Campisi refers rezoning request for condominium complex to PIC
August 10, 2005 - Greater Missouri Builders' rezoning request to construct a condominium complex at the former St. John Elementary School campus will face scrutiny by the County Council's Public Improvements Committee.
The county Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the rezoning request, which was introduced at the Aug. 2 County Council meeting.
County Council Chairman John Campisi asked that the request be filed and referred to the Public Improvements Committee, which will sponsor a public hearing and make a recommendation to the council regarding the rezoning request.
"The reason why I sent it there (to the PIC) is so that everyone would have a chance to look at the changes that were made to the development," Campisi told the Call. "I don't think everyone gets to know that information ... So this is the perfect opportunity for residents to see the changes that were made with the Planning Commission."
Since the company first announced its plans to build a condominium complex near the intersection of Lemay Ferry Road and Will Avenue, residents who live off Will Avenue or whose streets feed onto Will Avenue have raised concerns about the complex. They say the complex does not belong in the single-family home area and that the increased traffic will create a safety hazard on Will Avenue.
During the Aug. 2 County Council meeting, three residents voiced their concerns about the condominium proposal. Three other residents who did not speak submitted cards at the end of the meeting protesting the proposal.
Barbara Koscis, who lives on Dillon Road, which feeds onto Will Avenue, said the increased traffic will make a bad situation even worse.
"There are times when we can't get out of our road because of backup from just the high school letting out or in the morning," Koscis told the County Council.
Sue Millinger, who lives on Will Avenue next to the proposed site, said the four-story buildings planned for the site do not belong in an area of single-family homes. She noted that the proposed site is not level.
One part of the site adjacent to Lemay Ferry Road is much lower than the part that is closer to the single-family homes.
A three-story building and two four-story buildings are proposed on the lower level and four four-story buildings are proposed for the upper level.
"I would like consideration of the lower building to be put on the upper lot so that it won't be quite so intrusive, in fact, I would like you all to consider only two-story dwellings or single-family dwel-lings," Millinger said. "As you know, we're not very happy about this type of construction, because these buildings will be so tall in a single-family area."
Greater Missouri Builders requested a zoning change from the R-4 7,500-Square-Foot Residence District to the R-7 1,750-Square-Foot Residence District.
The Planning Commission last month approved a revised plan by Greater Mis-souri Builders that would include six buildings with a total of 104 condominium units and 208 parking spaces.
Millinger also pointed out to the County Council that the approved plan includes a discrepancy. The proposal states the complex will include five four-story-buildings with 16 condos and one three-story-building with 32 condos. If those units were added, the total is 112, not the 104 units listed as the total on the proposal.
Ron Nelson of Greater Missouri Builders told the Call that the three-story building will have 24, not 32 units.
The Planning Commission already had voted to hold on the company's proposal twice, asking Greater Missouri Builders to decrease the number of condos and to in-crease parking. The company originally had proposed a complex with 128 two-bed, two-bath, 1,150-square-foot condos and 192 parking spaces.
"Whatever the decisions the County Council makes, we will just have to evaluate and see if we can make it work or not ... I would hope the County Council would approve it as it was approved by the Plan-ning Commission," Nelson said.
Nearby residents in the area say the complex will increase traffic and accidents on the already-busy Will Avenue and the Lemay Ferry Road intersection. The complex would not have direct access to Lemay Ferry Road, so condo residents will first have to turn onto Will Avenue.
The proposal includes a requirement that Will Avenue be widened to include a left turn lane so that residents of the complex may turn left into the complex.
Millinger said the left-turn lane may help traffic turning left into the complex, but cars turning left onto Will Avenue toward Lemay Ferry Road will have a difficult time turning onto Will Avenue.
"When people who are down the lane that are exiting onto Will, they will be trying to cross that left-turn lane immediately trying to get onto Will, and I would like that clarified how that might be handled," Millinger told councilmen.
Greater Midwest Builders contracted to buy the 5.85-acre property from the Mehl-ville School District for $1.1 million, but the sale is contingent on several factors, including the zoning change that would allow the company to build multifamily condos.
The Mehlville School District originally had planned to build the new early childhood center, now called the John Cary Early Childhood Center, at the St. John's campus site, but instead the center is being built on the Beasley Elementary School campus.
The location was changed after administrators cited budgetary, site-development, access, safety and aesthetic concerns about the St. John's site. The early childhood center is the final new building that will be constructed under the Proposition P districtwide building improvement program.
Voters in November 2000 approved Proposition P, a nearly $68.4 million bond issue funded by a 49-cent tax-rate in-crease. However, the Board of Education voted in November to approve a revised Proposition P budget of $88,927,440.