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Dardenne Prairie reaches agreement allowing voluntarily annexation of two parcels

The footprint of Dardenne Prairie shows pockets of unincorporated land, some of which will soon be annexed.

Dardenne Prairie voters won’t have to decide if two parcels of land on the April 4 ballot will come inside the city’s boundaries.  The property owners and the city beat them to the punch.

The city and the owners of the two parcels – a 15.75-acre property south of Route 364 and a 16.6-acre property to the north – reached a pre-annexation agreement that will allow the property to be brought into the city.

The two are among the largest pieces of unincorporated land that the city can annex and are prime candidates for development that could be a source of tax revenue. The two also are among five parcels of unincorporated parcels on the April ballot that city voters are being asked to approve as involuntary annexations.

The city’s Board of Aldermen approved the agreement by a 4-0 vote at a special meeting on March 29. Aldermen Kevin Klingerman [Ward 1] and Doug Santos [Ward 2] were absent.

The agreement is between the city and Thomas Drew Gilmer, trustee of the Harry V. Gilmer Irrevocable Trust, the owner of the parcel. The owners will voluntarily annex their property to the city.

Mayor David Zucker, the four aldermen, City Attorney David Hamilton, and Brad Goss, an attorney for the Gilmer and the trust, discussed details of the agreement before the board vote.

Zucker said the agreement requires the city to consider a commercial zoning for the southern parcel and a residential or planned unit development zoning for the northern parcel with a density up to four single-family houses per acre.

Goss said four units per acre would be a maximum and density may be less. There also is a prohibition in the agreement against any multi-family development, he said.

For the commercial property, the owners may consider submitting a request for a community improvement district [CID], neighborhood improvement district [NID] or transportation development district [TDD]  for the property. Those agreements often apply tax revenue to infrastructure improvements.

Zucker said the city agreed to look at a special district if requested by a developer. But Goss said he didn’t anticipate a special district would be needed unless some unanticipated expense occurs.

“Case law requires us to look at the facts and it would be inappropriate for us to pledge for use to create a CID or TDD in advance of an actual petition and the owners understand that,” Zucker said.

Hamilton noted that if the city doesn’t approve a zoning change for the residential density or commercial use on the tracts, the owners can seek a de-annexation from the city. He said it was a typical provision in a pre-annexation agreement.

Goss said a possible residential development may come before the city and its planning and zoning commission for review soon. Both parcels are for sale and developers are being courted.

The north parcel is next to Pinnacle Pointe and Dardenne Meadows subdivisions, and the south parcel is on Highway N across from a Walgreens store. Zucker said the parcels are near parts of the city that are seen as areas of development in the city’s comprehensive plan. They are also near Route 364 and Bryan Road and among the largest unincorporated tracts the city could annex.

The city wants to encourage new homes and commercial retail development; however, it doesn’t want the parcels to develop in the unincorporated area since St. Charles County government has less stringent development standards.

It’s too late to drop the two parcels from the April ballot. Zucker still urged residents to vote yes on all five annexations, which include in five separate propositions. Propositions A and B pertain to the Gilmer property. Propositions C, D. and E are three parcels that are all under a half-acre that are on Technology Drive, just east of the Phillips 66 gasoline station and south of Town Square Shopping Center.

Goss said it’s often good to get something now rather than wait.

“It’s always preferable if you can reach an understanding with the city and have a dialog with them and come in on that basis as opposed to an involuntary annexation,” he said.

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