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Pruning suggested on Lake Saint Louis’ new comprehensive plan

The pruning has begun on a new comprehensive plan for Lake Saint Louis that is nearing completion and set for adoption in October.

The plan is expected to set guidelines and a blueprint for the city’s development in the next 20 years. State law authorizes municipalities to develop their own master plans that address issues such as future land use and other economic and physical development and quality of life concerns and priorities. It’s not a zoning ordinance, subdivision regulation or regulatory document but rather a basis for preparing them.

However, getting to the point of adopting that blueprint still has a few months to go and the city’s Board of Aldermen hashed out some recommendations at its work session on Aug. 14.

The board suggested some changes and cuts to a few of a myriad of recommendations in the draft. Among the suggested cuts include requiring occupancy inspections of housing stock on resale, the city hiring an economic development director, the city encouraging new dining and retail options, more open space in business parks, and smaller neighborhood pocket parks.

Another recommendation that was not avidly supported was the city forming a “cohesion” committee that would work with the Lake Saint Louis Community Association, which manages private amenities in the city including its large lakes.

City Administrator Paul Markworth told aldermen that the city staff now handles economic development as is done in other county cities like St. Peters. Entrance signs to the city and other efforts may “get us more bang for the buck” as far as promotion, he said.

Mayor Kathy Schweikert and other aldermen said communications between city residents, who can use private amenities, and many new residents who cannot should be handed by the association. The city and the association already meet and the city has no control over amenities, she said.

The board also suggested that a recommendation for business parks to maintain 50 percent of their property as open space may be too much for developers, instead opting for 40 percent.  Small pocket parks may be too expensive and time-consuming to maintain, Markworth said.

Schweikert also wanted to make clear that different draft scenarios suggested for the city’s Uptown District – an older commercial area along Interstate 70, including a portion of Lake Saint Louis Boulevard to the main lake dam – are simply concepts. They aren’t redevelopment proposals and weren’t meant to suggest acquisition and the use of eminent domain by the city, she said. Businesses in the area were concerned, city officials said.

Time is running out for further comment on the plan. The city has been working with a consulting group, i5Group, to develop the plan since last June paying a base price of $102,000, with additional costs anticipated over a 15-month, four-part development process.  That process has been guided by a steering committee that includes the mayor, an alderman, a city planning and zoning commission representative and six residents. Four public, open houses were part of the process.

The draft document now circulating is the result of opinion surveys, the steering committee and input from public meetings and the open houses. The public comment period closes on Friday, Aug. 25.

The draft plan is available at www.MyFutureLakeSaintLouis.com. The steering committee’s final meeting and the city’s planning and zoning commission’s second public hearing on the plan are set for Sept. 7.

The city’s Board of Aldermen is scheduled to consider plan approval on Oct. 16 after the planning and zoning commission considers the plan on Oct. 5.

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