Neighbors oppose subdivision proposed on Wells Road

New soccer facility proposed near Green Park, Avenue H

By Gloria Lloyd

Eight residents opposed a subdivision proposed for the east side of Wells Road, roughly 350 feet south of Sunset Oaks Lane, during a county Planning Commission hearing last week.

Pinnacle Land Development LLC is requesting a Planned Environment Unit procedure in an R-2 15,000-square-foot Residence District for the 12.1-acre site bordered by Wells Road, the Sunset Oaks neighborhood and the Park Royale subdivision.

The company has been developing property in the St. Louis area for more than 15 years, said its representative at the Sept. 16 hearing, Steve Gower.

The developer proposes 25 single-family residences for “The Enclaves at Quail Creek.” The houses will be “of similar price and size to those in surrounding neighborhoods,” Gower noted.

The site’s current R-2 zoning allows 35 homes to be built on the site, 10 more than Pinnacle is proposing, he added.

Pinnacle plans to leave a third of the acreage for common ground and green space in the subdivision. Houses will range from 2,200 to 3,300 square feet on 10,000- to 18,000-square-foot lots and sell for $350,000 to $500,000.

Most of the houses will have three-car garages, and some will have two-car garages. Residents will enter through a single entry off Wells Road, directly adjacent to Amber Way Drive.

Pinnacle officials met with the county Department of Highways and Traffic, which determined that the subdivision will not generate enough traffic to prompt any improvements to Wells Road.

Of the eight nearby residents who spoke against the subdivision, some noted that they do not necessarily oppose the plan itself, but do not want the subdivision to affect wildlife or worsen traffic.

Wells Road has two S-turns, and cars regularly speed by at 50 to 60 mph, ignoring the county’s posted speed limit signs, residents said.

“(Wells Road) today is not very safe,” said Ray Schultz, a Sunset Oaks resident. “This is an opportunity for the commission and the highway department to step up and correctly design and manage access on Wells Road and Tesson Ferry Road …

“If you look in the records, there have been multiple accidents along Wells Road … and I think the road needs to be improved as a precondition before the developer can do anything.”

In Pinnacle’s rebuttal, Gower said the traffic generated by the subdivision will be minimal compared to overall traffic numbers on Wells Road.

Several neighbors noted how much they enjoy the animals on their property and the proposed site of the subdivision and wondered what would happen to that wildlife.

Neighbor Tim McGill noted that the property is part of a connecting green space that wildlife uses to travel to the neighborhood from the Meramec River, and he would hate to see animals that have traveled through for years have to travel through people’s yards. At one point, the green space will be connected only through a single house’s backyard, according to the plans.

“They’re still going to move to and from the river in the spaces they’ve been moving all these years, and I’d hate to see them restricted to going through people’s yards,” he said. “If that yard were to be fenced, it would completely close off the green space. I was wondering if there are any plans to keep fences from being built all the way back to the boundary line of the lots being proposed.”

Many of the existing trees will remain and not be cut down, which will allow the animals that are there to stay, or they can live on the “thousands and thousands of acres of (nearby) park ground,” Gower said.

“In response to the concerns about wildlife … it’s going to be a green area and there will be no fences around the detention pond,” he noted. “If the wildlife feels it can pass there, it can certainly continue to do so.”

Regarding questions about potential blasting of bedrock near the proposed detention pond, Gower said Pinnacle has not yet decided whether it will blast, but it would have to notify the neighbors and monitor seismic activity if it did.

A nonbinding show of hands taken after the hearing indicated that eight people were in favor of the subdivision plans and 17 were opposed.

New soccer facility

At the same meeting, Green Park Soccer presented plans for an indoor soccer facility southwest of the intersection of Green Park Road and Avenue H, north of Avenue H and south of Grant’s Trail.

The nonprofit group is seeking a conditional-use permit in the M-1 Industrial District and FPM-1 Flood Plain Industrial District for the 6.4-acre tract, on a lot that is currently vacant. Plans for the facility call for relocating the adjoining section of Grant’s Trail to build an entry between the trail and the property next door on Green Park Road, said Gail Choate, county land-use manager. Fencing will separate the facility from the rebuilt trail.

Green Park Soccer is a nonprofit organization that wants to get children away from their computers and into a more active lifestyle through sports, said Nick Sinanovic of Green Park Soccer.

“We’re enthusiasts about soccer, and the World Cup is coming up so we believe that the sport of soccer is going to grow, and it has grown,” he said. “In south county, there’s been a need for soccer facilities … Any sport that promotes activities is a good way to get youth involved and promote character.”

The Lemay redevelopment plan calls for an indoor soccer facility, noted attorney Nedim Ramic. The organization will keep the facility family oriented, with no liquor sales.

The developer still has to conduct soil analysis and environmental studies at the site, he added.

No one spoke in opposition to the facility at the hearing.