Lindbergh seeks preliminary plat approval for improvements at Long School

Crestwood board set to hear Lindbergh’s request March 26

By Mike Anthony

Lindbergh Schools’ request for a preliminary plat approval for improvements at Long Elementary School will be considered next week by the Crestwood Planning and Zoning Commission.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at the Government Center, 1 Detjen Drive.

Lindbergh Schools paid $850,000 to buy 4.684 acres adjacent to Long Elementary School, 9021 Sappington Road.

As proposed, improvements will include expansion of the existing parking lot, creation of a new entrance to the parking facility opposite Banyan Tree Court, removal of the existing exit to Sappington Road and creation of a gated-drive connection between the parking lot and Doercrest Drive.

In addition, existing structures will be razed to create two multipurpose athletic fields and a nature trail.

The Lindbergh Board of Education voted unanimously Feb. 12 to approve the improvement plan for Long Elementary.

Total cost of the improvements is estimated at $450,000.

Those improvements include a traffic plan that district officials say will solve traffic-congestion problems that have existed for decades.

The traffic plan calls for the existing Long entrance to remain in place as an entrance-only driveway onto the site and will be dedicated to car traffic. All cars will exit the campus onto Sappington Road through a new exit driveway.

The current exit from the parking lot will be closed and a new three-lane driveway will be created roughly across from Banyon Tree Court. Two lanes will be used for exiting the campus and one lane will be an entrance. At drop-off and dismissal times on school days, this entrance will be for buses only.

Buses will exit through Doercrest Drive, which will be gated except when used by five buses twice a day.

Doercrest Manor residents said they were supportive of the overall improvements proposed for Long, but voiced concerns about the traffic plan for the school, contending the district’s plan would create a safety hazard for their neighborhood, students and motorists.

District officials, however, say the plan will improve safety by separating car and bus traffic, which Superintendent Jim Simpson previously told the Call is “the gold standard” for elementary school campuses.

Lindbergh officials met twice with nearby residents and based on residents’ comments, modified the plan.

During a period for public comment at the Feb. 12 school board meeting, five residents spoke in favor of the plans for Long Elementary School and four people spoke in opposition to the proposal.

David Dooling, co-president of the Long Elementary School PTO, told board members a survey was sent to Long parents. Of 159 responses, “over 95 percent were in favor of this plan,” he said.

Frank Ruzicka, who spoke in opposition to the plan, presented a petition signed by more than 150 residents that stated, in part, those signing it support the proposed expansion of Long, but “stand firmly opposed to the use of Doercrest Manor as an access to Long School.”

But district officials say the approved improvements are the best possible plan for the Long Elementary School campus.

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen is scheduled to consider Lindbergh’s request for a preliminary plat approval when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the Government Center.