UPDATED: Sunset Hills P&Z recommend denial of Court Drive redevelopment

Pulte, Despotis seeking rezoning for 20 villas, credit union

UPDATED: Sunset Hills P&Z recommend denial of Court Drive redevelopment

By Gloria Lloyd

In what has become a regular occurrence lately for the Sunset Hills Planning and Zoning Commission, the panel again recommended that aldermen deny the latest proposed development at Court Drive Wednesday night.

Pulte Homes is proposing a mixed-use development on Court Drive, combining a new neighborhood of 20 attached single-family villas with a new First Community Credit Union to be built on property owned by Des Peres developer Dr. George Despotis.

The planning panel voted to recommend denial of the four separate zoning requests in the proposal 7-2, with members Steve Young and Bill Hopfinger opposed.

For years, the tornado-damaged Court Drive residential neighborhood has been targeted for commercial development by Despotis because of its prime location along South Lindbergh Boulevard. But residents have fought back against the commercialization of their neighborhood and have called for houses to be built instead.

They appeared to gain a victory when Despotis dropped plans for a large-scale development with a grocery store in favor of the credit union, but residents point to a city task force that concluded the best use for the site was residential.

Last month, Pulte got a mixed response when it presented its concept plan for the development to the Planning Commission.

Commission member Young said he appreciated the developer’s efforts, but Chairman Terry Beiter and other panel members were more hesitant to sign on to the concept, noting that the commission recently adopted the city’s new Comprehensive Plan, even modifying the original plan presented by consultant Houseal Lavigne to ensure the area stays residential.

“We just spent $100,000 on a plan that says this area is residential,” Beiter told Matt Segal of Pulte Homes.