On May 6, the St. Peters Planning & Zoning Commission [P&Z] considered proposed rezoning of 9.09 acres of land at 724 Spencer Road.
The property, which is shown as 9.15 acres on Zillow.com, Realtor.com
Its current zoning is A-1 Agricultural. Luetkenhaus Properties has requested rezoning to Planned Urban Development [PUD], in order to build a proposed development, Park Place Townhomes, with 49 units on a single cul-de-sac. The townhomes would occupy eight buildings with four, six
After a half-hour of developer presentations and an hour of negative comments made by 14 citizens, P&Z voted 5-4 to send the rezoning request to the Board of Aldermen with a recommendation of denial. A greater number of citizens were present at the meeting but did not speak.
Voting to recommend denial were commission members Keith McNames, Lori Tainter, Steven Bailey, Gary Westhoff
Via voice vote, the commission then voted to postpone
Residents who spoke said they were not against
At the commission’s request, developer Bill Luetkenhaus, of Luetkenhaus Properties, presented the detailed site plan as background for the rezoning decision. He emphasized that everything in the proposed
Acknowledging the concerns of nearby residents who had signed a petition against the development, Luetkenhaus said: “I had scheduled a discussion meeting to address concerns with residents. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the library where the meeting was to be held had been closed, and no other venues were available for a group meeting. So, I was unable to meet with the residents as a group.”
“A lot of the resident concerns expressed in the petition have been addressed in the site plan,” he added.
Luetkenhaus said he met with
Other resident concerns that Luetkenhaus said are covered in the site plan, include:
- 56% of the overall development will be green space.
- Street lights will have shields around them to avoid casting off of light.
- Four parking spaces will be available for each unit; two in the garage, two in the driveway.
- Stormwater retention provisions will be per city code.
- Traffic studies indicate a current volume of 15,000 car trips per day on Spencer Road. An uptick in traffic as a result of the development would equate to 22-27 additional car trips per hour on the road with no problem anticipated.
Luetkenhaus said he was distressed to see an inference in the petition that described him as a “local lobbyist” who was hired to “grease the wheels” and get this approved. He clarified, “I am not a lobbyist, not an attorney, and since retiring from the state legislature I have operated a real estate and development business.”
Following Luetkenhaus, Dale Bax, of Bax Engineering, described the site in question as “9.09 acres, including a single-family homestead, with a mix of grass fields and woodlands sloping down to a drainage creek.” He said the site plan will not disturb the creek bank setup.
“The buildings [on the site] include an uninhabited two-story brick home in disrepair, with many code violations; a wood barn; a woodshed; a metal shed and a concrete in-ground pool that the family had filled in years ago,” Bax said.
In answer to a later question by P&Z chair Keith McNames, Luetkenhaus stated that the house is not on any historical U.S., state, or county register. “And, we had the house inspected,” he said. “It has termite damage, mold issues, asbestos and many code violations.” At the request of McNames, Luetkenhaus agreed to check with the St. Charles County Historical Society to ask if they are aware of any historical significance for the house.
Regarding the property, Bax said, “Trees currently occupy 3.67 acres. The city requires us to keep 50% of the
Bax further described the development’s proposed layout as having entrance off Spencer Road opposite the Heather Drive entrance to the Penny Lane subdivision.
“The new street will be 930 feet ending in a school-district-approved cul-de-sac, where school buses will be able to turn around. There will be a 10-foot-wide green belt along Spencer Road for the length of the property, with a white vinyl fence,” Bax said.
According to Bax, an existing sewer line to the city’s service will be used.
During the public hearing, Louise
“Know that we trust that city staff and elected officials to be sensitive to needless disruption of our congenial daily living by allowing what amounts to generous paydays for the landowners and developers who will depart pockets full, leaving behind residents with a distasteful urban carbuncle of ill-placed structures that are no more visually pleasant [sic] than a cheap B-movie prop,” Lanigan said. “The high density of proposed buildings and the style does not fit in with surrounding neighborhoods. Penny Lane has been a great success for the area and the Dallavalle Tract development should complement Penny Lane architecture.”
Lanigan said she does not accept the density claims made by Luetkenhaus.
“He relies on the full 9 acres instead of the 5.5 acres actually being developed,” she said. Several other speakers echoed those same points.
According to Lanigan, “Many of the written comments expressed concern that homes could be rented out with consequent adverse impacts to adjacent neighborhoods. Luetkenhaus stated there were no caps on rentals being proposed. This portends a significant future problem for the adjacent neighborhoods.”
Luetkenhaus said Kemp Homes intends to sell the homes not rent them thus there would be no rental caps.
Speakers also expressed concerns about existing creek problems. They noted that Luetkenhaus explained that neither the owners of the tract of land nor his clients were interested in paying for creek improvements. Instead, the developer will donate the land to the city, to avoid the city needing to purchase the creek easement in the future. Speakers believe this will remain a continuing problem, saying the city engineer had noted that there is no funding available for the creek improvement or maintenance.
In an interview on May 8, Lanigan said she believed the density stats were set up in favor of the developer and to the detriment of the existing homeowners. She also expressed concern about where trash cans would be stored and worried that dumpsters might be used. She also said she feared that “decibel levels would be terrible for [air conditioner units on back decks] and much of their noise would carry down to Carrington Place and Shadow Creek.”
Lanigan also was concerned that Luetkenhaus “paid for a study that used assessed value for the comparison of home values, not
“Who would use assessed value for property values to do comparables? No one,” she said, answering her own question. She said the last 18 months of sales around Penny Lane averaged in the $248,000 range, with some up to $350,000. “That means Park Place Townhomes starting at $230,000 would not be more than surrounding homes.”
Lanigan said, “Residents from all of the affected subdivisions were shocked that Alderman Terri Violet had voted to ignore every reasonable constituent concern and support the site plan as submitted. When pointedly asked about her vote by several homeowners after the meeting she explained that she was satisfied that Mr. Luetkenhaus had cleared every concern on the Penny Lane petition signed by 127 homeowners and she could see no reason why the development should not proceed exactly as proposed. ”
Armed with the negative recommendation from P&Z, area residents opposed to the development are hoping Violet’s aldermanic colleagues will see the development from their point of view.