Commission recommends denial of vehicle storage near Jefferson Barracks


Photo by Bill Milligan

Marc Garcia plays the trumpet at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery ceremony.

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

The St. Louis County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of a zoning change for a large vehicle storage facility near the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery Aug. 22.

The project is on 1.18 acres on Sheridan Road. Petitioners requested a zoning change and very few changes to the site, with a proposed use of a contracting office and covered parking. All buildings and structures on site would be retained, with new landscaping along Sheridan and Boundary roads.

One citizen spoke against the plan at a public hearing in July, referencing the proximity to the cemetery. Phillip Kaufmann, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Military, said the construction equipment doesn’t belong in the area and instead should be in an industrial zone.

“You have hazmat materials that will eventually leak and encroach on grave sites and I take a bit of offense to that,” Kaufmann said. “That is not an appropriate entrance for a landmark cemetery.”

Petitioner Robert Diestelkamp said the site won’t have hazmat materials, and he tries to keep the site in the best condition possible.

At the commission’s Aug. 22 executive meeting, commissioners were given the chance to hear staff reports and rule on the site.

County staff recommended denial of the plan to the commission, citing issues with the use of the lot near adjacent zones, the wrong zoning request, lack of aesthetic improvement and lack of support for the Sixth District Community Area Study. 

“The insertion of this use at this site, it would be extremely difficult to appropriately site adjacent to a large county park and national cemetery,” Acting Director of Planning Jacob Trimble said. “One of our rationales is these yards for storage of these very large vehicles is noted in the zoning ordinance to be found in the industrial districts.”

Commissioners agreed with staff’s analysis of the site.

“A cemetery is kind of a somber area and we don’t want it next to a national cemetery,” Commissioner Gary Elliott said.