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Lake Saint Louis, McBride work on voluntary annexation of 102-acre tract

Lake Saint Louis city officials are trying to place the last touches on a pre-annexation agreement with a developer who wants to build as many as 282 new homes.

But smoothing out the final details is taking place under the watchful eye of nearby subdivision residents worried about the development’s impact.

City officials ardently have pursued the agreement because the development would not only provide an increase in tax revenue but also would allow the city access about 40 acres of park land that is now surrounded by private property.

The city’s Board of Aldermen discussed some details of the potential agreement with McBride & Son Homes, Inc., at its Nov. 16 work session. McBride & Son has made an offer to 2 Rivers Church to buy 102 acres near Hwy. N, east of Duello Road, which is adjacent to the Heritage of Hawk Ridge subdivision.

City voters approved an involuntary annexation of the tract in the April 7 city election. An involuntary annexation requires the city to seek a declaratory judgment from a judge as to the city’s ability to provide services to the property.

The city has not proceeded with seeking a declaratory judgment because it has been working with McBride & Son on a pre-annexation agreement to bring the property into the city as a voluntary annexation. A pre-annexation agreement would establish how the property could be developed.

“It could offer them [McBride & Son] some advantages,” City Administrator Paul Markworth said.

Markworth discussed the negotiations with the board under the watchful eye of about 20 or more Heritage at Hawk Ridge residents, some of whom have homes that abut the property. Residents are worried about the loss of trees if the property were developed and other aspects of the development.

Markworth said one of McBride & Son’s concerns is being able to develop a minimum of 282 lots to make the development economically feasible because the site is difficult and expensive to build on. Cutting back on some trees near the existing Heritage of Hawk Ridge subdivision may be necessary to assure that number of lots, he said.

Markworth outlined concessions that the city is discussing with McBride involving trees, road grades, architectural design and allowing individual fencing in yards. He said he was hoping that both sides could come to a final agreement soon and he could bring the agreement to the board for a decision at a December board meeting.

Alderman Gary Turner (Ward 1) said he hopes the city can work with McBride to save some of the trees along the property edge, noting that “there are some big trees that are worth saving.”

Subdivision residents, however, told aldermen they were worried not only because of a loss of trees, but also about issues involving stormwater, sanitary sewers and allowing individual fences for homes, which the current city code discourages.

Alderman John Pellerito (Ward 3) said individual aldermen are not happy about some of the concessions that are being discussed but there is give-and-take during negotiations. Some of the questions being posed by residents cannot be answered yet, he said.

If the sale goes through, McBride & Son would provide a parking lot and restroom facility where their property borders the city’s now isolated park property. Pellerito said access to that park property is a major reason the city is keen on working out a pre-annexation agreement.

Markworth said the city wants to develop park property as a “passive park” that features walking trails.  The city’s park property also abuts other park land and property along where Peruque Creek flows into the main community lake owned by the Lake Saint Louis Community Association.

Conceivably a trail network could follow largely wooded, undeveloped land along the creek to St. Charles County’s Quail Ridge Park west of the city.

Resident Sherry Doney said residents are worried because property owners weren’t told what was going on.

“They [McBride] like to cram a whole lot of houses in a small area,” Doney said after the meeting.

She said she favored the city coming to a good pre-annexation agreement because of fears about the property not being annexed by the city and being developed under less stringent St. Charles County standards. Markworth said the city probably could obtain a declaratory judgement annexing the property before the property was developed.

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