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McDonald’s on Olive Boulevard seeks zoning change pursuant to renovations

By CATHY LENNY

McDonald’s is planning to make renovations to its operation at 13559 Olive Blvd., that include a second drive-through lane. The property, located north of Olive and west of its intersection with North Woods Mill Road, has a lot size of just .86 acres.

Farnsworth Group engineer Bob Polk
Farnsworth Group engineer Bob Polk speaking on behalf of the McDonald’s restaurant at 13559 Olive Blvd. at the Chesterfield City Council meeting on Oct. 23.

In July, following a public hearing on the matter, a letter was submitted to the city from the neighboring Woodsmill Pointe condominiums stating a list of concerns that included potential noise, lighting and hours of operation. At its Sept. 23 meeting, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission further discussed the location of the restaurant’s trash enclosure relative to its parking, possible congestion with double lanes of traffic, the restaurant’s hours of operation and on-site lighting. At that meeting, a representative from Woodsmill Pointe stated that all of their concerns have been resolved.

The commission, then, recommended approval with a couple of modifications.

But when the Planning and Public Works Committee met and discussed the petition on Oct. 10, a list of five “green sheet” amendments were added, including:
• A 6-foot screening fence to be installed along the northern property line. The required fencing is not in lieu of landscaping but should be designed to enhance the required buffer.
• A 6-foot screening fence to be installed along the western property line for approximately 140 feet from the northern property line. Again, the required fencing is not in lieu of landscaping.
• Removal of the existing non-conforming pole sign due to modification of the minimum setbacks from residential properties.
• Non-security lighting cannot be on earlier than 30 minutes prior to opening and no later than 11:30 p.m.
• Cross-access is required to all adjacent properties.

The committee recommended approval with the five amendments by a vote of 3-0.

Then, at the Oct. 23 city council meeting, Farnsworth Group engineer Bob Polk, said he was surprised to learn of the additional requirements as he believed the nearby subdivision owners were satisfied with the changes that had been made previously.

“They came to the planning commission and said they were happy with the results,” Polk said.

Representing McDonald’s USA LLC, Polk asked for relief from the screening requirements, stating there were already fences buffering the residential properties. Since there are no windows facing south toward McDonald’s that would negate the need for a second screening on the northern end, Polk said. The west side of the property backs up to the Woodsmill Pointe clubhouse and swimming pool, which are also screened, he added.

“Two fences would simply create a ‘no man’s land,’” Polk said. 

Council member Barbara McGuinness [Ward 1] pointed out that it was the developer’s responsibility to provide screening, not the homeowners.

Council member Mary Monachella [Ward 1] agreed, stating that uniform screening would look better and it would help the neighbors on both sides.

However, council member Tom DeCampi [Ward 4] said he believes that two fences would be redundant and said he knows the challenges that businesses face.

Polk also asked that the pole sign be allowed to remain or a decision held off until a complete sign package is submitted, as removal of it would mean less visibility to the traveling public.

The only resident who spoke at the meeting was JoAnn Smith, who stated she wanted to make sure that a sound barrier was provided.

Councilman Michael Moore [Ward 2] said he was tired of the “pity party” he was hearing from McDonald’s and believes the corporation has plenty of money to make the changes.

As part of the process, McDonald’s is requesting a zoning change for the commercial district that would allow for the renovations and the double drive-through lane.

The council did a first reading on the zoning change at the council meeting.

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