Petition to Oppose Rezoning and Development in Keaton Park

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Petition to Oppose Rezoning and Development in Keaton Park

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Tracy Grundy started this petition to O'Fallon City Council

We, the residents of Fieldstone Farms and the Manors of Fieldstone Farms, respectfully oppose the rezoning and development request as described in the NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING summarized below:

·        Name of Owner/Applicant:           Bremen Bank and Trust Company / Keaton Commerce

·        Current Zoning Classification:      HCTD/High Tech Corridor District

·        Proposed Zoning Classification:  I-1/Light Industrial District

·        Location of Property:                     Lot 7 of Keaton Corporate Park Plat 4

·        Proposed Use:                                 Office/Warehouse

We believe the rezoning and development request is a significant threat to the livability and economic value of The Villas at Keaton Woods, The Manors of Fieldstone Farms, and adjacent areas.  We also believe the Beth Academy Childcare Center and Preschool (4301 Keaton Corporate Blvd) will be adversely affected.

The City is not required to rezone a property simply because an applicant requests it. It may be justified in the following circumstances which cause a hardship for the applicant:

·        An error or mistake exists in the current zoning regulations

·        The proposed change is compatible with the City's Comprehensive Plan

·        Changes in the neighborhood makes the current zoning unreasonable

·        The proposed change is consistent with the current surrounding land uses

None of the circumstances above are present at the site. No hardship exists for the property due to its location in the HTCD zoning district, so rezoning is not necessary nor appropriate.

Additionally, we oppose the rezoning and the proposed warehouse development for the following reasons:

1. Downgrade of Zoning Category & Inconsistent with Comprehensive Plan - The proposed rezoning from High Technology Corridor District (HTCD) to Light Industrial (L-1), represents a downgrade of the zoning category, and is not consistent with the City's Comprehensive Plan (pages 9 and 29 of the 2021 Plan). The existing L-1 districts in O'Fallon are adjacent to Interstate 70, which is appropriate. The Keaton site is not suitable for Light Industrial due to its proximity to The Villas at Keaton Woods subdivision, Beth Academy and its outdoor play area, The Manors of Fieldstone Farms to the west, and the nearby small businesses. The development of The Villas at Keaton Woods and Beth Academy has increased the residential character of the neighborhood making the proposed zoning change unreasonable.

2. Current Zoning is Appropriate - The purpose and intent of the HTCD in the City Code (Section 400.145.A) "is to provide a controlled and protected environment for the orderly growth and development of high technology industries." A Light Industrial warehouse and shipping facility does not meet these purposes. The current HTCD zoning is appropriate, consistent with the existing development pattern and neighborhood character, and should be maintained.

3. Proposed Development More Appropriate in Existing L-1 Districts Adjacent to I-70 - Section 400.140. A of the City Code defines the purpose of the Light Industrial (I-1) district as follows: "This District is composed of the area of the City whose principal use is or ought to be light manufacturing, warehousing, and other limited industrial uses. This District has been located within the City to permit the development of these industrial uses, to protect adjacent areas against encroachment by incompatible uses, and to lessen congestion on public streets." The proposed warehouse is appropriate for the City's existing I-1 District. It is not appropriate adjacent to villas, a school, restaurants, and other neighborhood businesses.

4. Inconsistent with Comprehensive Plan - The 2021 Comprehensive Plan update, Page 90 addresses the City's satisfaction with the current status regarding industry in the City and lack of interest regarding additional industrial development. “With very little land available for industrial development, there is not a lot of interest by city leaders or residents in adding more. As a result, the Future Land Use plan does not recommend an aggressive strategy around attracting additional industrial businesses.” The proposed rezoning is inconsistent with this goal.

5. Area Not Appropriate for Heavy Semi-Trailers - Heavy semi-trailer traffic from the proposed warehouse containing 20 shipping bays (16 outside and 4 drive-ins) is not appropriate for Keaton Corporate Parkway, as the intersection with Highway K has no traffic signal. Trucks and other large vehicles are likely to line up in the center left turn lane in their route from I-64 to access Keaton Corporate Parkway, reducing visibility along Highway K and hampering access to and from the businesses in the area and to and from our homes. Trucks are also likely to back up along Keaton Corporate Parkway to make turns onto Highway K when leaving the proposed warehouse. When no bay is available at the warehouse, trucks are likely to park along Keaton Corporate Parkway while waiting for an open bay.

6. Traffic Study Not Provided - Prior to approval of rezoning or the proposed development, the developer should be required to provide a traffic study to the City of the proposed warehouse and shipping operation, documenting its impacts on the area's traffic. The developer-provided traffic study should be reviewed by a professional traffic engineer contracted by the City. The study and City review of the study should be made available for public review and comment.

7. Operating Hours - The operating hours of the warehouse facility were not indicated in the packet, but a 24/7 operation is possible, thereby increasing noise and light pollution in our neighborhood.

8. Impact to Desirability and Value of Community - The residents and future residents of The Villas at Keaton Woods and The Manors of Fieldstone Farms purchased their homes based on the existing zoning category of the adjacent properties. Rezoning to Light Industrial (I-1) will impact the desirability and value of the community. Page 11 of the City’s 2021 Comprehensive Plan states "Reasonable and predictable zoning regulations that maintain basic quality standards are important to private development decisions. An individual or business investing money in a residential or commercial property can proceed with confidence in what the future holds for the municipality’s land use pattern and, most importantly, their immediate surroundings." 

9. Undesirable Precedent - If one property is rezoned to Light Industrial, nothing can prevent rezoning of the additional properties along Keaton Corporate Parkway, as a legally-binding precedent will be established. A recent P&Z experience in Creve Coeur, MO regarding a proposed QuikTrip on Olive Blvd is one recent and local example illustrating this point. A judge has upheld QuikTrip's argument allowing it to build adjacent to $750K+ value homes based on a previous decision by Creve Coeur regarding expansion of an existing gas station/convenience store across the street. QuikTrip won their lawsuit despite unanimous disapproval of their plans by Creve Coeur City Council and an active legal defense by the City. The City of O’Fallon needs to prevent establishing any Light Industrial zoning immediately adjacent to our homes that can (and will) later be enlarged.

10. Exposure to Noise and Light Pollution - Based on the size and allowable setbacks of the proposed warehouse, most, if not all, of the mature trees and landscape buffer between The Villas at Keaton Woods and Keaton Corporate Parkway will be eliminated, exposing our homes, and The Villas at Keaton Woods Phase 2 homes on higher ground, to the warehouse and its associated noise and light pollution. The warehouse developer's offer of a 6-foot-high fence and some newly-planted (small by definition) trees cannot substitute for the valuable and irreplaceable landscape buffer. Additionally, the warehouse site is approximately 20 ft HIGHER than the level of Keaton Lake Ct, thus resulting in a 40 ft tall warehouse being 60 ft above the street level.  Light pollution from the parking area, even with downward facing lights, will be significant, noticeable and very annoying. The St Charles County GIS maps show the height difference.  The new villas in Keaton Woods Phase 2 would be at the same height, providing them with an exposed view of the warehouse.


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