South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Crestwood approves preliminary plan for large Watson Road development

Residents concerned about proposal’s impact on traffic
Crestwood City Hall
Photo by Gloria Lloyd
Crestwood City Hall

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen approved a zoning change and preliminary plan for a large mixed use development July 27.

The project, located at 8800 Watson Road, was presented by CWD Equity for a zoning change from planned development-commercial to planned development-mixed use. Currently the site is home to Victory Raceway go-karting and other office buildings. Developers requested a zoning change to a mixed use district and approval of the preliminary development plan.

The preliminary development plan for the project features three new multifamily buildings, with about 276 apartments total, and two new commercial buildings with approximately 12,000-square-feet of retail and restaurant space. The plan also calls for private amenities for tenants and has 513 total parking spots.

The plan was heard by the planning commission July 6 and was recommended for approval with nearly 40 conditions.

One condition — the requirement of live-work units — was removed by the board. Architect Kevin Berman, representing the petitioner, said the addition of apartments with a built-in office was atypical, and the buildings already have a community office area built in. This area would include office rooms, printers and other amenities.

“A true live-work apartment is a little less common and a little more restrictive for everyone to use,” Berman said. “It’s something we could do based on the planning commission’s comments, but we think the co-work environment is the right response.”

The board voted to strike the live-work unit requirement and instead replace it with a requirement for electric vehicle charging stations on site.

“I think (the live-work requirement) is vaguely worded, I think it’s unnecessary with what the applicant is proposing,” Mayor Grant Mabie said.

Citizens who spoke in public comment about the plan were against the development for traffic issues, although a traffic study conducted by a traffic engineer stated the development would be feasible for the next 20 years for the surrounding roads.

“Right now it’s almost backed up to (Interstate) 44, and you are going to add 300-400 cars there, I don’t see how that’s possible,” resident Christie Rumpsa said.

Traffic engineer Julie Nolfo said the study looked at eight intersections along Watson Road and Grant Road. Rumpsa said her main issue was with Elm Avenue being backed up by the new development — she lives in the nearest neighborhood to the site.

Mabie said currently Watson is at a historical low in terms of traffic, so overall the development shouldn’t make too much of an impact.

One other issue raised by a resident was the city’s payments to the Affton Fire Protection District. Currently the city pays AFPD around $600,000 due to a legal battle over residents in an annexed area of Affton. Since the new development lies in AFPD’s area, the assessed valuation would rise and increase Crestwood’s payments — Mabie estimates by about $40,000-$50,000. 

“Right now that parcel is fairly undervalued because of how empty and dilapidated it is, but we would expect … to see that number go up. At the same time, adding commercial businesses and the number of residents we would expect … by adding residents, the city gets a per capita payment from the sales tax pool, so our internal calculations reveal this to be a net positive for the city,” Mabie said.

The board approved both the zoning change and preliminary plan unanimously.

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