Canvas Cove subdivision residents may turn to the city of Dardenne Prairie to try to mitigate some aspects of a new development that the St. Charles County Council now has cleared for construction.
Mike Costlow, who represents the subdivision homeowners association, said residents plan to ask for help from the Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen and city officials. The city controls Monet Drive adjacent to the development where road access is proposed.
Costlow made the comments after the council voted 7-0 at its Sept. 26 meeting to approve a conditional use permit that will allow a rehabilitation facility on an unincorporated 5.68-acre along Hwy. N at Monet Drive. The unincorporated tract is largely surrounded by Dardenne Prairie city boundaries with Canvas Cove to the north and west of it.
The facility would primarily serve elderly patients in need of short-term physical therapy. The one-story, 38-bed facility would cater to patients staying two to three weeks. The property owner is HFS Revocable Trust and Sunterra Springs LLC is an applicant.
The vote happened even through Costlow and nearby subdivision residents came before the council to ask them to delay a final decision. Residents say they need more time to research the impact of the development. They say they are worried about traffic issues and the safety of school children using buses, lower property values, and whether site development would contribute to standing water and flooding issues.
The Dardenne Prairie board also weighed in on the topic with a resolution passed on Sept. 21 asking the council for a delay. However, the council didn’t opt for further delays.
Councilmember Mike Elam [District 3], who represents the area, said contacts and extensive meetings have been held between subdivision home owner representatives and residents, and the developer. Contacts also have been made with realtors and the Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT], which controls access off Hwy. N.
Residents suggested that an entrance and exit to the development be located off Hwy. N, rather than along Monet Drive, which fronts six subdivision homes. They say they don’t have a good answer as to how much traffic the rehabilitation center would generate.
Elam said MoDOT officials told to him and other members of the local state legislative delegation that they would not allow an access off Hwy. N because it’s too close to other entrances.
Costlow said, “There are a lot of definitive statements here that I’m not getting from the same people.” He noted that some realtors have sent letters saying some homes may lose 10 to 15 percent of their value, and that a MoDOT official he contacted had indicated that the developer could work out an arrangement with a nearby Montessori Day Care center to allow a mutual entrance for both facilities off Hwy. N.
“This could be a win-win if we had a little more time to discuss it,” Costlow said.
But Elam said he was frustrated at the different stories, saying Costlow was the only person who seemed to be getting different answers. The Montessori owner had told him that mutual entrance wasn’t possible, Elam said.
Councilmember Joe Cronin [District 2] said the residents need to discuss with Dardenne Prairie officials where the road access to the development should go and who should control access on Monet Drive, which is a city street.
“It’s not our place to see where those entrances are,” Cronin said. The city must approve that entrance before the county can approve a site plan for the project. The city may be able to work with MoDOT on the Hwy. N issue, he said.
The county’s master plan shows much of this area as commercial and a conditional use permit would allow the area to remain residential, he said.
The council went along with Elam’s suggestion to vote on the permit at the meeting.
Dardenne Prairie Mayor David Zucker has said that the city has jurisdiction over Monet Drive. But Zucker told aldermen and residents at a board meeting in September that the property isn’t inside Dardenne Prairie and the city has no jurisdiction over it.
“I don’t know if there is a thing we can do to stop the project or even to influence the manner in which it is carried out,” Zucker said.
The issue may prompt the city to redouble efforts to annex small islands of unincorporated property surrounded or up against city boundaries.