A spokesperson for a group of St. Peters residents has asked that the city reconsider its decision to approve site plans that could allow for new stores including a “neighborhood” supermarket allied with Walmart.
But St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano said there was little the city could do to stop development on the two sites. Site plans were approved by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission at its Feb. 4 meeting.
“If we would have denied this zoning for this industry, we would have definitely been taken to court and lost,” Pagano said.
He made the comments at the city’s Board of Aldermen meeting on March 26 responding to comments by city resident Nick Trupiano.
Trupiano, who said he was representing 10 residents of Crescent Hills and 12 people from Spencer Creek subdivisions, said residents feared that Lane4 Property Group of Kansas City, the applicant, may develop the sites as Walmart neighborhood markets.
One site, involving the old Spencer Creek Shopping Center, is at Jungermann and Sutter Mill roads; the other, to be known as McKelvey Marketplace, is at Mid-Rivers Mall Drive and St. Peters-Howell Road.
“How could the board be proud of this vote?” Trupiano asked. “The residents have been left in the dark.”
Trupiano said the board hasn’t been told what the grocery store planned for the sites would be. That raises questions about the amount of traffic the stores may generate and the effect of the development on jobs in other more established St. Peters businesses.
But Pagano said later that the sites were already zoned commercial and the city was limited in its ability to stop developments that have those zonings. He said who would operate the stores still hadn’t been disclosed to him.
St. Peters officials last week said they still don’t know who the tenants may be. Julie Powers, the city’s director of planning, community and economic development, said on April 2 that city officials had not been told what the developments will be.
Powers said engineering plans for the sites still must be submitted, which may provide more information; however, the process could take several months.
Meanwhile, Elise Fiorello, marketing and communications manager for Lane4 Property Group, said there is nothing to announce at this time. Walmart Corp. did not respond to repeated attempts to contact them.
Residents also had raised questions about the development at the planning and zoning meeting on Feb. 4. Commission Chairman Keith McNames said one of the proposed sites called for about 42,000 square feet compared to the 200,000-square-foot size of an existing Walmart store in St. Peters.
Aldermen Robert Thomas (Ward 1) questioned whether new grocery stores would cost jobs, because of the expanding population of the area. Alderman Terri Violet (Ward 3) said she had received calls from subdivision residents who welcomed the stores because of the convenience.
Likewise, Thomas questioned whether the opposition to stores was simply because they were allied with Walmart. In that regard he advised: “If you don’t like the business, don’t go to it.”