Single Silt Fence a Concern

Concerned residents say a single silt fence will not be enough to capture mud and stormwater when heavy rains blanket this recently cleared hillside on Hogan Road. Tree harvesting at the site is part of the preparation for development of Dogwood Plaza, a new hotel, restaurant, retail development.  Missourian Photo.

Pacific citizens like the idea of a hotel, restaurant and retail plaza on Hogan Road, but say stormwater runoff from the cleared hillside and traffic on the congested road could bring trouble.

Chad Neal, Orchid Development, wants to develop Dogwood Plaza, a 25-acre commercial development and an adjoining 44-townhome project adjacent to the plaza.

The development would initially include a 200-room Best Western motel, one national restaurant, two additional restaurants and space for retail stores.

The developer wants the city to create a commercial improvement district (CID) to rebate a 1-cent special sales tax to the development to help pay for infrastructure.

Orchid Development has a contract to purchase the Lamar Investment Capital LLC if the CID is created.

Eric Winchell, CID consultant and spokesman for the developer, said over a 25-year period, the CID tax could generate 2 to $3 million to aid the development, which would accompany $5 to $6 million in new taxes for the city.

Neighbors of the project filled city hall for a required public hearing on the creation of the CID.

Bill McLaren, whose family owns property directly north of the new development, said stormwater is the biggest challenge facing the new project.

McLaren said although the proposed plaza is on 25 acres, the entire site is 53 acres. He said clearing currently underway will change the runoff significantly.

“There will be a lot of water coming off this site into Brush Creek,” he said. “It’s critically important that the planned detention pond be designed for 53 acres and goes in as the first part of the project.”

McLaren said a single silt fence on one cleared section would not be adequate once heavy rains arrive.

Public Works Commissioner Robert Brueggemann said he has stopped the clearing until the developer submits a plan and is issued a grading permit.

Alderman Carol Johnson said she wants assurances that there would no more grading without a permit.

“What I see is a silt fence in place and grading going on,” Johnson said. “What I need from you right now is assurance that you will not move any more land until you get in compliance with the city.”

Neal said he is working on a grading plan and has ceased clearing. He has cleared land adjacent to his Dogwood Plaza for property owner Bud Lamar and had an option to buy additional property adjacent to his development.

Alderman Andy Nemeth said he’s concerned about the amount of traffic that would be generated by the hotel, restaurants and shops.

“Has there been any consideration to traffic control at Thornton Road?” Nemeth asked.

Neal said a traffic study is currently being done. He said he’s working with MoDOT and there is a possibility of widening Hogan Road.

“We’re studying that,” he said.

Nemeth said he’s not against the project.

“If all this shows up it will be awesome,” he said. “But we need to be cognizant of what we’re doing so we don’t make more problems.”