A request for a sidewalk variance for the new Scenic Regional Library building in Union was denied by the parks, buildings, development and public service committee this week.

Dave Van Leer with Cochran, the engineer for the project, presented the site plan to the committee on behalf of the library.

A new building is set to break ground in the coming months on ground near Pasta House off Highway 47. Bids will go out in April and construction will begin shortly after.

The area in question is the portion of Union Plaza Drive that’s being extended off Independence Drive to the library, Van Leer explained.

A letter from Steve Campbell, library director, said the request was being made because none of the adjacent roadways, including Union Plaza Drive, Independence Drive or Highway 47, have sidewalks.

“A sidewalk constructed along Union Plaza Drive at the library’s frontage will serve little benefit to the city or library and is an unnecessary cost to the library,” the letter states.

City Administrator Russell Rost said that the reason there aren’t sidewalks in front of Pasta House is because the building and nearby strip mall was constructed when there was a moratorium on sidewalks, which has since been eliminated.

One option could be to have both the library and Pasta House construct sidewalks in the future under an assessment vote, Rost said, adding that the other, likely more economical option, is to build the sidewalks now.

He noted that a public library will encourage traffic from pedestrians, bicycles and children.

Alderman Paul Arand said that the library is a destination spot and he’d like to see sidewalks in the original construction. Others agreed.

Rost said he would like to see the city add sidewalks in the near future in front of Pasta House to extend to Independence Drive.

“If Independence continues to develop and sidewalks come down there, we would have at least that much already done,” he said.

Sidewalks run on the north side of Independence.

Van Leer said the library isn’t opposed to sidewalks if the city’s plan is to connect to other sidewalks.

The board of aldermen will have final say on the request, but typically honors the recommendations of the committees.

Background

The Warrenton and St. Clair branches have additions underway, while the Sullivan, New Haven, Owensville, Pacific and Warren County branches all are getting new buildings.

In 2014, voters in Franklin, Warren and Gasconade counties approved a 10-cent tax rate increase to fund the projects.

The increased funding also has helped update technology options and provide more services to library patrons, as well as increase materials and expand service hours.