Decisions on two controversial zoning proposals by the St. Charles County Council – one involving a trash transfer station near the Family Arena and the other on a proposed rezoning concept plan for a subdivision in the heavily forested Missouri River Bluffs area near Interstate 64 – have been delayed at least until a council meeting on May 21.
The council delayed a final vote on the rezoning and concept plan for the property near The Bluffs Golf Course, which has been discussed for several months before the council and county planning and zoning commission.
The petitioner’s application seeks to rezone a largely-tree covered, 386.52-acre tract south of the Missouri Research Park, west of I-64 and north of the Missouri River to R1-A planned unit development.
The multi-phased development proposes 289 detached single-family dwelling units on 190.94 acres and up to 73 single-family attached dwellings on 7.26 acres. That’s down from the 315 single-family and 120 multi-family units originally proposed.
Those changes came after the developers, Missouri Bluffs Golf Ventures and NT Home Builders agreed to amend their proposal. The University of Missouri, which owns the ground, has indicated they would sell the property to the developers with the approval of an acceptable zoning and concept plan.
However, at its April 30 meeting, the council agreed to delay the Missouri Bluffs rezoning, along with the trash transfer station vote, after a request from Councilmember Michael Klinghammer [District 6].
Klinghammer said Councilmember John White [District 7], who was absent from the April 30 meeting, wanted to be present to vote on both issues, especially the transfer station, which is in his district.
The controversial residential development proposal has already undergone hours of review and public comment largely against the proposal. The county planning and zoning commission voted 8-1 at its March 21 meeting against recommending the rezoning and concept plan. Five of seven councilmembers have to vote in favor to approve the rezoning.
Even with the delay, the council heard from six more people during its public comment portion of the meeting who spoke in opposition at the April 30 meeting.
Bettie Yahn-Kramer, who recently retired as St. Charles County parks director and who is a resident opposed to the subdivision, said that, based on her parks development experience, the cost of developing the land and the resulting damage would be greater than anticipated.
The area is a doorway to a major tourism area with bike shops, restaurants and wineries from Hwy. 94 to Augusta, she said. She added that building more than 200 homes is “not a viable addition for the long-term greater good.”
“I urge you not to consider this location,” Yahn-Kramer said.
Steven Belco, executive director of the Missouri Humanities Council and an O’Fallon resident, said there are other ways to increase tourism and the subdivision may harm some.
“If you approve this development you will be approving a typical cookie-cutter subdivision to be built on beautiful bluffs overlooking one of the greatest rivers in American history. It’s a subdivision that the voters of St. Charles County have told you they do not want.”
Brad Goss, an attorney representing NT Home Builders, thanked the council for the delay saying that NT Home Builders has been and will continue to be willing to make changes to “refine” plans and make them more “palatable.”
Neither the council nor the audience discussed specifics regarding the transfer station, which has been before county officials since last November.
Being considered is a proposed conditional use permit that if approved would be a step toward putting the transfer station on 8.07 acres along Arena Parkway and South River Road, near the Family Arena and the Katy Trail.
A proposal from Metro Fill Development states that the station would be a place where trash would be consolidated. Trucks hauling collected residential and commercial waste would enter a building at the site where waste would be placed in a truck and hauled to a landfill.
To become a reality, the station would require the approval of the county’s Public Health Department and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Last November, nearby residents packed the county’s planning and zoning commission in opposition to the permit. The commission voted 9-0 to recommend denial. Five of seven councilmembers have to vote in favor of the permit to approve it.
Hundreds of residents packed the floor at the Family Arena for a public hearing on the permit before the council on Dec. 4. But since that public hearing, the council has delayed action on the transfer station because of legal discussions and finds of fact being determined in the case. This spring, the council has spent more time on the Bluffs rezoning.
Councilmembers did not make a determination regarding the location of the May 29 meeting.
Councilmember Dave Hammond [District 4], who serves as chairman of the council, said he doubted that the meeting would call for the use of the Family Arena based on resident turnout at previous meetings when both the transfer station and Bluffs development were on the agenda and dropped. However, other councilmembers said they expected a large turnout at the meeting.
The council is expected to hold its regular May meetings on Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 29.