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City, county meet to discuss Premier 370 use

St. Peters officials were told that the County Council needs more information before it can allow residential development in the Premier 370 Business Park where a ban has been in effect since 2007.

“If you could give us something more specific,” said Council Chairman Joe Brazil (District 1) when the council and city officials met at an April 27 council work session.

The council had agreed to meet with the St. Peters officials to discuss allowing a mix of retail and residential development to go along with commercial development on the more than 700-acre site on the Mississippi River flood plain. The business park is along Interstate 370 and near Interstate 70.

St. Peters officials said the levee district and other owners were approached by five potential developers in the last 10 to 12 months who asked about residential development on the site. Assistant City Administrator Tim Wilkinson told the council that developers needed to know if they could develop residential housing before spending $30,000 to $50,000 in site and engineering plans.

As part of an agreement with the county, related to flood protection issues and the building of a levy, St. Peters had earlier agreed to a ban on residential development in the area of the business park.

Addressing a concern over loss of tax revenue, Wilkinson said the city is proposing setting an overall cap of 100 acres of residential development in the Premier 370 development area with not more than 87 acres in the Fort Zumwalt School District. County officials have said that they want to protect the school district from getting little tax if the city diverted new taxes to fund project development as part of a tax-increment financing authority or TIF on the site.

But Wilkinson said allowing residential development would remove a road block to development, reduce the need for more TIFs, grow the tax base and add jobs.

The council was hesitant, particularly after hearing from Don Musick, the past president of the Gateway Rivers Habitat Alliance, which sued unsuccessfully to stop the 370 Premier Business Park development. Musick said the council needed to ask more questions about the mix of development being considered and about financing, perhaps hiring a consultant.

Councilmembers Terry Hollander (District 5) and Joe Cronin (District 2) also suggested that a potential developer should be willing to spend some money to develop a proposal.

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