gravois and Musick roads, proposed by McBride & Son Homes and J.H. Berra, is for single-family residences. The project would have 124 homes and 2.3 lots per acre, according to John King, of Lathrop & Gage LLP, who represents the developer, McBride Berra LLC.
The cost of homes in the development would range from $275,000 to $600,000.
King presented the developer's request for a zoning change from a Mixed-Use Development District and Flood-Plain Mixed-Use Development District to R-4, 7,500-square-foot Residence District and FPR-4 Flood Plain 7,500-square-foot Residence District for 52.2 acres. The developer also requests a Planned Environment Unit procedure in the R-4, 7,500-square-foot Residence District and FPR-4 Flood Plain 7,500-square-foot Residence District.
The development also provides for a 5-foot common ground strip along the southern boundary, King said.
"That 5-foot strip is to protect anyone who presently has a garden that extends into our site or a play area, and there are several who have gardens and play areas along our southern boundary line," he said.
The development also is expected to be completed in two phases, with the first phase being single-family residential housing. Plans for the second phase have not yet been formulated.
Lauren Max, a subdivision trustee who lives on Hayden Hill, told the commission her main concern is an increase in cut-through traffic in subdivisions along Gravois Road.
Because of previous development proposals, Max said the subdivision was given "No cut-through traffic" signs, but "they're not sufficient."
"Even now we get a lot of cut-through traffic and that will only multiply greatly with this new development," she said. "So I'd like to see some kind of information about what they could do to maybe stagger the entrance, or put some kind of medians there where people could maybe only go right or left and not shoot straight across all our streets."
Resident Dave Heinrich also said the traffic issue needs to be addressed.
"That road cannot handle additional traffic at the present time," he said. "It is loaded to its top right now ... My problem is that road is very dangerous right now, and (with) the addition of all this traffic, something has to be done ..."
Regarding the traffic concerns, King said he and the developers have not "had a meeting with the highway department just yet."
"Today is the first time we have seen the highway comments. I haven't received them yet. McBride just received them today, and Berra just received them today," King said at the Nov. 19 hearing. "So we don't know what the highway department is going to require us and what they're going to want us to do."
However, King also said the highway department has "always been pretty strict" on what it makes developers do "and how they handle it."
Regarding the second phase of the development, Max said she cannot see anyone buying a $300,000 to $600,000 home not knowing what could be constructed there.
"(You) don't want a QT in your backyard. It would be inappropriate there. Everyone in the neighborhood, I'm sure, would be opposed to anything commercial right in that area," she said.
Earl Hemker, of Affton, said his family would be interested in purchasing a home in the development, but he also is concerned about the second phase of the project.
"I'm somewhat concerned about the phase two in the sense that whether these companies continue to develop phase two, or ultimately sell it, is there any restriction that it would become, say, an apartment complex with all the federal regulations that could be imposed upon an apartment complex ...?" Hemker asked.
County Department of Planning Director Glenn Powers said regardless of what would be proposed for the second phase, it would have to come back to the Planning Commission for a public hearing.
Twenty-nine people present voted in favor of the development, while 17 were opposed or with concern.
The Planning Commission took no action on the proposal last week.