Clayton approves expansion of St. Louis Veterinarian Animal Clinic of Clayton, Oak Knoll Park site improvements and parking lot project

A Clayton veterinarian looking to expand his clinic got final approval Tuesday from the Clayton Board of Aldermen.

The board voted 6-0, with Alderman Ira Berkowitz absent, to grant a conditional use permit to the St. Louis Veterinarian Animal Clinic of Clayton (ACC) and approved a text amendment allowing veterinary clinics to operate in commercial districts.

According to the plans filed with the city on Feb. 21, Dr. Dan Fraser wants to add on to his clinic at 136 N Meramec to the adjacent commercial retail space  in the Morrissey building, across the shared driveway at 132 North Meramec, to allow for a more comfortable and efficient space for staff and patients.

ACC, which has operated in the city since 1948, offers the Clayton and St. Louis animal community, emergency veterinary services, medical, surgical and dental veterinary services to include an in-house pharmacy. ACC is currently the only veterinary hospital in the city of Clayton.

The Plan Commission gave his plan to expand to the the building across the street and receive a conditional use permit a thumbs up last week, so long as the clinic does not board or shelter animals outside and that they are not boarded overnight, except for medical procedures.

Prior to Tuesday night’s vote, veterinary services were not defined or listed in as permitted uses in any zoning districts.

According to the city’s zoning rules, the ideal location for veterinary services is in proximity to residential neighborhoods, however, operational characteristics of the businesses are more compatible with commercial districts than residential.

City staff said hours of operation, noise generation and traffic impacts of veterinary service businesses would likely align with other commercial businesses.

Staff proposed the addition of a definition to the zoning ordinance to clarify a veterinary hospital/clinic as opposed to other animal service type facilities such as kennels, grooming or training facilities.

Staff also recommended the addition of veterinary hospital/clinic listed as allowed with a conditional use permit in the C-1, C-2 and HDC Zoning Districts.

By allowing the use with a conditional use permit, the city can regulate specifics of the business operations.

The proposal states that ACC would utilize only the main floor, 2,266 square feet, for the clinic. The upstairs apartment area of about 978 square feet could be used for storage or staff break room or lunch room, but would not usable for clinic space. ACC would be leasing the entire building.

The old building will house the clinic’s grooming facility and pet shop.

Fraser said the expansion would also ease existing parking constraints and position ACC for further economic growth.

The Morrissey building will be short on parking by its self, but when considered in connection with the ACC, it will have adequate parking, Fraser said in a letter to the city.

The parking spaces available for both buildings amounts to two employee spaces and 13 parking spaces for customers. This count includes eight spaces along the north fence behind the clinic, one space near the northwest corner of the Morrissey building, two employee parking spaces under the car port in the back and four customer parking spaces behind the Morrissey building, plus two more spaces the clinic  plans on adding in what is currently the outdoor patio area, for a total of 17.

In other business, the board finally approved a contract with Gershenson Construction Co. Inc. for the Oak Knoll Park site improvements and parking lot project, after delaying that decision twice at its Feb. 13  and Feb. 27 meetings.

Bid documents for the site project were issued on Jan. 3. The scope of work includes improvements to the entrance of Oak Knoll Park, replacement of the parking lot, installation of lighting and site improvements along Big Bend Blvd.

The city received five responsive bids for this work on Feb. 1. Gershenson Construction was the low bid and has extensive experience in parking lot construction and worked with the city on the Chapman Utility Project last year.

The revised plan for the project reduces the parking spots some but will allow for additional parking for the Community Foundation workers and visitors of the park. It also will saves trees and retains as much green space as possible.

“This seems like a great result,” Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger said.

The total included in the FY18 Capital Budget for this project is $636,000. Over the course of the last month, several design adjustments have been made which will result in a reduction in the overall cost for this project. Those changes will be captured in a change order since Gershenson has been awarded the contract, according to city documents.

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