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Compromise ahead?

Mike Potter didn’t mince any words when he told a group of Lake Saint Louis residents that a linchpin of their case against a rezoning of 19 acres that would allow 20 new single-family homes near Peruque Creek may be teetering.

The city’s Board of Aldermen had just come out of an executive session, which was called during the middle of their April 6 meeting after reviewing a letter from an attorney for the developer of the homes.

The letter gave “an indication, and our attorney thinks it’s very, very positive that it’s true, that the licensing agreement you that people have at Oak Bluff does not apply to that ground,” said Potter, a Ward 2 alderman and former 12-year mayor.

However, before the board moved to make a decision on the rezoning, he held out an olive branch to the developer and residents. Both sides, he said, should at least meet and see if they could come to a reasonable compromise.

The board was willing to hold off a decision for several meetings if necessary.

I know what’s going to happen, either way we decide we’re all going to be spending money on legal fees,” Potter said.

An agreement between the developer and residents might head that off, he added.

Residents said they were willing to talk but were opposed to high density development on the property and a retention pond. Likewise Mayor Kathy Schweikert and the board agreed to hold the public hearing open, effectively tabling a decision on the rezoning. The board’s next meeting is on April 20.

The residents, along with Jeremy Malensky of Dutchman Homes LLC, who is seeking the rezoning to develop the homes, and Malensky’s attorney, Jeffrey M. Igou, adjourned to a back room at city hall to begin the discussion.

I’ve never seen anything like that,” said City Administrator Paul Markworth.

A decision on the rezoning had been pending since the board’s Jan. 20 meeting when about a dozen residents voiced concerns that new homes would increase the runoff, debris and silt that flows into the community’s more than 600-acre main lake.

Others said they were worried about the impact of development on a largely natural area as well as about potential added traffic to nearby subdivision streets and the site’s proximity to the creek during periods of flooding.

The rezoning application seeks a change from non-urban zoning to single-family residential on 19 acres that would allow the building of 20 homes with a minimum lot size of 15,000 square feet. The property is located at the end of Silver Fern Court in the Villas of Crimson Oaks subdivision. It also is east of Duello Road, west of Hwy. 40-61 and south of Prospect Road, near the Oak Bluff Preserve subdivision.

That proximity to Oak Bluff is an issue, said Dennis Zimmer, an Oak Bluff Preserve resident. He told the board at its Jan. 20 meeting that the tract was part of the original plat for Oak Bluff Preserve subdivision. A licensing agreement, he said, signed 36 years ago set restrictions calling for a 3-acre minimum lot size that still applied to the property.

The board delayed a decision on the rezoning in February and March to look at that question. The letter from Igou states that his client’s property is “not, in fact, encumbered by the licensing agreement, and thus is not subject to the restrictions set forth therein, nor in the restrictive covenants.”

The property wasn’t part of any platted lot in Oak Bluff Preserve, and may have specifically been left out and it isn’t subject to the licensing agreement or restrictive covenants, the letter adds.

But before they met with the developer, some residents remained skeptical.

Zimmer told aldermen that residents had abided by the licensing agreement and restrictions in developing their homes. He said he couldn’t understand why no consideration was given the agreement. “Do you actually fear them (the developer) over your constituents,” Zimmer said.

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