PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Grace Holdings Independence, LLC (hereafter Grace) seeks to rezone 15+ acres of this property from C-2 (General Commercial) to O-1 (Office Residential).
O-1 (Office Residential)
Commercial pad sites, apartments, offices
Total acreage – 27.45+/-
Rezoning acreage – 15.20+/-
BACKGROUND & HISTORY:
This entire 27+ acre tract was rezoned to C-2 in 2005 as part of the Trinity Woods project that encompassed multiple acres on the southeast quadrant of Interstate 70 and Little Blue Parkway. Projects constructed as part of this development include the Corner Café, Drury Inn, Children’s Mercy East, Cedarhurst Senior Living. Since the project was approved, all of the development has occurred north of Valley View Parkway and the land south of Valley View has remained vacant.
Grace seeks to rezone the southern 15+ acres of the property to O-1 to construct an apartment complex, the remaining 12 acres will retain its C-2 zoning for retail pad sites and office building/complex. Preliminary plans propose 240 apartment units, in a combination of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms units. The complex will also feature amenities such as a clubhouse, a pool, a dog park, and an amphitheater.
A preliminary plat application has also been submitted and is being review concurrently with the rezoning application. The preliminary plat proposes to divide the property into 6 lots with the largest lot for the multifamily project.
Consistency with Independence for All, Strategic Plan:
With the recent approval of another apartment complex near this site, this project will provide additional units to fill a market need for this level of housing in this area of the city.
Comprehensive Plan Guiding Land Use Principles:
The Imagine Independence 2040 Comprehensive Plan identifies the area as mixed use. This category is intended to accommodate a mix of medium and high-density housing with office, commercial and institutional uses. A guiding principle of the Comprehensive Plan is to encourage the concept of mixed use development. The proposed uses for this site would include a blend of retail, office, and medium
Recommendations and decisions on rezoning applications must be based on consideration of all of the following criteria:
1. Conformance of the requested zoning with the Comprehensive Plan.
The plan recommends Mixed Use for this site; this entire project will contain a mixture of medium-density residential, office and commercial uses.
2. Conformance of the requested zoning with any adopted neighborhood or sub-area plans in which the property is located or abuts.
There are no recent neighborhood or sub-area plans for this area.
3. The compatibility of the proposed zoning with the zoning and use of nearby property, including any overlay zoning.
There are a variety of uses in the area, including multi-family residential, office, commercial and institutional uses. The development proposes to rezone the southern portion of the property to O-1, which is intended to accommodate a mix of office and residential uses. Generally, commercial properties in the quadrant are zoned C-2 and used accordingly; there is R-18/PUD zoning on the properties to the south, west and northwest. The O-1 zoning is compatible with the zoning of the surrounding properties.
4. The compatibility of the proposed zoning and allowed uses with the character of the neighborhood.
The proposed zoning and uses are compatible with the zoning and uses in both Eastland Center to the west and the Trinity project to the north. Both of these developments are mix of retail, office, and medium-density residential uses that mirrors the potential uses planned for this development. Additionally, the O-1 zoning and allowed uses would be compatible with the existing churches to the south of Valley View Road and northwest of Little Blue Parkway.
5. The suitability of the subject property for the uses to which it has been restricted under the existing zoning regulations.
The current C-2 zoning doesn’t allow for multifamily uses; the proposed O-1 zoning is the only commercial district that allows for multifamily as well as offices uses.
6. The length of time the subject property has remained vacant as zoned.
The property has remained vacant since it was cleared for development over 14 years ago.
7. The extent to which approving the rezoning will detrimentally affect nearby properties.
Development of this mixed use project is not expected to have any detrimental effect and may increase the value of neighboring properties.
8. The gain, if any, to the public health, safety and welfare due to denial of the application, as compared to the hardship imposed upon the landowner, if any, as a result of denial of the application.
If the property is rezoned to the desired O-1 zoning and the multifamily constructed, it could have a positive impact on the public health, safety, and welfare. If denied, the property could continue to remain vacant.
Planning Commission Action: At its October 8, 2019 Planning Commission meeting, the motion for approval passed 5-0, after consideration of the following facts:
- That, the rezoning is consistent with the review criteria listed in Section 14-701-02 of the City Code.
- That, a public hearing was held pursuant to a notice duly published according to law, at which time all interested parties were given the full opportunity to be heard.
- That, the proposed O-1 (Office-Residential) zoning allows the following uses: retail, office, restaurants, banks, daycare centers, grocery stores, government facilities, churches, schools, colleges and universities, and medical services.
- That, the current C-2 (General Commercial) zoning allows the following uses: retail, office, restaurants, banks, hotels, daycare centers, nursing homes, government facilities, churches, employment agencies, schools, colleges and universities, veterinary and animal boarding services, sports and entertainment facilities, and medical services.
- That, at the Planning Commission hearing, the members of the applicant’s group spoke in favor of the application, but no one spoke against the proposed rezoning.
- That, the proposed project is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan’s recommended land use of ‘Mixed Uses’ for the site.
- That, no protest petition was submitted in opposition to the application.
Draft Planning Commission Meeting minutes:
"Stuart Borders stated there would be one presentation for the two cases on the agenda. He noted they will be voted on separately.
Case #19-100-12 – Rezoning – Southeast corner, Little Blue Parkway and Valley View Parkway
Case #19-310-04 – Preliminary Plat – Grace Subdivision
Stuart Borders presented the case. Mr. Borders presented the Commission with a vicinity map, noting the area and surrounding zoning. He presented the Commission with an aerial map indicating the project area and explained the surrounding land uses. Mr. Borders went over proposed conditions on the preliminary plat.
In response to Chairman Ashbaugh’s question, City Engineer Katie Horner stated the traffic engineer has spent a lot of time reviewing the traffic impact studies submitted by the applicant. Ms. Horner explained instead of yellow striping at the intersection, there would be a left turn lane. Ms. Horner explained where this intersection is located on the plat.
Chairman Ashbaugh asked what would determine if a light should need installed. Ms. Horner stated there are national standards that determine when a traffic light is needed. She stated the City will put in a light when certain conditions are met. Ms. Horner stated they are comfortable with this project and there would not be a traffic signals at this time.
Douglas Stone, attorney with Lewis Rice, representing the applicant, stated he’s available for any questions.
Joshuah Barcus, Associate Engineer with Stock and Associates provided an updated plat with the proposed left turn lane that Ms. Horner outlined.
In response to Chairman Ashbaugh’s question, Mr. Barcus explained where Valley View Parkway and Valley View Road intersect. Mr. Barcus stated the existing island on Valley View Parkway would be finished and two lanes would continue to exist. Mr. Barcus stated currently there is one left turn lane, one through lane and one right turn lane on Little Blue Parkway.
Mr. Stone presented an updated color plat and discussed where they have planned the apartment buildings, clubhouse, amphitheater and a dog park.
Commissioner McClain asked if there are any plans for a bicycle trail. Tim Reese, the Developer with Grace Holdings stated they have a trail planned in the center of the site and intend to have a pedestrian friendly community.
In response to Chairman Ashbaugh’s question, Mr. Reese stated the target rent is $1.50 per square foot, so a 1000 square-foot apartment would be $1,500 a month. Mr. Reese stated his company has completed three projects in the St. Louis area. He noted those projects were single building projects but will have similar amenities.
There were no public comments.
Commissioner Preston made a motion to approve Case #19-100-12 – Rezoning – Southeast corner, Little Blue Parkway and Valley View Parkway, as presented. Commissioner Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion passed with five affirmative votes.
Commissioner Preston made a motion to approve Case #19-310-04 – Preliminary Plat – Grace Subdivision, as presented with conditions. Commissioner Wiley seconded the motion. The motion passed with five affirmative votes."