The owner of the Lake Saint Louis Garden Center has withdrawn a controversial special use permit request opposed by nearby residents worried about the impact of changes at the center on their homes and quality of life.
City Administrator Paul Markworth said Richard Kopp, president of Kirkwood Material Supply and owner of the garden center, withdrew the permit request on July 14. The special permit request has been before the city in the form of a resolution since January and was on the city’s Board of Aldermen meeting agenda on July 17.
Residents of the Waterford Villas subdivision, adjacent to the center, opposed granting the permit request. The permit would allow 16 storage bins for road salt and other materials that would be piled at least 12 feet high.
Kopp bought the property in 2015. Kopp said in January that he needed the additional storage to complete with Lowes and Home Depot but said there would be limited truck traffic and disturbance to the subdivisions.
Residents said the upgrades would change the nature of the garden center, saying the proposed changes would be more appropriate for a property zoned highway commercial or light industrial rather than its present commercial zoning.
At board meetings since January, residents said they worried that piles of rock and mulch would require heavy truck traffic to haul it and cause more noise that would disturb the tranquility of the neighborhood. They also worried that the changes may impact their property values. They also complained that Kopp isn’t maintaining the property. Kopp did not attend a board meeting since January.
The board opted to table the resolution in May and June for various reasons including asking the city’s planning and zoning commission to clarify their recommendation in favor of the permit or allow all six aldermen to attend a meeting.
Kim Pfalz, one of those Waterford Villas residents, thanked the board and city officials during the public comment portion of the July 17 meeting. “It was good to feel listened to,” Pfalz said. “It was good that I believe some of you have come from one place to another place through this process over seven months. To me, that speaks to open-mindedness and the willingness to listen.”
She added that she thought the e city has more do with the garden property. Residents remain concerned about the condition of buildings, mulch piles, high grass and standing water.
Mayor Kathy Schweikert and Alderman John Pellerito [Ward 3] said they appreciated the input from residents.