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Residents voice concern over multi-family developments in Wildwood

Both Wildwood residents and the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission members have concerns about a proposed multi-family development at the northeast corner of Turkey Track Road and Generations Drive, west of Hwy. 109. The development would be located near both the Wildwood YMCA and St. Louis Community College campus.

Aerial view of the proposed development site [Source: Google Earth]

At a public hearing during the June 15 P&Z meeting, George Stock, of Stock & Associates, said the developer is seeking to build 116 one- and two-bedroom units within a 10-building layout, along with a community building/leasing office and pool house. The plan provides for 29% green space. An earlier plan for 117 units was changed to 116 units to allow for 1,000 square feet of office space in one of the buildings for tenants, Stock said.

According to Stock, the development would have 22 garage parking spaces and 144 surface spaces as well as a sidewalk system on Crescent Street that would connect to a multi-use trail along Hwy. 109.

Access is proposed via a newly constructed Crescent Street, which connects to Generations Drive on the west and Turkey Track to the south. Access onto Hwy. 109 would be provided via Turkey Track [right-out access only] or via New College Avenue, which is signalized.

P&Z member Edward Kohn asked about the proposed number of parking spaces, which were determined to be 1.42 spaces per unit.

Developer Rob Coleman, CEO of Earnest R. Coleman [ERC] of Arkansas, said that one space per bedroom was the metric used to determine adequate parking.

The developer is seeking rezoning of the 4.31-acre parcel from NU Non­Urban Residence District to C-8 Planned Commercial District.

Residents who completed online surveys indicated that getting in and out of the Westridge Oaks subdivision is already challenging since Hwy. 109 is a major pass-through to Interstate 64. Likewise, residents of the Meadows of Wildwood stressed that traffic was already bad on Generations Drive and New College Avenue when college is in session and that the streets could not handle the volume of traffic the development would add.

At the meeting, Sheelah Yawitz, representing the Meadows of Wildwood, said residents there are concerned about the traffic increase, due to what they consider high-density proposed apartments.

“We’re a senior community,” Yawitz said. “Some of our fellow neighbors have needed to use the fire department and the ambulance, and we are concerned about their ability to get in and out on a timely basis.”

Stock noted that a traffic study prepared by Lochmueller Group recommended improvements at New College Avenue and Hwy. 109. But resident spokespersons indicated that they believed the traffic study was misleading and did not reflect accurate peak traffic counts.

A petition with signatures from 90 residents of the Meadows of Wildwood opposing the proposed multi-family development was submitted to the commission.

“We think this proposal is the opposite of everything we love about Wildwood,” Yawitz said.

Jerry Perales said the development directly impacts Westridge Oaks, which has just one access into and out of the neighborhood.

“We have a bottleneck at the very front of our subdivision,” Perales said. “With 109 being a pass-through to Hwy. 64, it really affects us a lot.”

He urged the commission not to make Hwy. 109 any busier than it already is.

Paul Zinck, vice-chancellor of finance and administration at STLCC, which owns the parcel, said the development would provide tax revenue to the city and college. He noted that the college has no alternate planned use for the land, which was listed for sale in 2011. In the ensuing years, the college had not been able to secure a buyer.

No vote was taken at the meeting.

Commission Chair Michael Lee asked that the petitioner seek additional information regarding the traffic study.

Joe Vujnich, Wildwood’s director of planning, said the egress situation with Westridge Oaks would be difficult to address, but the public works department, along with the developer and traffic consultant, would further investigate the traffic concerns.

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