Clayton to consider appeal opposing Flaherty & Collins’ luxury apartment plans

Clayton’s Board of Aldermen will again consider an appeal from a local developer looking to stop the rezoning and subsequent building of a luxury apartment on a city-owned parking lot at 8049 Forsyth Boulevard.

The Clayton Board of Aldermen approved a rezoning from High Density Commercial (HDC) to Planned Unit Development to allow a mixed use, commercial and multi-family residential development project to be built by Flaherty & Collins Properties, which bought the property from the city for $1.1 million in December.

Rendering of apartment building overlooking Shaw Park in downtown Clayton.

The Indianapolis-based developer is planning a $70 million apartment tower on the site. Plans call for a 22-story, 228-unit high-rise would include a 373-space parking garage and 7,800 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

Although it’s been approved by the city planning commission and Board of Aldermen, KP Development, which owns two adjacent commercial buildings, filed an appeal to the Jan. 9 vote by the Board of Aldermen that approved a rezoning, as well as a subdivision plat, requested by developer Flaherty & Collins for the Shaw Park Tower.

Gary Feder, an attorney representing KP, argued the appeal at the board meeting Feb. 13, but Mayor Harold Sanger has since asked that he and the board be able to further study the issue before a vote takes place at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Some neighbors and others had questioned whether the amount of parking to be provided will be adequate in the project, being proposed at the site of a current city surface parking lot on the northeast corner of Brentwood and Forsyth boulevards. The developer wants to buy the lot from the city.

The current city lot has 29 hourly, metered parking spaces and 103 monthly-leased spaces. City officials have said a minimum of 132 parking spaces in the garage must be made available for public use. Charles Hull, architect for the project, has said the spaces would be shared, with residents able to use those spaces in the evenings and shoppers and others able to use them during the day. He said the parking not available to the public may be restricted by a gate and/or permit process.

Feder has argued the city’s original request for proposals called for coordination of development with adjoining property owners. KP has its own plan for a nine-story boutique office building with first-floor retail stores on the remainder of the city block surrounded by the parking lot.

Feder said his client fears there won’t be enough parking in the garage attached to the proposed apartment tower to accommodate its plans and to provide parking for area businesses that would make up for loss of the surface parking lot.

In the appeal, and speaking before Sanger and the board, Feder claimed the rezoning should have included the entire block rather than a single parcel and that the project fails to meet the city’s public benefit test because the existing 132 parking spaces on the site will be replaced with shared parking, which could cause problems for future residents, nearby restaurant patrons and new retail customers along with those who currently lease parking.

According to the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m., city staff is recommending that the appeal be denied, citing that the appellants have not established that they are an aggrieved party, specifically, the claim that they will suffer a loss of property value due to the inability to use, sell or develop their property in the future, has not been substantiated in their request.

“These arguments are speculative at best,” city staff said in a statement. “Therefore, the appellants have not met the requirement to identify a ‘demonstrable and material adverse effect’ they would suffer because of the Board’s decision.”

In other business, the Board is set to approve a contract with Gershenson Construction Co. Inc. for the Oak Knoll Park site improvements and parking lot project, after delaying that decision at its Feb. 13 meeting.

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. City staff recommends awarding the contract to Gershenson Construction as they are the low bid, have extensive experience in parking lot construction and worked with the city on the Chapman Utility Project last year.

City documents call for the Board to authorize the execution of a contract with Gershenson Construction in the amount of $588,000 for the project.

The board will also consider a resolution to encourage Missouri State legislators to

The Mayor and the Board of Aldermen are also set to pass a resolution that would encourage Missouri State Legislators to limit weapon ownership.

The resolution asks Missouri lawmakers to carefully consider limiting gun ownership to people with mental illness, history of violence toward others or threat thereof, and record of criminal activity.

The resolution would also enhance the effectiveness and extent of background checks, consider reasonable restrictions on weapons that have no civilian purpose, impose minimum age requirements for the purchase of weapons, and consider requiring minimum levels of security in all public or state chartered schools and providing appropriate funding, according to the city’s Board of Aldermen agenda.

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