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242-home subdivision considered

A rezoning request to construct a 242-home subdivision on nearly 95 acres at Becker and Fine roads, 100 feet away from the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District's Lower Meramec Lagoon service area — is being considered by the county Planning Commission.

McBride and Son Homes expects the cost of the single-family residences in the subdivision to range from $180,000 to $400,000. The homes will average 2,400 square feet in size and be constructed on roughly 8,000-square-foot lots.

Jim Piper, vice president for McBride, said the company has submitted the rezoning request because the subdivision would tap into a housing market that is not being well served in that part of south county.

"We're not directing the subdivision to that area (near the MSD site)," Piper told the Call. "The plant just happens to be there. We will leave as many trees there as possible to help block the area, but there is such a large demand for anything within Becker, Telegraph or Telegraph and Fine and little is available."

Community members who already reside near the MSD lagoon service area have complained of sewer odors, but officials expect the construction of the Lower Meramec Wastewater Treatment Plant to eliminate many of the odors.

John King of Blumenfeld, Kaplan and Sandweiss, an attorney who is representing McBride, said negotiations between area residents and McBride will occur before the $50 million subdivision is constructed. McBride representatives have been meeting with subdivision trustees and have been trying to iron out those different sewer problems, he said.

Piper told Planning Commission members at a recent public hearing that a previous builder had installed a sewer system without sewer traps, which may have caused some of the current odor problems.

Still, King said if the proposal is approved, the homes will sell quickly.

"South county is just such a great area to build," he said. "It always has had a strong market, but the market is especially strong now. This is a nice, well-planned subdivision that will do well.

"But we have to figure out where we want to go with the sewers," he said. "We can't build the homes until sewers are available to them. We have to wait on MSD to build a new plant, which appears to be some distance away. McBride may have to do some blasting, but we can't tell at this point."

The developer is seeking a change in zoning to the R-2 15,000-square-foot Res-idence District and the FPR-2 Flood-Plain 15,000-square-foot Residence District with a Planned Environment Unit from the NU Non-Urban District and the FPNU Flood-Plain Non-Urban District.

If the Planning Commission recommends approval of the request to the County Coun-cil, and councilmen approve the proposal, Piper said initial construction could begin next summer. Houses would not be available until that winter or spring 2005, depending on the progress of the new treatment plant.

He said he does not anticipate potential buyers having problems with the nearby sewage facility.

"We will notify potential buyers it's there and make them aware of it," he said. "But no. It won't be a problem. If I thought it would be a problem, I never would have proceeded with the petition."

Piper said he expects Planning Commission members to reach a decision by the middle of this month.

County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, told the Call that he will wait until the Planning Commission issues a report and he hears more feedback from south county residents before he decides to introduce legislation regarding the proposal.

"There's a lot to consider," Campisi said. "I'm going to let it take its course. I'm still on the fence. I need to see how it would affect the area."

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