By Brian Flinchpaugh
The Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen has again continued a public hearing for a development plan for 15.79 acres of a tract known as the Bopp Property, located north of Feise Road near Bryan Road, to allow the owners of the tract to submit a new traffic study.
The board voted April 6 to continue the public hearing on a planned unit development [PUD] request submitted in February by the tract’s owners, the Cora Bopp Limited Partnership. The public hearing also had been continued from the board’s March 16 meeting.
City officials are also not expected to make a decision on a site plan for the first specific tenant discussed for the tract, a Walmart Neighborhood Market, until at least May.
The partnership owns 86.5 acres in the area, with the 15.79-acre area slated as the first portion to be developed.
The PUD request covers five parcels on the 15.79 acres – a 50,000 square-foot grocery store, 24,000 square feet of retail space, 26,000 square feet for a bank or retail space, 3,000 square feet for a fast food restaurant and a 740-square-foot gas station. Two of the five parcels would be purchased by Walmart for the Neighborhood Market store and gas station.
On March 9, Walmart announced plans to build the approximately 46,000-square-foot grocery store and gas station. The store is about a fourth of the size of a regular Walmart Supercenter store and smaller than competing supermarkets, and would be the third Neighborhood Market recently opened in St. Charles County.
Development of the store and of the overall 86.5-acre Bopp Property has drawn a sharp response from Dardenne Prairie and nearby O’Fallon officials worried about the impact the development could have on Bryan Road’s traffic.
City officials had a number of questions for the partnership, particularly about the traffic issue. Access points for traffic have to be approved off Feise Road by Dardenne Prairie. Rights of way off Bryan Road are controlled by O’Fallon.
Dardenne Prairie Mayor David Zucker told the board at their April 6 meeting that partnership officials were expected to provide new traffic and other additional information. The public hearing would remain open until the board’s April 20 meeting, when the board could also consider the PUD request.
The board also is expected to consider the site plan for the Walmart Neighborhood Market store sometime in May. The site plan will first be submitted to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, then to the board.
Zucker said he met with Walmart officials to discuss city requirements for the building, and presented them with a picture of a similar Walmart store in Pleasanton, California. “We can make a lot of people happy with a building that looks like this, as opposed to the industrial warehouse look they submitted with their original proposal,” Zucker told aldermen.
Zucker said he assured Walmart officials that the city also is amenable to revising a city ordinance adopted in 2004 that sets architectural standards along Bryan Road and other parts of the city.
Meanwhile, Zucker said partnership officials have not gotten any feedback regarding traffic from O’Fallon officials.
O’Fallon officials wanted access points on Bryan Road to line up with that city’s road cuts on the east side of the road. They’ve also asked for an overall traffic study for the entire Bopp Property, for which development plans haven’t been finalized.
“What I propose for our government is that we take care of our business; we make sure our requirements are satisfied,” Zucker said. He said the city wants a “sound traffic study” that will allow the board to make an informed judgement based on good data.
“O’Fallon will just have to play catch up- that’s all I need to say about O’Fallon,” he said.