The Pacific Planning and Zoning Commission got its first look at the first major subdivision proposed for the city since the housing slump of 2007.
Stonebridge Custom Homes wants to develop a 133-lot subdivision at 2503 Old Gray Summit Road on a 55-acre parcel immediately west of Ridge Meadows subdivision.
The developer presented a preliminary plat Tuesday for Stonebridge subdivision and sought a zone change on the property from non-urban (NU) to planned unit development (PUD).
The property is located outside the city limits, but Elizabeth and David Amelotti, property owners, have submitted an application to voluntarily annex the site into the city.
If the project receives final approval, Mike and Rob Lawless, Valley Park, would layout the first section of lots and build the homes.
Lawless constructed Silver Lakes subdivision, the city’s first 100-plus home development in the 1990s.
The size of the Stonebridge homes will range from 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet, according to Mike Lawless. Lots would range in size from 10,000 square feet to 17,500 square feet.
Cost of the homes is yet to be determined. The market and cost of construction at the time of construction would determine the cost of each home, but it’s estimated that they would start in the range of $250,000.
This worried some residents who live in larger, more expensive homes in the adjoining subdivision.
Robert Tucker, 909 Sierra Ridge, said Lawless builds good homes, but he’s concerned about the size of the lots in the new subdivision.
“My house appraised for $292,000 and my lot is 2,200 square feet,” Tucker said. “I’m concerned with these little lots.”
Other residents had concerns about maintenance of the development if cleared lots take several seasons to sell.
Lawless said the builders would not clear the entire site, which had been the practice in earlier subdivisions, but would clear only one section at a time.
“We might also turn to other builders to construct part of the homes,” Lawless said. “We’ve done that in other subdivisions.”
The condition and traffic on Old Gray Summit also worried some speakers.
Bill Devine said Old Gray Summit Road from the city limits west has absolutely no base under it and would not accommodate the heavy concrete and equipment trucks needed to construct the subdivision and homes.
Commissioners agreed that improvements will have to be made to the road at some time, but reached no conclusion on when rebuilding should take place and who would pay for it.
The city plans to annex the section of Old Gray Summit Road to the end of the development.
“I’ve traveled on the road all my life and I know that beneath the asphalt is nothing but Meramec River gravel,” said Linda Bruns, P&Z commission chair.
Other commissioners had concerns with the preliminary plat.
The toughest challenge for some commissioners is the developer’s plan for 6-foot side yard setbacks, which would allow 12 feet between homes.
The city building code requires a minimum of 10-foot side setbacks, allowing 20 feet between homes.
Commissioner Mike Bates said he would have a hard time relieving the developer of the 10-foot side setback requirement, but he asked City Administrator Steve Roth to review recent subdivision projects in Eureka and the surrounding area to see if builders were using the smaller setbacks.
“Maybe it’s time to change our codes,” Bates said.
Commissioners also voiced concerns about the request for narrower streets within the development than allowed by city code.
The developer is seeking 40-foot road right of way with 26-foot-wide pavement, which is less than the city code requirement of 50-foot right of way with 30-foot-side pavement.
Local Realtor Stephen Flannery III spoke in favor of the development, saying the housing market is changing more rapidly than the number of available houses for sale.
Flannery cited several large subdivisions that are currently being developed in neighboring Eureka.
“There is four months of inventory in our market,” he said. “If no more new homes were built in our area in four months there would be no homes to buy.”
Flannery said there are presently 59 homes for sale not under contract in Meramec Valley R-III School District and in Pacific there are only 21 homes for sale.
There are 107 lots available in the school district and 37 lots available in the Pacific city limits.
“There is a shortage of homes,” Flannery said. “Enticing folks to come out to this direction and build homes makes us an ideal lotion for this future growth and development.”
The developers need approval of the preliminary plat before moving forward with a final plat and eventual construction.
Rather than vote the development down, Linda Bruns, P&Z chair, suggested that commissioners and the developer think about their respective opinions and discuss the application in two weeks.