Despite having some reservations, both the city’s planning and zoning board and the board of aldermen approved the final plat for Phase I of the Casablanca subdivision during recent meetings this month.
Both votes were unanimous. The planners vote served as a recommendation to the aldermen that they approve the development along Airport Road on the north side of St. Clair.
The planners voiced more concerns than the aldermen and discussed potential problems the subdivision may cause.
Casablanca is a high-density rental home subdivision. The overall plan is for Neal Kalishman of Boulder Development to build 168 1,280-square-foot homes on 35 acres of property.
Phase One calls for building homes on 26 lots.
“They have met all the city’s requirements for improvements,” Building Inspector Jeremy Crowe said during the planning and zoning meeting.
Preliminary plat approval came in 2006, before any of the current planners were on that board and before any of the current city administration or aldermen were in those positions.
Preliminary approval also came before the city adopted an ordinance in 2008 requiring subdivision owners to make improvements to roads impacted by the developments.
“Since they’ve met all the requirements, I think we need to move forward with this,” said Mayor Ron Blum, who filled in as planning and zoning board chairman since Myrna Turner was not at the meeting.
Only four planners attended their meeting, barely making a quorum. One of the four was Blum.
Board member Terry Gasaway said she was concerned with the increased amount of traffic there will be on Airport Road and on Highway 47 as a result of the subdivision.
Planners also expressed concern that no turn lane would be added from northbound 47 onto Airport Road.
“That’s a narrow entrance anyway,” board member Tim Hamilton said. “And then not to have a turning lane.”
Blum said he has spoken with Missouri Department of Transportation Regional Engineer Judy Wagner, and “she shares our concerns.”
“But, she isn’t sure there is any way we can make the developer upgrade anything,” he said.
There was no representative from Boulder Development at either one of the city meetings.
Planner John McGlenn said that his major concern also was increased traffic on Airport Road and Highway 47.
“But I can’t think of any legal reason why we shouldn’t approve this,” he said. “I don’t see how we can deny it.”
With that said, he made the motion to approve, and it was seconded before it unanimously passed.
The planners’ recommendation, however, notes a couple of items.
It states that the contractor is waiting for a clean bacteriological water sample to activate the water mains within the subdivision. It also states that there are certain aspects about the development the planners don’t like. But the preliminary plat was approved in 2006 with no limitations set forth for expiration, and the contractor has installed the required improvements.
“Therefore, the planning and zoning commission reluctantly requests that the board of aldermen accept the final plat as presented.”
During the most recent board of aldermen meeting, City Administrator Rick Childers said that this specific process has led the city to recognize that it needs to make clarifications to land development and subdivision ordinances.
He mentioned the time frame between the preliminary plat approval in 2006 and the final approval now eight years later.
“Is there a problem there?” Ward 1 Alderman Zach Fuchs asked.
City Attorney Kurt Voss answered the question.
“There is nothing in your ordinances that gives a time between the preliminary plat and the final plat,” he said. “Whether you like it or not, if it meets the requirements ...”
The aldermen then voted to approve the final plat.