Trakas says he plans to advance bill approving McManus’ zoning request

Affton resident questioning appropriateness of rezoning

Ernie Trakas

Photo by Clark Woolsey

Ernie Trakas

By Gloria Lloyd

After months of blocking McManus Construction’s move from Affton to Oakville, 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-Oakville, was set to advance the company’s zoning legislation this week.

The construction company owned by Rob McManus has been seeking amended rezoning to move to the former Tee Time Family Fun Center at 4631 Lemay Ferry Road since March.

But Trakas told the Call that he would move to perfect the McManus rezoning at the County Council’s scheduled meeting Tuesday night — after the Call went to press. Final approval could come as soon as next Tuesday.

The move comes in the wake of the county Planning Commission’s unanimous re-approval of the McManus rezoning on July 10. Trakas worked to send the plans back to the panel after discovering that the initial plans did not include a salt-storage structure used by McManus’ other business, SnowPro, which sells snow-removal equipment and supplies.

Trakas has given various reasons for opposing the move, including too much heavy-truck traffic on Lemay Ferry, the company not fitting into the neighborhood and eventually, the zoning application not including salt and chemical storage.

Despite months of misgivings, however, Trakas pledged to not only move to perfect the McManus rezoning but vote for it and move it to final passage.

“I don’t know that this is about support or opposition, it’s about where circumstances are now,” Trakas said.

The planning panel reconsidered the rezoning request without another public hearing. At the first public hearing on McManus’ latest rezoning request in February, Trakas was the only member of the public opposed.

“We can wonder why, under the process as it currently exists, the Planning Commission, without holding another public hearing concerning the newly disclosed uses for the property, can simply reiterate its recommended approval with seemingly little due diligence,” Trakas said in a statement.

But since that is the process in place, he will move the plan forward, he added.

Neighbors of Tee Time have overwhelmingly supported the project, and 53 have signed a petition in favor. For weeks in May, the closest neighbors and the owner of Show-Me Lanes Bowling Center next to the site attended the council to voice their support.

But resident Lynn LeBaube, who lives six miles away in Affton, has avidly opposed the project and attended nearly every council meeting for months to speak against it.

In a call to action, LeBaube wrote, “When is the last time you saw an industrial business such as this operate off a state highway in south county? … We will live in the middle of an industrial court if you don’t take action now.”

Another construction company, Fenix Construction, has operated next door to the Tee Time site for years.

McManus says his companies have outgrown their previous location at 4100 Seibert Avenue in Affton, and the Tee Time site gives him more space to expand his business of 30 years.

“Tucked away on top of a hill, the property does not lend itself to a strip mall or retail venture,” McManus said in his revised zoning application.

After Tee Time fell into disrepair the last few years, McManus “plans to turn this eyesore into its new headquarters,” McManus’ application said. “Because of its secluded hilltop location, there will be no noise or light pollution. In effect, the business will be largely unnoticeable.”