Several other sites on Telegraph more suitable for senior complex

To the editor:

St. Louis County enacted special rules and exceptions for the site where Ohio-based National Church Residences is constructing an apartment complex for the elderly in Oakville that is funded with a $6 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, grant.

There are minimum-footage-easement waivers, maximum-height-of-structure waivers — from a maximum of 40 feet to 42 feet —and a building-story waiver — from a maximum of two stories to three stories.

This 1.44-acre site at 6050 Telegraph Road will have a huge 45-unit building with an 86-person occupancy permit. Parking availability has been waived from 1.5 spaces per unit to 0.75 spaces per unit.

This is completely inadequate.

Many other issues were never considered when our officials in Clayton decided to allow this project without Oakville’s knowledge or right to due process of law by notification.

Some of the other concerns which Oakvillians could have presented to our County Council were: Safety concerns for future residents due to lack of access to grocery and drug stores because of heavy traffic on Telegraph Road, and, at this time, a waiver of sidewalks in front of the property.

The nearest grocery stores are more than one mile north of the site. The nearest drug store is one block away, but seniors will have to cross five lanes of traffic at the intersection of Erb Road with heavy traffic coming off it, in addition to no crosswalk or electric crossing light for pedestrians.

The nearest public transportation — a Metro bus stop — is one mile north of the site.

Then there’s the lack of room on paved areas for emergency vehicles — fire trucks and ambulances — to turn around or to gain access to the proposed building in case of emergencies.

At a June 7 town-hall meeting sponsored by 6th District County Councilman Steve Stenger, county Department of Planning land-use manager Gail Choate stated emphatically — no less than four times — that no senior, even meeting the age requirement of 62, would ever be permitted to submit an application for approval to get into one of these units, let alone move into one, if they were disabled in any way.

This is not what this building is about.

When furthered questioned, she reiterated that if anyone was or became wheelchair bound, any developed any health problem preventing them from walking from the first, second or third stories of the building to outside, they would be excluded from residency.

This flies in the face of HUD requiring all projects funded by it to be disability accessible and friendly.

So if you’re asking: What’s the big deal?

It’s this: In my opinion, laws have been broken in the worst-case scenario or bent at the least.

This is a 1.44-acre plot of land, far too small for 45 units, which could allow up to 86 people to live in it, according to maximum housing specs. This unit is far too large for the plot of ground it’s going on. There are several other plots on Telegraph Road that are far more suitable than this one.

If you ask me, this entire process — from start to finish — stinks like month-old rotten fish in July.