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The Reserve at Wildwood set to move forward

After holding the first public hearing in February 2017, the Wildwood Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) recommended approval Oct. 5 for the 132 single-family development The Reserve at Wildwood, located on the west side of Hwy. 109, north of Manchester Road.

Layout of The Reserve at Wildwood (Source: City of Wildwood)

Payne Family Homes intends to alter the location and design of the proposed Main Street extension through the site, along with other changes to the network of internal roadways.

In addition, a change of zoning was requested from C-8 Planned Commercial and R-6A Residence District (3,000-square-foot) with a Planned Environment Unit to the amended C-8 Planned Commercial District and R-3 Residence District (10,000-square-foot) with a Planned Residential Development Overlay District.

At the Oct. 5 meeting, Joe Vujnich, director of planning, addressed the conditions added since the Sept. 21 P&Z meeting. One of those conditions was to have a grading plan that contained at least two grading phases, with no more than 25 acres in each.

Another is the modification of the design of rights-of-ways to place the bio-retention swales outside publicly-owned areas. This means the responsibility of maintenance would be deferred to the homeowners association.

The establishment of an escrow account of $45,000 will need to be set aside for the maintenance of the bio-retention swales for three years, which will be located in easements on individual private lots.

A detailed stormwater management plan must also be required to address flows off the site.

A one-lane roundabout on Manchester Road has been planned with the developer responsible for one-half the cost of its construction and the other half to be paid for by St. Louis Community College.

The developer had concerns about the added conditions.

Mike Doster, the development team’s land use attorney, said Payne Family Homes supports the commission’s request on the right-of-ways and the stormwater management items. However, he requested more flexibility in regard to porch depth and offset. Doster asked to modify the minimum depth of front porches from 6 feet to 4 feet, and that garage doors be allowed to be placed just 6 feet behind an imaginary line from the front porch across the front of the dwelling.

He explained that consumers should have options regarding the lifestyle portfolio offered by Payne Family Homes.

“This development should not be like the development to the east (Main Street Crossing), it should be transitional,” Doster said. “The site design itself is unique to St. Louis; the products should not be the same.”

Payne’s lifestyle portfolio offers approximately 80 plans not available at Main Street Crossing, he added.

“There’s a wide variety and compatibility, but they look like they belong,” he said. “We ask that the conditions reflect choices available in the lifestyle portfolio.”

The developer also does not support the proposed roundabout.

“We don’t see any reasonable nexus between the proposed development and the roundabout, and the requirement that half the cost be carried by the developer,” Doster said.

He pointed out that the HR Green traffic study did not recommend that improvement. In fact, preliminary right-of-way plans by TWM, Inc., a St. Louis engineering firm, show a crosswalk to allow pedestrian traffic to safety cross Manchester Road near Pond Elementary.

Commission member David Beattie (Ward 8) agreed that a roundabout in front of the school might not be a good idea with potential student traffic, and that a four-way stop might be a better option.

Rick Brown, director of public works, said the city is looking at a separate pedestrian crossing for students that would have flashing lights.

Mayor Jim Bowlin suggested voting on the conditions in separate motions, before voting on the entire plan.

A motion to approve both stormwater management and right-of-ways designed to place bio-retention swales outside public-owned areas was approved unanimously.

Also approved was another motion to allow five phases of grading rather than two, contingent on P&Z moving forward with the development.

A motion requiring $45,000 for maintenance of the bio-retention swales was also approved, with the city to determine if that amount needs to be raised or continued after three years. In addition, a letter of credit must be provided regarding downstream damage to properties.

Commission member Scott Jackson (Ward 6) stated that the proposed letter of credit from the developer was critical for his final vote. While he voted in favor of the maintenance escrow, Beattie voted against it.

Beattie also was the only one opposed to the motion requiring the developer to pay half the cost of the roundabout on Manchester.

Rendition of a home in The Reserve at Wildwood (Source: Payne Family Homes)

The last motion on the conditions was the architectural issue involving porches, which the commission decided cannot be less than five-and-a-half-feet in depth. But, after learning that garage door setbacks were allowed to be 15 feet from the end of the front porch, commission members Beattie, Vicki Helfrey (Ward 2) and Cindy Deppeler (Ward 5) opposed that motion.

In the area known as Town Center the city is trying to practice “New Urbanism” by bringing the front elements of the home like the front porch and front door, more toward the front of the home and deemphasizing the garage, Vujnich said.

The vote on the entire project with conditions added was approved by a vote of 7-3. Beattie, Helfrey and Deppeler were opposed.

The project will next go before the city council for a public hearing on Oct. 26.

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