County Planning Commission votes to deny Mehlville’s rezoning request for bus facility

Traffic concerns stalled the Mehlville School District’s pursuit of property for an additional district bus facility.

The district requested rezoning on property at Lemay Ferry and Ringer roads for a facility that would house administrative offices, 32 buses and be used for light bus maintenance.

County Planning Commission Chairman Wayne Hilzinger said increased traffic was the commission’s main concern.

“The concern is the traffic congestion in that area,” he said, “and that basically was the only concern, trying to put 32 more buses coming in (and) out of a difficult area already.”

The Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to deny the school district’s rezoning request.

Mehlville Superintendent Eric Knost said he could not comment on the issue because it is a closed-session topic for the Board of Education.

“Even though this is discussed publicly because it has to do with the county, I understand that that information’s out there, but technically it’s still a closed-session topic,” Knost said.

County Department of Planning officials recommended the commission approve the request, stating the proposed use is reasonable for the location.

“The department believes locating this facility on the petitioned property will allow the school district to provide more efficient transportation to its students and better utilize its other facilities in south county,” the department’s report stated.

During the Planning Commission’s public hearing March 19, two nearby residents spoke in opposition to the proposed use and one nearby resident approved of the use but said stoplights or stop signs should be at the intersection.

The report states that after the public hearing, Mehlville officials met with the Department of Planning and the Department of Highways and Traffic and agreed to provide right-of-way dedication “along Ringer Ring Road; limit access to one curb cut on Ringer Road and install sidewalks if feasible … and to work with MoDOT to determine the appropriate location of the entrances of sidewalks on Lemay Ferry Road …”

Hilzinger, a former member of the Mehlville Board of Education, said the district can always come back to the commission, but he believes the traffic concerns need to be addressed.

“Those concerns have been voiced by people who live in that area, who travel that intersection and that area to and from work,” he said. “And basically the district was not proposing any kind of changes that would help the traffic pattern.”

Though Hilzinger said he applauds what the district is trying to do, he is not sure the location is the right one.

“I think there are some other opportunities out there that may suit them better, but we’re certainly willing to work with them in every way possible,” Hilzinger said.

Sixth District Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, said because the Planning Commission denied the request, if the request comes to the council, it would have to receive unanimous approval.

He also said when the commission denies a request, it is usually “dead when that happens.”

“It has not reached us yet … It depends what they did (at the Planning Commission meeting), but normally it requires unanimous approval,” Stenger said.

The rezoning request was for 1.93 acres at 5310 and 5320 Lemay Ferry Road. If approved, the request would have rezoned a C-2 Shopping District and C-8 Planned Commercial District to a C-8 Planned Commercial District and amended C-8 Planned Commercial District.