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Wildhorse Village proposal moves forward despite opposition

A revised proposal for Wildhorse Village [a.k.a Downtown Chesterfield], was up for review before the Planning Commission on June 22.

The zoning petition requests to incorporate and re-zone a 0.6-acre C-8 Planned Commercial District parcel to a Planned Commercial and Residence District [PC&R] and to amend the development criteria of the ordinance.

The proposed development consists of 99.6 acres located west and southwest of the intersection of Interstate 64 and Chesterfield Parkway West. Nearly 11 acres of the site is currently being developed with The Pearl at Wild Horse Creek, a mixed-use development, and a 128-room AC Hotel.

Property owner Jeff Tegethoff, president of Pearl Capital Management, is seeking amendments for the 78-acre Planned Commercial and Residence District (PC&R) that surrounds the property’s existing lake.

Proposed amenities include a Lakefront Park with a picnic lawn, a pocket park, stepped amphitheater, a boathouse and walking trails and connections to Central and the Riparian Trail. All of which find favor with a citizen group known as Citizens for Developing Downtown Chesterfield. However, the group, which had representatives at the June 22 meeting, was not in favor of some proposed amendments that they feared would detract from the development having a Main Street or Town Square aesthetic.

Specifically, the group objected to:

  • The potential of ground floor apartments and office space along the development’s Lakefront Street.
  • The view from Chesterfield Parkway West.
  • The position and type of parking structures.
  • The preservation of trees on the site.
  • The potential for increased traffic generated by the development.
  • The density of the development and a perceived lack of green space.

It was not the first time the group had brought its concerns before the developer and the planning commission.

At a public hearing on April 27, both the planning commission and representatives from the Citizens for Developing Downtown Chesterfield group raised several issues. According to Mike Knight, assistant city planner, Pearl Capital Management, had since updated the proposal and provided a formal response to each issue raised. Knight reiterated those responses during the meeting on June 22.

Regarding the desire to see a less auto-centric, more pedestrian friendly development, the developer’s response was that Wildhorse Village provides a well-connected pedestrian sidewalk and trail system within the development that links to all public walks and trails around the perimeter of the site. Vehicular parking, while provided along Lakefront Street, is provided within centralized and convenient parking structures.

Another issue posed by the commission and residents was a desire to see retail remain on the first floor of some buildings. According to Knight, the developer said its intention is to provide retail that fronts Wild Horse Creek Road, Chesterfield Parkway West, Lakefront Street and along Lakefront Walk.

“The current governing ordinance for PC&R has requirements in which retail is required on the first floor and office and residential were only permitted on upper stories,” Knight said in a follow-up interview with West Newsmagazine. “The applicant is requesting to remove these requirements in which retail, office and residential are permitted on all stories.”

According to Knight, “Residents are willing to support removing this requirement if surface parking lots in front of buildings are not permitted and parking structures are placed behind buildings or that they are designed in such a way that they blend in with the architecture of the area. The architectural design would be one that essentially adds to the pedestrian experience (event space, office lounge or possible coffeehouse).”

Residents also were supportive of the developer’s request to delete the requirement of having 6 to 15 feet between detached buildings, except for along Lakefront Street.

According to Knight, the developer is requesting 6 to 125 feet in some areas, to accommodate substantial topographical challenges within the site and to allow “view corridors” from Wildhorse Creek Road, Chesterfield Parkway West and Lakefront Street, and 6 to 20 feet for detached residential layout.

The proposed mixed-use development is to have a mix of single-family and multi-family attached and detached residences.

While residents are in favor of the amenities mentioned above, they asked that those items be written into the ordinance to preserve their inclusion in the development.

Public amenities exhibit

Cultural features the developer has proposed include a performance terrace, viewing terraces, floating stages and gardens, and public art. Recreational features are to include a boathouse, cycling trail rest station, trail overlook, picnic lawns and pocket parks.

Although residents did not want to see buildings on both sides of Lakefront Street, the office/mixed-use areas will incorporate buildings on both sides of Main Street or Lakefront Street with engagement to the lakefront trail that encourages pedestrian interaction with the water and amenities being constructed as part of the public realm, Knight said.

The planning commission recommended approval of the requests by a vote of 8-0.

The next step for the developer is a review of the request by the Planning and Public Works Committee, which will pass its recommendation to the City Council. Knight pointed out that the council will review the ordinance language for at least two meetings before possible approval. 

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