By Kathy Schweikert, Lake St. Louis Mayor
There have been many rumors circulating about the Lake Saint Louis Comprehensive Plan as it relates to the old “Uptown District” by I-70 and the dam. I’m sorry that several of our business owners in this area were worried that based on some “conceptual” pictures and statements made, the City was going to come in and condemn their buildings, tear them down and rebuild new structures. First, the entire Comprehensive Plan is just a plan, and any zoning changes and capital improvements would need to be approved by Planning & Zoning (zoning) and the Board of Aldermen (zoning & capital/budget expenses). Second, the City does not tear down buildings and rebuild – it is entirely up to the property owner if they desire to sell their lot or building to someone else. The City does not get involved in any real estate transactions between any two parties. Third, we value our local businesses and many in the Uptown District have been here for years – Lake St. Louis Jewelers, Green China, Lake St. Louis Banquet Center, Dad’s, In-Look Salon – to name a few – we hope our residents continue to do business here.
How/Why was the conceptual plan developed? Comments from the on-line Comprehensive Plan survey and the first Open House had several residents saying they would like to see some enhancements for the old I-70 District, and this rendering was a concept on what the area could look like if property owners wished it to be. The Uptown area, as well as Edgewater Point with the copper top building and the CA property, as well as vacant land across from Family Video was designated as the Downtown Overlay District in late 2008/early 2009 time frame before I was on the Board of Aldermen. Originally on Edgewater Point a developer proposed a 6 story, 60 unit condo complex. The property has since been purchased by the Community Association. Myself and several other residents voiced concerns over these condos, as well as the heights & residential density of the district. At one time heights were up to 6-10 stories and 382 condos/apartments were allowed. Through this involvement, that Board reduced residential to 200 units and heights to 4 stories, and denied the Edgewater Condos as originally submitted. Many residents were then elated when the CA purchased Edgewater Point! So, this zoning has been in place for 8-9 years, and not one developer has come forward to build an apartment/condo, office, or any other structure in this area. Even in the 2008/2009 time frame, property owners would need to have made the decision to sell – there was no mandate from the City.
I also wish to clarify rumors on the Meadows – the Meadows owners have approached the City of their interest to have residential apartments there to compliment their retail. Currently there are no immediate plans and the zoning has not been changed. In addition, the Meadows owners have partnered with United Services for the Midwest Children’s Museum (Meadows donating the land) – pending donations coming in to build it. The Meadows feels these two projects will bring additional vitality to the center. Also, the Midwest Children’s Museum will be built, maintained and operated through donations – the City is not funding the construction or operations, but we are excited to be the home of the museum. The City has committed to build an adjacent City park if the museum is built – the majority of residents commenting on the Comprehensive Plan said they would like to see the Meadows as our town center.
There are many positive items in the City Comprehensive Plan, and we encourage both business owners and residents to provide on-line comments by August 26th. We will also have another public hearing at the September 7th Planning & Zoning meeting, and the October 5th P&Z meeting, which is tentatively when the Comprehensive Plan will be approved. Please, if you have anything you are concerned about, contact me or one of the aldermen, or the City Administration office – we are all happy to respond.