August 28, 2013 - The Green Park Board of Aldermen is scheduled to vote next month on a proposed subdivision off Kohrs Lane.
Dozens of residents attended a public hearing last week at City Hall on the Arbors at Clydesdale Park, a subdivision with 41 attached homes proposed by developer J.H. Berra at 10995 Kohrs Lane.
Ward 2 Alderman Tim Thuston, who owns the property, recused himself from the public hearing.
During the hearing, which lasted more than an hour, seven residents voiced their opposition to the proposed Arbors at Clydesdale Park. Among the residents opposed were former Mayor Tony Konopka and former Alderman Trudy Hoey.
Resident Fred Hoehn, who led the effort to incorporate the city of Green Park, spoke in favor of the proposed development, as did Thuston's mother, Ann, and two sisters, one of whom came from Iowa for the public hearing.
In response to concerns raised by aldermen and the city's Planning and Zoning Commission, Berra Vice President Al Hicks presented revised plans for the subdivision. The original plan called for 44 attached homes, but the revised plan eliminates three units, he said.
McBride & Son Homes will build the houses, which will range in price from $175,000 to $205,000, Hicks said.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-4 and 6-3 to recommend denial of the subdivision at its July 2 meeting, which also was attended by dozens of residents.
In his presentation, Hicks outlined Berra's revised plan for the proposed subdivision, noting an easement for Ameren Missouri transmission lines bisects the tract, which also has two creeks.
"... Under the RS-1 (zoning), the tract is 5.91 acres. It has an allowable yield of 51 units and our proposal this evening is for 41 units," he said. "We're going to request a Planned Residential District, PRD, as an overlay in the RS-1 District ..."
The revised plan also moves the subdivision entrance, Hicks said.
"That moves the entrance approximately 400 (feet) from Green Park Road, and the thought there from the Planning and Zoning (Commission) was that it might help to induce traffic to utilize Green Park versus Patsy (Drive), when we had the entrance further up, closer to Patsy Ö"
The entrance that was at Patsy now is a stub street, and meets the approval of the Mehlville Fire Protection District, Hicks said.
Berra's original proposal that called for 44 units included three near the intersection of Kohrs Lane and Patsy Drive.
Aldermen had voiced concern about those residents backing out on Kohrs Lane from their driveways. As a result, the three units were eliminated, Hicks said.
In response to stormwater concerns, he noted that under Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District regulations, all water runoff must be captured and treated before it leaves the site.
"... We will install the swale and/or a berm with the grading of the site in order to intercept the surface drainage from leaving the site ...," Hicks said.
After reviewing the city's comprehensive plan, "we feel that the Planned Residential District is appropriate for this site," he said, noting the plan states that "Planned Residential Districts should be utilized for tracts that qualify as land with limiting conditions."
But Hoey, who served as the first president of the Board of Aldermen after the city's incorporation, disagreed the proposed subdivision conforms with the comprehensive plan. She noted residents have various concerns regarding the proposed development, including water runoff, traffic and cut-through problems, but her focus was on the city's comprehensive plan.
Quoting the plan, Hoey said, "The RS-1 District is intended to provide for the development, protection and conservation of areas of predominately single-family detached residences on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet."
She said if the Thuston property "is allowed to intrude in our RS-1 area, we are going backwards. We want to eventually change the condo area to single family if the opportunity should arise. We in no way envisioned going backwards and allowing RS-1 areas be changed to (allow) multi-family attached units that are essentially condominiums ..."
Hoey later said, "I'm sure that a subdivision of single-family detached homes built on Alderman Thuston's family's property would be welcomed. That's what it's zoned for ... This is exactly the reason we incorporated, to protect the integrity of our residential core ..."
Hoehn urged the Board of Aldermen to approve the Arbors at Clydesdale Park subdivision.
"... My name's Fred Hoehn. I'm the one that incorporated the city," he said. "There's not one person in this room that served on the committee to incorporate the city of Green Park. I'm here for one reason. You can continue to pull the shades down or you can start to show some vision.
"You should approve this because we need more population in the city ... You can hear all you want to about stormwater, residential integrity, too much traffic, but since the city came into existence, what has it accomplished? It has accomplished some things. It's got the money to replace every street in the city. You've got free trash (pickup). You could have a lot more, but you've got to use vision and you've got to do one other thing, and this will help you do it.
"And I'm not a proponent for these guys at all. I could care less about them," Hoehn said, motioning toward the developer's representatives. "The fact is you'll get more flexibility if you get your population to 3,000 and you convert your city from a fourth-class city to a third-class city, which gives you much more flexibility. And, by the way, makes it much better for all of you ..."
One of Tim Thuston's sisters, Jacquie Brewer of Des Moines, Iowa, also urged aldermen to approve the subdivision, noting, "... I am emotionally attached to the house and property, as are all of my family, but the reality is it is time to sell the property ...
"It appears from the newspapers that opposition to this sale is based on emotion and not fact. Change seems to be the reason for resistance. We all have that human quality," Brewer added. "Now comes the time for you, the (Board of Aldermen), to make a decision on the property and its relation to Green Park. Its location as a transition piece between light industry and single-family homes, its ability to increase the property values of the land and surrounding area — these are the reasons on which you should base your decision. I ask you, (the Board of Aldermen) to approve the sale of this property, based on the facts presented and not on the emotions of the opposition ..."
The Board of Aldermen is scheduled to vote on the proposed subdivision when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at City Hall, 11100 Mueller Road.