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

SH aldermen hear Gates Manor proposal

Aldermen could not reach consensus on lot density

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen heard the first reading of five ordinances related to a development named Gates Manor Aug. 9.

Gates Manor is 4.85 acres and currently features 11 lots. The proposed new development would see the demolition of all existing structures, with the end result being 21 new lots and four stormwater basins. The homes are expected to sell for around $500,000. The five ordinances related to the development include:

• A zoning change from R-4 residential (10,000-square-foot minimum lot size) to R-5 (7,500-square-foot minimum)

• A text amendment to decrease area required for a planned development – residential

• A text amendment decreasing setback requirements in a PD-R

• Zoning change from R-5 to PD-R

• Preliminary development plan

The planning commission heard the same plan July 6 and voted unanimously to recommend denial of each ordinance to the board. The commission’s main concern was the density of the proposed neighborhood.

“Here we go again trying to change zoning to make something fit,” Commissioner Rich Gau said. “You could put 17 lots on that street … they’re trying to squeeze 21. It’s a good concept, I like the idea, I just think it’s a little too dense.”

Drew Weber, representing the petitioner, explained the reason for the density to the board Aug. 9. He said the homes are meant for people who don’t want to deal with the upkeep on large yards, and the small yards and amount of homes would keep lawn care costs down, putting a smaller chunk of the price on each home. Weber estimated a full neighborhood would set costs to about $250 a month.

Aldermen were in support of something being built on the somewhat dilapidated property, but couldn’t agree on if the density of the proposal was acceptable. Since the proposal was only up for a first reading at the meeting, the board did not have to take a vote just yet.

Also discussed at the meeting was the city’s new unified development ordinance. The UDO addresses zoning districts and other planning aspects that could affect the development. Without knowing about the UDO beforehand, Weber said the petitioner would need the month to look it over and ensure it didn’t change any requirements, instead of sending the development to the planning commission for the same reason.

The board voted to postpone the ordinances for the time being to allow the petitioner to think things over and resubmit if needed.

Without a clear preference given to petitioners regarding support or lack thereof the 21-home density, the conversation turned to seeking a consensus.

“I would say 21 would be my point as one alderman, because lacking an alternative, I’d like to see something go through,” Ward 4 Alderman Fred Daues said. “We have the third go-around here on something our residents would like to see.”

There was no clear consensus, but 17 and 19 homes were discussed as potential densities. 

The board will see the petition at a future meeting. 

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