A proposed four-story hotel that was opposed by many nearby St. Peters residents received a favorable vote from the city’s Board of Aldermen but was not approved.
The board voted 4-2 in favor of a conditional use permit at its Feb. 23 meeting that would have allowed the proposed 82-room Holiday Inn Express and Suites to be built on a vacant 3.5-acre, commercially zoned lot along Interstate 70. The lot is on the southwest corner of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Richmond Center Boulevard.
City officials said that the measure failed because it needed five votes from the eight-member board to pass.
Aldermen Dave Thomas [Ward 1] and Donald Aytes [Ward 4] voted against the measure. Aldermen Rocky Reitmeyer [Ward 1] and Judy Bateman [Ward 2] were absent at the time of the vote. However, Bateman and Reitmeyer were present at the beginning of the meeting. Reitmeyer also was back in his seat to vote on other business after the vote on the special use permit.
About a dozen residents spoke against the conditional use permit at the meeting. Nearby Richmond subdivision residents said they worried that the hotel would prompt more traffic in their subdivision and pose threats to neighborhood children. An early childhood center for the Fort Zumwalt School District across Richmond Center Drive from the proposed hotel is expected to open next fall.
Janice Duffner, a subdivision resident, who said she gathered 170 signatures on a petition opposing the hotel, said the opposition involved the hotel’s impact on the neighborhood.
“It’s our neighborhood. You’re bringing strangers into a community that does not want them; that does not need them,” Duffner said. Sidewalks and subdivision streets provide easy access for people jogging or walking from the hotel, she added.
Steve Marshall echoed Duffner’s concerns and added a new one regarding area crime. “Already we’ve had people that have come in and gone through mailboxes and gone through the cars that were open,” Marshall said. He also expressed concern about the hotel changing ownership.
Mark Sawyer, another resident, suggested that a study of the occupancy rates of hotels along Interstate 70 in St. Charles County should be done to see what impact a new hotel would have on the hotel business.
In 2009, the city approved allowing a hotel on the same site but it was never built and the permit lapsed.
Brad Goss, an attorney for the applicant, HIE St. Peters, LLC, said an earlier plan outlined last November included not only the Holiday Express Hotel but a restaurant and extended stay facility. The plan was withdrawn after the city’s planning and zoning commission recommended it be rejected by aldermen.
Goss said the applicant then revised plans to include just the hotel and restaurant and changed the orientation of the building so its windows would not look into the subdivision. The applicant also conducted a traffic study that suggested the hotel would have limited impact on the subdivision and worked with the Fort Zumwalt School District on issues involving the early childhood center.
Goss and city planning staffers said that homes to the south of the development will be at a higher grade and buffered from the hotel by office-medical buildings on Richmond Center Court. The city’s planning and zoning commission voted at its Feb. 1 meeting to recommend the new proposal to the city council.
Randy Weber, the city’s legal counsel, said while the current commercial zoning for the property allows restaurants, bars, nurseries and movie theaters as uses of the property, a special use permit was needed to put a hotel there. The proposed hotel, he said, met all applicable major city code requirements.