Green Park board OKs final plans for new businesses along Lindbergh

Officer says he doesn’t think major problem exists with traffic on Ronnie Hills streets

By BURKE WASSON

The Green Park Board of Aldermen recently voted 5-0 to approve final development plans for several new businesses along South Lindbergh Boulevard.

Aldermen cleared the way for development to begin on a new Lion’s Choice restaurant, which once completed will result in the future construction of a 54th Street Grill & Bar and Golden Corral.

The board also voted 5-0 to approve a final development plan for a QuikTrip convenience store with gas pumps and a fast-food restaurant along Lindbergh Boulevard. Ward 2 Alderman Tim Thuston was absent from the June 16 meeting.

The new Lion’s Choice restaurant will be constructed at 6032 S. Lindbergh Boulevard, next to the current site of Fantasy Coachworks at 6034 S. Lindbergh Blvd. The existing Lion’s Choice at 6106 S. Lindbergh Blvd. will remain open until the new restaurant is built. That project also calls for realigning Yuma and Flori drives at their intersections with Lindbergh Boulevard.

A Golden Corral and a 54th Street Grill & Bar later will be constructed in the area where Lion’s Choice currently is situated.

Those businesses will have a sales tax imposed through a community improvement district, or CID, to fund public infrastructure improvements for the Lion’s Choice redevelopment area. Revenue will be generated by an additional sales tax of up to 1 percent on sales within the redevelopment area.

Aldermen also voted in June to approve construction of a QuikTrip convenience store with gas pumps at 6312 S. Lindbergh Blvd., the site of a former Cingular Wireless store.

But residents at recent board meetings have expressed concern that the addition of three restaurants, including the fast-food restaurant near the QuikTrip site, and a gas station would make already-busy residential streets even more crowded.

Eleven Ronnie Hills subdivision residents pleaded in May for city officials to be mindful of extra traffic that could spill into residential areas as a result of planned new commercial developments on Lindbergh Boulevard. Additionally, those residents have also called for more enforcement of traffic laws on such Ronnie Hills subdivision streets as Flori Place, Yuma Drive and Patsy Drive.

At the request of Ward 3 Alderman Mark Hayden, St. Louis County Police Officer Jim McKelvey has said he would explore more methods of enforcement in the Ronnie Hills area.

The first phase of the Lion’s Choice development calls for the construction of the new Lion’s Choice to the north of a new, signalized “T” intersection at Flori Drive and Lindbergh Boulevard. That intersection would replace Fantasy Coachworks. The second and third phases would allow construction of Golden Corral and 54th Street Grill & Bar immediately upon the opening of the new Lion’s Choice and demolition of the current Lion’s Choice restaurant building. A connection with Yuma Place would occur as part of the fourth phase of the project.

Dianne Graham of Realty Exchange told aldermen that two developers are interested in also constructing a residential component — likely attached villas for seniors — in that fourth phase.

As for the CID, infrastructure improvements to be funded include traffic needs, relocation of utilities and stormwater improvements. Estimated cost to be funded by that CID would be $900,000.

And while a new traffic signal at Flori and Lindbergh will be placed at the new Lion’s Choice location, the QuikTrip project also calls for a modification of the traffic light at Lindbergh and Concord Drive from a three-way light to a four-way light and a realignment of Concord at Lindbergh with the new development.

Regarding residents’ concerns about existing traffic problems along residential streets in Ronnie Hills, St. Louis County Police Officer Aaron Roediger told aldermen at a June work session that he does not believe a major problem exists.

“I’m not saying they don’t have some speeding issues or a few individuals, probably teenagers, exceed the speed limit down those streets,” he said. “But to say that there’s a large speeding problem on these streets, I don’t think the data would support that. To say that there’s a large speeding problem is not true.”

Roediger told aldermen that the county is planning to place additional traffic counters and speed-limit street signs in the Ronnie Hills subdivision area.