Ballwin Board of Aldermen approves new residential community
By: Jim Erickson
To rezone, or not to rezone. That was the question before the Ballwin Board of Aldermen at its Jan. 14 meeting, and it took more than an hour of discussion before the matter was decided.
The Board ultimately approved the request from McBride Essen, LLC, to rezone a triangular-shaped parcel at 520 Kehrs Mill Road from C-1 Commercial and R-1 Single Family to the R-4 Planned Multiple Dwelling District. But the action came with a number of strings attached, suggesting it may be a while before the issue is resolved.
Ballwin’s Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended the zoning change in a report after a Dec. 3 meeting. However, aldermen learned the site plan they received for their meeting was not the same one the commission had reviewed in making its decision. In addition, Jeannie Aulmier, a spokesperson for the developer, noted she wasn’t sure all the conditions the commission had specified for making its recommendation could be met.
The earlier site plan showed a 60-foot setback from an adjoining residential property, as required by the city’s zoning ordinance. But a final preparation of the drawings revealed the actual setback was just 43 feet.
Among conditions the commission had attached to its recommendation were irrigation for all common ground areas and a sidewalk, meeting federal disabilities act requirements, at the southwest corner of the property.
Aulmier maintained it wasn’t necessary to install irrigation equipment around a storm water retention pond considered part of the common ground area. She also said the sidewalk requirement would be difficult or impossible to meet due to the steep elevation change where the sidewalk would be placed.
In light of the new information, Mayor Tim Pogue originally recommended the proposal be returned to the Planning and Zoning Commission for further review. After suggestions and counter-suggestions among McBride representatives and aldermen, the Board approved the rezoning but maintained the 60-foot setback requirement. That action requires McBride to seek a zoning code variance from Ballwin’s Board of Adjustment.
The Board also changed the irrigation requirement to apply to all landscaped areas in the parcel and asked for a sidewalk easement, as well as the sidewalk itself but only if the walkway is feasible.
Plans for the parcel, known as Essen Place, call for building 20 residential units.
The Ballwin Board gave speedy approval to another rezoning request, a request from Hertz Corp. for a special use permit needed to operate an auto rental facility at 14703 Manchester Road. The Planning and Zoning Commission had reviewed the request and recommended approval.