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Portion of Devon Drive to close in anticipation of Bopp development

The Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen has agreed to permanently close part of Devon Drive to help prevent encroachment from an 87-acre tract at Bryan and Feise roads into the nearby Villages of Bainbridge subdivision.

The board approved a bill at their March 18 meeting to vacate an unimproved section of of Devon Drive’s right-of- way, which is not being used in the subdivision. The subdivision submitted a request to vacate the right-of-way in February.

Residents are concerned that providing access at Devon Drive might encourage unwanted development and pose safety issues. The nearby tract is being developed largely as commercial property.

Before a large number of residents who packed its chambers, the board also approved the first phase of a planned unit development (PUD) on 10.8 acres of the tract known as Cora Maries Marketplace.

Gary Feder, an attorney presenting the Cora Bopp Limited Partnership, the owners of the tract, said an overall plan for the development has been largely approved; however, developers are still required to submit more detailed plans for phasing in the development.

The PUD for the 10.6 acres largely deals with infrastructure improvements and utilities for the site, both Feder and city officials said.

At the same meeting, the board tabled a decision on the final plan for a conditional use permit request on 15.4 acres of the tract. That permit would allow a variety of commercial uses ranging from retail stores and restaurants to service stations. In giving a reason for tabling the request, the city’s aldermen said they wanted to be sure about what they were approving.

Since 2013, subdivision residents have been opposed to development proposals for the 175-acre tract sought by the Cora Bopp Limited Partnership. However, Mayor Pam Fogarty has said the property will generate needed tax revenue to pay for city services.

To appease residents, the partnership previously removed plans for 288 apartments, a plan to extend Devon Drive, and a single family homes proposal, lowering the size of the tract down to 86.5 acres.

Now, Feder said the partnership is developing plans to market the remaining property. No tenant has yet signed a plan of intent to develop a business on the site, Feder said, but he noted, “we may be close.”

The developer hopes to have stores and businesses beginning contruction on the site this year, Feder said, adding that the developer already has made concessions.

“Our focus is not on the residents of the subdivision. Our focus is on the commercial development on the site,” he said.

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