Opponents of a proposed senior living/single-family housing development planned for Ladue Road scored a victory Monday night when Creve Coeur's Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-0 against recommending Delmar Gardens' plan for more than 20 acres of land near Interstate 270.
Monday night's meeting brought out more supporters of the project including residents of the existing Delmar Gardens facility in Creve Coeur and employees. One resident called current conditions like being in "a cracker box" with three beds in a room. Supporters were still outweighed by opponents Monday.
In the end, commissioners largely felt that the project would continue to be at odds with the city's Comprehensive Plan, which is seen as a blueprint for dictating rezoning issues. The Comprehensive Plan will likely be reviewed in the near term by city officials. .
Critics of the plan, which would put skilled nursing and assisted living facilities on the former "Thompson Center" property along with 10 single family homes, have pointed to traffic impacts, quality of life issues and maintaining Ladue Road's residential character.
The October public hearing and a subsequent November 5 meeting on the project was continued while City planners waited for the city's traffic analysis. That analysis, along with a Creve Coeur Fire Protection District report came back in time for Monday's meeting.
In addition, Delmar's consultant said it went back and did more traffic analysis to account for the completion of the Highway 141 connector and found decreased traffic levels.
While Commissioner Gary Eberhardt said he didn't think the traffic impact would be as severe as residents feared, Commissioners Ken Howard and Cynthia Kramer were critical of a lack of information in the traffic study as it related to employee traffic, delivery traffic and the like.
The 5-0 vote (with Michael Barton and Jim Schnarr absent) came after nearly 2 hours of public comment and commission discussion. Kramer said she did not see the public benefit addressed in the rezoning request, Howard spoke of how the project could redefine Creve Coeur with visual impacts which could be seen from Highway 40 and Interstate 70. Eberhardt and Faron acknowledged that they didn't see the Comprehensive Plan changing significantly enough to support the project, but also noted that they voted against the projet "with heavy hearts."
While commissioners have held out hope that another property in Creve Coeur would work for the project, Delmar Gardens Executive Vice Preident Howard Oppenheimer said he was disappointed by the decision for the Ladue Road site.
Oppenheimer said the current facility does not have a defined lifespan, and pointed to the fact that the company just invested a sprinkler system.
"It's clear we need to find a location. We've been doing it, looking for over a decade to relocate the facility. Its too small, it doesn't meet the needs of of the community. Its inadequate and we're desperately trying to find a solution for it."
The Planning and Zoning decision now goes on to Creve Coeur City Council members, possibly as early as Monday November 28, unless Delmar Garden representatives ask for a delay or pull the project for consideration.
Patch wants to hear from you: Is there a significant need for additional senior residential care options near Creve Coeur?