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‘Fairways at Turtle Creek’ proposal returns to O’Fallon Council with changes

In summer of 2019, a high-density rental development named Fairways at Turtle Creek was proposed for a parcel of land on the south side of Mexico Road, which also serves as the current site of The Falls Recreation Center.

The development was proposed to include 182 units across a 22.28-acre site. The proposed development site off Mexico Road at Crooked Stick Drive [located directly across from Fort Zumwalt West High] currently contains a golf driving range, a mini-golf course and batting cages. In order to proceed, the land would have had to be rezoned from C-2/General Business District PUD/Planned Unit Development to R-3/Garden Apartment and Condo District PUD/Planned Unit Development. The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission [P&Z] forwarded a negative recommendation to the council. 

Nearby residents and other O’Fallon citizens also had petitioned and spoken against the rezoning and the development plan, citing the potential loss of current home values and commercial/retail land plus other ill effects. 

By August 2019, developer Missouri National Golf Links LP had withdrawn the request for rezoning and the development.

At the March 12, 2020, City Council meeting, Ward 5 council members Mike Pheney and Debbie Cook sponsored Bill No. 7177 to approve a brand-new area plan for the Fairways at Turtle Creek.

This time, P&Z has recommended approval, with added conditions included.

The bill was given a public hearing and first reading on March 12. If the usual process is followed, the bill will receive a second reading and vote for passage at the March 26 council meeting. [The March 26 meeting will be available to residents by livestream or on demand video only at ofallon.mo.us.]

Instead of 182 units, the new bill proposes 128 rental units across 14.65 acres, for a density of 8.74 units per acre. The units would be a mixture of attached and detached single-family homes. A private drive aisle with full access to Mexico Road would be included, along with private alleys marked for one-way and two-way traffic within the development. Proposed amenities include a Pet Park, Tot Lots, a bocce ball court and fire pits.

The existing mini-golf course would remain, but the existing batting cages would be removed. The remaining non-residential 9.04 acres would be left for the mini-golf course and for future commercial/retail. Current zoning would permit this development, so no change is needed.

A total of 331 residents have signed and submitted petitions opposing the latest area plan and bill. Missouri National challenged the petition, stating that many of those 331 names actually were from petitions last summer, based on the previous plans.

During the citizen comments session and the public hearing for this bill, five residents spoke in favor of the bill and nine residents spoke in opposition.

Those in favor said they knew Missouri National partner Ed Schultz and expressed faith in his ability as the property’s owner to follow through with the provisions outlined in the new proposal. Some speakers also stated that if another entity or individual purchased the land for development, the new owner might not be accommodating to residential concerns.

Those opposed to the development expressed concern about the high-density housing aspect not fitting in with surrounding homes and subdivisions. Other concerns included the risk of lowering property values, increased traffic volumes on Mexico Road and the possibility that renters would not maintain their properties the same as homeowners. They also expressed concerns about plans for how trash collection and pickup would be handled in the development.

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