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MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING

 

City Hall                                                                                                           July 7, 2004

Council Chambers                                                                                             6:00 p.m.

 

The Mayor led with the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Roll Call

 

Present:            Mayor Kelly, Alderwoman Jepsen, Alderman Marshall, Alderman Golfin, Alderman Wynn, Alderman Cross.

 

                       

Absent:             City Attorney Murphy, Alderman Kramer, Alderman Robertson, Alderman Leahy, City Administrator Seemayer, Zoning Administrator Wolf, Economic Development Director Shelton and Executive Secretary Williams.

 

Alderman Marshall stated that Alderman Robertson requested it be entered into the record that he is absent because of the conflict of interest relating to Bills No. 5241 and 5242.

 

INTRODUCTIONS, READINGS, AND PASSAGE OF BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

Motion was made by Alderman Wynn, second by Alderman Marshall to give Bill No. 5241 and 5242 first and second readings.  Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Marshall, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that this meeting was called to allow the developer to proceed with their project.  Bills No. 5241 and 5242 were put on hold at the last meeting because of some issues that needed to be worked out.  Since then he and Alderman Leahy have met with the developer and talked about the cross parking agreement.  From the City’s standpoint it is not a cross shared agreement.  There is also an issue with the amount of parking that is required.  The developer is now submitting the original site plan except for the changes that St. Louis County required them to make in order to get their permits. 

 

Alderwoman Jepsen asked if there have been any variances passed as this worked its way through the Planning and Zoning Commission.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that variances would have to go before the Board of Adjustment and there are no variances on this project. 

 

Alderwoman Jepsen stated that when she looked the plans over and considered the amount of traffic already on Brentwood Boulevard, they would be creating a disaster.  The flopping of the entrance and the exit is going to be difficult for people to catch on to and the possibility of southbound traffic pulling into the exit because it is the normal way people would go in there is going to be a lot of confusion. 

 

Alderwoman Jepsen stated that Section 25-309 of the Code states that they are to have one combined entrance and exit or one of each.  It looks like they have one entrance and two exits and that is why she was asking about the variance. 

 

Mayor Kelly stated that they have more than what is required by the Code so they do not need a variance for an improvement of having another exit.  He stated that they are not changing the existing curb cuts that were there before.  That would have to be looked into.

 

Bill Peick – Summit Development Group came before the Board and stated on that particular piece of property there are two parcels.  One is the bank and the other is the spa property.  The two parcels will share an entrance. 

 

Alderman Golfin stated that as he understands it they have one exit on one parcel and another exit on the other parcel.

 

Mr. Peick stated that is correct.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that the bank parcel has an exit not an entrance.  They are sharing an entrance that was on the Essen site.  From the City’s standpoint this is an improved entrance and exit.  Before you had a parking lot with a wide-open curb cut in front of the old post office building, as well as an entrance and exit not even a few feet away, on both the south and the north.  This plan is combining those to make the site work better.

 

Alderwoman Jepsen asked if they are counting them as two parcels does each parcel have the appropriate number of parking spaces. 

 

Mayor Kelly stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the entire site as one site plan.  There is still an issue with parking.  When they came in with their final drawings for what the actual building would be like they included what was written down by the architects as a conference room, which under the Code require more parking spaces than regular retail which is an additional 14 parking spaces.  It is Face and Body’s belief that it is not a true conference room in that they would not be holding regular meetings in there.  Under their analysis they do not believe they need those additional 14 parking spaces because they are not going to be using that room for meetings.

 

Mr. Peick stated there is a cross access easement that is part of the ordinances.  Anyone on the site who desires to traverse to Litzsinger Road and access Brentwood Boulevard in that fashion can.  That remains in that plan.

 

Mayor Kelly asked Mr. Peick to explain why they reversed the driveways.

 

Mr. Peick stated that one of the circulation issues on the site was the ATM, if you enter from the north access and drive all the way around the site in order to get into the ATM lane, which they anticipate there will be significant use of the ATM lane, they wanted to make it easier and convenient for folks who access the site and access the ATM.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that would eliminate people using the Recreation Center as a cut through to get to the ATM because they would be going the wrong way in the parking lot.

 

Alderman Marshall stated that he has concerns with the traffic flow stacking cars up and possibly blocking the entrance to the parking lot with respect to the ATM.  You are going to have traffic building up on Brentwood Boulevard and people slowing down that is trying to turn into the development at a busy time of the day.  He is afraid of rear end collisions.

 

Mr. Peick stated that they discussed that at some length with St. Louis County Traffic and Highway Department.  They have approved this plan.  They have the same kinds of concerns when a vehicle is entering a site, so they position it where the first parking space is allowed in order to allow stacking, so that the cars are not hanging out into Brentwood Boulevard.  They require 40 feet from the curb before the first parking space to avoid that problem.  If you look at the distance from the ATM back to where it could cause that problem by a vehicle hanging out in the internal drive lane of the center you will see that it almost appears to be double of what the County requires before you create the first parking space.

 

Alderman Marshall asked how wide is that entrance?

 

Mr. Peick stated it is 18 feet.

 

Bill Berthold – Civil Engineer with Frontenac Engineering Group came before the Board and stated the reason they require the 40 feet is so that the first car can back out of its parking space.  Another car can pull in off Brentwood Boulevard behind it and not block traffic on Brentwood Boulevard.  They can stack three cars in the ATM lane.  He and the bank are comfortable with three cars as adequate for the ATM. 

 

Alderman Marshall stated that originally three cars were adequate because they were coming in on the northern entrance.  Now the entrance has been moved he no longer believes that it is adequate.

 

Alderwoman Jepsen asked if the bank considered a combination machine. 

 

Rick Stryler – representing Eagle Bank came before the Board and stated that they did consider a combination machine.  They needed the three drive lanes.  With a combination of an ATM drive lane, the drive through lane does not become useful with people stopping to make a transaction at the ATM.  The property line created the limitations.  The ATM machine island is wider than a teller island. 

 

Alderwoman Jepsen asked if traffic backs up is there an option of people parking and walking up to an ATM. 

 

Mr. Stryler stated that there would be no other ATM machines on site. 

 

Mayor Kelly stated that the issue is where would it be best.  This site plan, except for the direction of the driveways, is the original site plan and there is additional green space.  From the City’s standpoint, there is not a location on the site that makes it work. 

 

Alderman Cross asked why are they not using the northern ingress for the entrance.

 

Mr. Stryler stated with the entrance configured on the northern ingress people tend to go find the closest place to park.  The entrance to the bank is on the north side. One of the concerns was traffic would come in, circle around and try to find a parking space in front and there is only eight spots.  If the eight spots are taken you have to go back out on Brentwood Boulevard to circulate the site and get back in.  With the entrance presently configured, if there are no parking spaces right in the front, which people tend to look for, there are options to go left or right with parking available.  The second reason is access to the ATM.  Most people who do an ATM transaction are not going to do anything else.  

 

St. Louis County Highway has similar concerns when they address engineering for curb cuts.  St. Louis County Highway and the traffic consultant both thought that this plan was better than the other plan.

 

Alderman Golfin stated that he has some concerns about the stacking of cars at the ATM machine.  He needs to understand better how that ATM will operate.  What would be the maximum number of cars safely waiting for ATM service without blocking Brentwood Boulevard?

 

Mr. Berthold stated three cars.

 

Mr. Stryler stated that the history of the bank is they do not have long lines at ATM machines.  There is not going to be four or five cars waiting to use an ATM machine.

 

Alderman Golfin stated that if that were a fact, it does not seem that stacking would be a problem.

 

Alderwoman Jepsen stated that West Community Credit is adding a lane specifically to increase their ATM usage and they see that being a problem.  She would think banks all along, particularly that time of night, would have more people at the ATM.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that he does not think that when West Community Credit Union came in they said they were putting an ATM machine to increase business.  What they said that was they were putting in a drive through ATM as a convenience for their customers because that is something that customers come to expect at a bank.

 

Alderman Cross said suppose they were to move to the northern entrance and the middle entrance.  Is that wide enough that you could go left or right out of there.  Could two cars pull up next to each other, if someone wanted to go northbound on Brentwood and someone wanted to go southbound to exit?

 

Mr. Berthold stated no.  The St. Louis County Highway Department restricted the width to 18 feet on both the entrance and the exit, so that it is one car at a time. 

 

Alderwoman Jepsen stated that City Code calls for an entrance or exit to be 20 feet.  Do they bow to the County’s restriction of 18 feet or do you go with City Code that says 20 feet.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that the County is an overriding authority on Brentwood Boulevard, since it is a County road they would go by their jurisdiction.

 

Alderman Golfin stated that if Brentwood Boulevard going south were going to be slowed with the red light on Manchester Road it will automatically limit the number of people going in to use the ATM that would stack up.  People will be stacked on Brentwood Boulevard waiting to approach the entrance to go to the ATM.

 

Alderwoman Jepsen stated given that line of thought what would happen on a Saturday.  A Saturday morning would be one of the peak times for the ATM.  This property was being discussed as two parcels, yet it was said that the Planning and Zoning Commission looked at it as one.  She is afraid if that is the case and they ignore City Code on the amount of entrances and exits they would be setting precedence.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that the City has the right to do that without having a variance to approve a site plan like this.  That would be grand fathered under the current conditions of the site.  The alternative would be to redevelop the entire site.  If you want to use the Code and put the property entrances in where would you put the entrance and exit for the bank?  You have to look at the existing site, what it has been used for and what is feasible. 

 

Alderman Wynn stated that if they do not like what is being proposed there they could vote no or if they think it is feasible then they could vote yes.

 

Alderman Cross stated she would be a lot more comfortable with entering on the northern entrance, then the middle entrance being an exit that you could turn left out of, if you want to take the chance.  If you did not, then you could use the cross access and go out onto Litzsinger Road to go left.  If someone had to circle around once and realize that they have to come out and go left and come back in again they probably will not do that again after they have done it once or twice.  She also does not think it is that big of a deal to make that little jog around.  She would not mind that if she were going to the ATM.  She would be a lot more comfortable with switching those entrances. 

 

Alderman Marshall stated that Alderman Golfin brought up a very good point as far as only being able to service the ATM as fast as the traffic is moving.  His concern for this development is rush hour.  He does not think it is going to be a problem any other time. He still has the concern of people trying to merge into traffic as people are trying to turn into the project.  You are inviting accidents there.  Looking at the plans there is not a whole lot of space there.  You are probably talking about two car lanes with the entrance and the exit. 

 

Mr. Peick stated that right now on the site there are 103 parking spaces.  The requirement based on five per thousand for retail use is 100 spaces.  They have in excess of three spaces if you use the five per thousand for retail.  That was approved by this Board several months ago when the original site plan was voted on.  Since that time Eagle Bank wanted to look at a different site plan, they had already submitted their construction drawings to Jerry Wolf for the purpose of getting a building permit.  When he reviewed the drawings there was one room in the Face and Body Spa, which depicted rows of seats.  There were 25 or 30 seats in that space.  Rather than calculate the parking requirements for the site based on retail, Mr. Wolf took retail for most of the space and then pulled from the public places of assembly section of the parking code for that small room.  The letter that was presented to the Board earlier is a letter asking Mr. Wolf to reconsider his position based on what explanations is in the letter and what they learned about the actual use of the room.  The way the room was depicted on the drawing by the architect is an error because that is not predominantly the way that space is used.  It is not used with row seating.  Face and Body’s plan is to have the same type of room you see in the photos in the new spa.  The way the room is predominantly used is by customers who come and gather for some reason.  For example, bridal parties will come to the spa as a group and will use that room as their jumping off point.  They will sit there and discuss their strategy, so you have people talking about what type of services they are going to receive.  Another way that it is used is if an individual is going from one treatment to another but the next station is not ready they might wait in this room.  Employees may eat their lunch in this room.  There are some educational sessions that are done in this room. The nice part about that is in the evening the bank is closed.  The bank’s requirement for parking is 23 spaces, so there is an additional 23 spaces in the evening for the occasional educational session.  He does not see anything in the definition that was pulled from the Code that sounds like the uses that are going on in the Face and Body Day Spa.  He has asked Mr. Wolf to reconsider his earlier contention that the site needs 14 additional parking spaces because of the oasis room.

 

Alderman Marshall stated that it does not strike him as a conference room.  It looks like a waiting room for groups of people waiting for service.  It should not be a detriment to their parking.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that Mr. Wolf did not want to change his opinion because that is the way the plans were presented to him.  The rationale and the reasoning make sense to him and he agreed that this type of operation is not a conference room, stadium, church or any of those things that would require that other requirement.  The Board has the ability to look at that and make the decision, whether they agree with that or not.  The Board can make it a condition of the conditional use permit that they approve the site plan but write in there that if the City finds that the flow of traffic does not work properly, they could require them to change it in the future. 

 

Alderwoman Jepsen asked if they are approving a site plan because a conditional use permit was mentioned. 

 

Mayor Kelly stated the Board would be approving the site plan so that they could proceed.  The conditional use permit comes when they apply for their business licenses.

 

Alderman Marshall asked if the developer would be agreeable to something like that if a problem arises with accidents there.  He does not want to be in a situation where they are having a problem with accidents tying up traffic on Brentwood Boulevard.

 

Mr. Peick stated that the bank’s position is they do not want to create or provide anything that would have a negative impact on customers.  If they felt that this site was not appropriate they would not be there.  The building is the right size.  They have improved the street access street from what the post office originally had.  They have spent a lot of time going through different options at the City’s request and have found that the best solution for the traffic and the bank has been the one that was presented. 

 

Mr. Peick asked if the two issues, one being the parking requirement for the oasis room and the other being the site plan could be handled separately.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that you could get an opinion from the Board on how they feel about the two issues with respect to the oasis room in general. 

 

Mr. Peick stated that if Eagle Bank had not asked for a revision to the site plan and they turned in their plans to Jerry Wolf and he saw the rows of seating that were apparently depicted on the plan, how would that have been dealt with to get an opinion from the Board of Aldermen.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that it would have been a separate issue then.  The Board could approve this site plan without approving the entrance and exit. 

 

Mr. Peick stated that the conclusion to the parking issue is clear and that could be voted on and put aside.  In regards to the entrance and exit, they would like to go back and do some further study. 

 

1st and 2nd Readings of Bill No. 5241

 

Mayor Kelly gave Bill No. 5241, AN ORDINANCE GRANTING APPROVAL OF REVISIONS TO THE SITE DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVED BY ORDINANCE NO. 3923 FOR PROPERTY NUMBERED 2515-2521 SOUTH BRENTWOOD BOULEVARD; PROVIDING THE CONDITIONS OF SUCH DEVELOPMENT; AND PROVIDING FOR THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ORDINANCE, its first reading.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that the developer is asking to take a vote on approving the parking issue to resolve that as one.

 

Motion was made by Alderman Golfin, second by Alderman Marshall to approve the oasis room under the regular retail requirements of five spaces per thousand square feet, instead of having that under the classification of a conference room.  Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Marshall, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

Mayor Kelly suggested that the issue with the site plan be placed on hold and bring it up at the next meeting or vote on it. 

 

Alderman Wynn stated that they talked about several things, is there any flexibility left to change the plan and still meet St. Louis County regulations, etc.

 

Mr. Peick stated that is what they want to study.  They want to act rationally. 

 

Motion was made by Alderman Cross, second by Alderman Marshall to place Bill No. 5241 on hold.  Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Marshall, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

Bill No. 5242

 

Mayor Kelly requested Bill No. 5242 be removed from the agenda which relates to the cross parking easement agreement.

 

Motion was made by Alderman Marshall, second by Alderman Golfin to remove Bill No. 5242 from the agenda.  Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Marshall, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

Mayor Kelly stated with respect to the parking that has been approved by the Board that will still need to come back to the Board in bill form.

 

Motion was made by Alderman Marshall, second by Alderman Wynn to adjourn the meeting at 7:30 p.m.  All in favor none opposed.  

 

 

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                Pat Kelly, Mayor

 

Attest:

 

                                               

Chris Seemayer, City Clerk