Crestwood rewrites its zoning code; makes zoning changes citywide, but especially along Watson Road – St. Louis Call Newspapers


List of companies prohibited from redevelopment zones

Photo by Erin Achenbach

The sign at Scott Credit Union in Crestwood along Watson Road.

Crestwood has a new zoning code approved by the Aldermen Council earlier this year that changes the way the city deals with zoning issues.

The aldermen unanimously adopted the revised zoning code on January 12, the culmination of a project underway since 2018 between the city and the town planning firm Peckham Guyton Albers and Viets.

The Planning and Zoning Commission formally adopted the PGAV draft ordinance last year, starting with the signage code.

The most significant revisions change the zoning powers and create a special zoning district along Watson Road, known as the “Watson Road Overlay”. The new overlay neighborhood will apply to the zoning for the redevelopment of the old Crestwood Mall site proposed by Dierbergs and McBride Homes.

Public hearings for most developments will now take place in the planning committee instead of the council of aldermen. The commission is also now the approval authority for large site plans, but the aldermen have recourse and review power up to five days after the decision.

Likewise, “minor site plans” will also be reviewed by staff and approved by the planning committee. The aldermen will have the power to appeal and review. “Minor sitemaps” are unique to the new code and did not exist under the original city code. The staff was originally intended to be the approval authority for minor site plans in one of the earliest projects, but the aldermen gave this power to the planning commission.

The council of aldermen will remain the decision-making authority for text changes, zoning map changes, preliminary development plans and conditional use permits, but public hearings for the first three will only be held the town planning commission. For CUPs, the two councils will hold public hearings. The final development plans will be approved by staff as they do not have “a lot of additional detail” compared to the preliminary plans approved by the aldermen, Crestwood town planner Cassie Harashe said. This speeds up zoning.

If a final development plan comes back that does not meet the conditions set out in the approved preliminary plan, or if conditions for the final development plan are not met, staff cannot approve any final development plan without aldermen.

The new “Watson Road Overlay District” in the code is designed to make this shopping corridor more pedestrian friendly and attractive. One of the goals is to eventually create 10-foot sidewalks on both sides of Watson to encourage pedestrian use. The current sidewalks are 5 feet wide.

“We’re trying to create that kind of wide, tree-lined – therefore buffered – pedestrian corridor with buildings moved closer to Watson,” Harashe said. “The parking lots and seating will sort of be behind the buildings – less visible – so you don’t get off Watson (and) see those parking seas.”

Part of the old code, “Prohibited uses near redevelopment areas”, was postponed at the request of most aldermen, Ward 3 Alderman Scott Shipley and Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan s’ being opposed to it.

The following uses are prohibited within 300 feet of any area designated by Crestwood or a redevelopment authority as a dilapidated area or redevelopment area: Sexual businesses; sale, rental and leasing of automobiles; beer, wine, distilled alcoholic beverage wholesalers and liquor stores; retail outlets larger than 10,000 square feet specializing in wine and other spirits are permitted; pawn shop; payday loan and other similar short-term credit institutions; thrift stores or second-hand stores, unless charity; and retailers with buyout or liquidation merchandise.

The list of prohibited uses also prohibited taverns, but the taverns were abolished at the request of the alderman of district 4 Ismaine Ayouaz in December. The aldermen unanimously agreed with Ayouaz to remove the taverns from the prohibited list.

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