• SAVE SUGAR CREEK VALLEY Kirkwood, MO

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  •          KIRKWOOD CITY STAFF HAS ABUNDANT OPPORTUNITIES TO                                     SHOW INCREASED TRANSPARENCY                                                 News Channel 5 continued its "McMansion" story in Kirkwood this week.                                                            https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/investigations/kirkwood-home-owners-battle-mcmansions/63-592763096                 The Mayor of Kirkwood says he's taking action to require more planning before 'McMansions' can be erected in Kirkwood. For months we've told you how some homeowners there say they're feeling squeezed out of their neighborhoods by a number of large 'McMansion' style homes popping up around Kirkwood. The new, large homes are often built on the site of small homes constructed decades earlier. In some cases, it results in a radical change for a neighbor. Take Pat Smith. For more than a decade, Smith says her backyard was her refuge. Her home shared a property line with a historic Kirkwood Mansion known as the Gill House and her backyard overlooked the mansion's expansive gardens. For years the mansion was vacant. Then, a few years ago, a family moved in and began extensive renovations on the property, which included building a two-story, three-car, detached-garage roughly four- feet from Smith's property line. Now the view she once had is totally blocked by the building, spanning the length of her backyard. She also says the two-story structure eclipses her one-story home: "There's no airflow anymore. In the winter, there's no sun." "The issue is it's so close, it's practically on top of her house," says Pat's daughter-in-law, Angie Smith. "How is this allowed?" The answer is that the city of Kirkwood approved the construction. In fact, the home and the new garage follow every local and state code. It's perfectly legal. And of course, it is the owner's property. But other properties may be causing a real problem for their neighbors: flooding. "It actually gets about a foot deep," said Diane Polacek of Cleveland Ave. Polacek says after developers erected a 'McMansion' next door, her driveway became a lake. She first spoke with 5 On Your Side in April. "No one can pull in the driveway and get out. It gets very deep in a few spots," said Polacek. And then there's the Reed home on Adams. Maureen Reed says the basement of her 93-year-old mother's home started flooding after developers built three McMansions behind it. "The runoff has been so bad we've had to sandbag," said Reed. The family also told 5 On Your Side they would likely sell the home because water damage in the basement had gotten too severe, and too costly to fix. Turns out, it's a common complaint in communities across the country undergoing "mansionization". Why? Often developers will purchase a standard-size lot and home. Then they'll tear it down and build a McMansion. The problem, though, is that some of these homes are so big, they cover what used to be the lawn and ground that absorbed any rainwater. As a result, now the water spills out onto neighboring property. So many communities require 'McMansions' be built with safety features like dry wells or french drains to prevent this problem. But not Kirkwood. 5 On your Side: Why has the city allowed this to happen? These developments go up and the water has no place to go except next door? "We've been working on this. With the... the mayor's appointed a city council committee and a staff committee and we've been reaching out working with some local engineering firms also," said Bill Bensing, Kirkwood director of public services. Bensing says the city doesn't require anti-flooding features in 'McMansions' because previously it wasn't an issue. Five On your Side: Is this just the idea that older homeowners don't matter as much? " No not at all. Every resident matters to the city and we try to work towards that at any cost," said Bensing. 5 On your Side contacted the owners of the historic Gill Mansion, but they declined to comment. In the meantime Kirkwood is considering requiring all new 'McMansion' construction to include things like dry wells to minimize the water runoff and flooding problems. Kirkwood Mayor Tim Griffin says whatever new regulations they decide on will be on the books by the end of this year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           *Kirkwood's Draft Infill Development Storm Water Management policy can be found below.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 THANK YOU                                                                                               UPDATE: The Kirkwood City Council meeting on July 5 ended in a unanimous vote to deny the rezoning request submitted by the owners of 1837 Bach Ave. in Sugar Creek Valley.    Save Sugar Creek would like to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who played a part in preserving this treasured area in Kirkwood – everyone who wrote letters, sent emails, signed the petition, shared the information with friends and family, and reached out to speak with council members and city staff. This could not have been done without you!    The assistance from Great Rivers Environmental Law Center was also instrumental in providing valid, logical legal defenses.    Lastly, and most importantly, we'd like to send our sincere thanks to the Kirkwood City Council and mayor for their careful and thoughtful review of the pros and cons of this rezoning petition and their clear action to protect and preserve our city.    While we are thrilled with the positive outcome, there will always be opportunities to maintain, protect, preserve and improve Sugar Creek Valley and our beloved city. Please email savesugarcreek@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list where we intend to share ideas as they arise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       P&Z Update: Planning & Zoning committee voted 5-4 in favor of allowing the destruction and developer exploitation of Sugar Creek Valley. Based on stories about the financial hardships that the petitioners have faced over the years, they see it as fair and reasonable to allow the arbitrary and capricious split zoning of the property. While residents voicing opposition and citing legitimate concerns such as the precedent this will set, changing the landscape and character of the area forever, flooding, environmental issues, wildlife, etc. are told these are not relevant in this decision.

    YES = Dan Stauder, Allen Klippel, Kathy Oughton, James Diel, Greg Frick

    NO = James O'Donnell, David Eagleton, Cindy Coronado, Laurence Mallinckrodt

     

    ABOUT

    Save Sugar Creek has evolved into a grassroots campaign by concerned Kirkwood residents who wish to protect and preserve the Sugar Creek Valley as a geographically picturesque gem located right in the middle of Kirkwood, Missouri. 

     

    The following created the launchpad for the group to form: A re-zoning proposal has been submitted and if approved would change the landscape of Kirkwood. The non-resident owners of a property at Ballas and Bach are seeking to rezone their R1 (acre minimum) property to R2 (25,000 sq. ft.) or potentially R3 (15,000 sq. ft.) in what appears to be an attempt to increase the future sale value to a developer who would likely put multiple homes on the tranquil hillside. Doing so would inevitably open the entire area to similar re-zoning requests due to the large lot sizes.A review of the zoning map makes it clear that there are currently ZERO properties along Ballas and West Adams in the Sugar Creek Valley that are zoned anything other than R1. Allowing an owner to re-zone without regard to the historical significance or beauty this area is known for should be incomprehensible. It would set a precedent that would encourage other properties along West Adams and Ballas to seek the same re-zoning request. Can you imagine a subdivision built on each current lot? Say goodbye to Sugar Creek Valley as we know it.

     

    Sign petition here: https://tinyurl.com/sugarcreekzoning

     

    Contribute toward yard signs and future legal expenses: http://www.paypal.me/SaveSugarCreek

     

    **  If you would like to be included in future communication regarding this matter, please send an email to savesugarcreek@gmail.com  **

                                                DOCUMENTS & FLOODING PHOTOS                                                      FROM EXPERTS & KIRKWOOD RESIDENTS ALONG THE CREEK

    NEWS

    • ****** Planning & Zoning committee voted 5-4 in favor of allowing the destruction and developer exploitation of Sugar Creek Valley. Based on stories about the financial hardships that the petitioners have faced over the years, they see it as fair and reasonable to allow the arbitrary and capricious split zoning of the property. While residents voicing opposition and citing legitimate concerns such as the precedent this will set, changing the landscape and character of the area forever, flooding, environmental issues, wildlife, etc. are told these are not relevant in this decision.

    YES = Dan Stauder, Allen Klippel, Kathy Oughton, James Diel, Greg Frick

    NO = James O'Donnell, David Eagleton, Cindy Coronado, Laurence Mallinckrodt    *******

     

    • In the meantime, you can help by writing letters to the City Council!

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    Letters to City Hall

    Address to & Ask Betty to distribute to all City Council Members:

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    Betty Montaño, MMC/MPCC

    City Clerk, CITY OF KIRKWOOD

    139 South Kirkwood Road

    Kirkwood, MO  63122

    montanbk@kirkwoodmo.org

    Phone:  314-822-5802           Fax: 314-822-5863

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    Please also forward any letters to the Webster-Kirkwood Times Mailbag for publishing. Letters must be 300 words or less and include name and contact information.

    Send to the following email: mailbag@timesnewspapers.com  

     

    •  

     

  •       September 29 @ 8:00-11:00 Honeysuckle Removal in Kirkwood Park along the creek on Rifle Range Drive

    KPAC's goal this year is to clear all 33 acres of invasive bush honeysuckle growing in Kirkwood Park. Join the effort to help remove honeysuckle and become part of the movement to eradicate invasive bush honeysuckle from our region. Volunteers will cut down honeysuckle growing along Rifle Range Road. 

    Preregistration is requested to ensure there are plenty of refreshments and hand tools for everyone. Email Kylie to register at christkr@kirkwoodmo.org or call (314) 984-5993.

                                                                    -----------

    We urge you to attend if you are able, the greater the numbers the better!

    HISTORY of 1837 Bach

    • February 16 - Sherry Schwartzbaugh submitted formal request to the City of Kirkwood to have 1837 Bach rezoned from R1 to R2.
    • March 7 - Planning & Zoning Meeting #1 where the proposal was officially read, a sub-committee was formed to conduct a site review on March 13 @ 8:30 am, and citizens residing in Highland Terrace spoke out agains the rezoning.
    • March 13 - Site review was conducted with the property owners, their lawyer, City Planner Jonathan Raiche, P&Z committee members O'Donnell and Stauder, in addition to the citizen that resides next to the property.
    • March 21 - The petitioners learned that the sub-committee was going to recommend denial of the rezoning and requested a continuance to April 4 so as to re-submit a changed plan.
    • April 4 - P&Z meeting cancelled. Petitioners are now requesting a split zoning of the property to approximately 2/3 R1 and 1/3 R2 without a formal subdivision of the two zones. Next meeting scheduled for April 18. Stay tuned.
    • April 18 - With much disappointment, we must report that the petitioners were warned in advance of the Planning & Zoning Meeting that one of the sub-committee members in favor of approval was going to be absent. City Staff recommended they ask for a continuance despite the fact that 8 of the 9 committee members were present. Last night, the packed house of concerned citizens were not given a chance to speak. The committee voted to grant the continuance to allow for a more "fair" vote to take place. The next meeting is scheduled for May 2 @ 7:00pm.
    • May 2 - Planning & Zoning committee voted 5-4 in favor of allowing the destruction and developer exploitation of Sugar Creek Valley. Based on stories about the financial hardships that the petitioners have faced over the years, they see it as fair and reasonable to allow the arbitrary and capricious split zoning of the property. While residents voicing opposition and citing legitimate concerns such as the precedent this will set, changing the landscape and character of the area forever, flooding, environmental issues, wildlife, etc. are told these are not relevant in this decision.

    YES = Dan Stauder, Allen Klippel, Kathy Oughton, James Diel, Greg Frick

                                                                                   NO = James O'Donnell, David Eagleton, Cindy Coronado, Laurence Mallinckrodt                                                                            

    • June 21 - Save Sugar Creek Coordinators, dozens of Kirkwood residents, and the law team from Great Rivers Environmental Law Center presented to the Kirkwood City Council on June 21. We appreciate everyone's continued support in the efforts to preserve and protect Sugar Creek Valley. 
    • JULY 5 - The Kirkwood City Council meeting on July 5 ended in a unanimous vote to deny the rezoning request submitted by the owners of 1837 Bach Ave. in Sugar Creek Valley.    Save Sugar Creek would like to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who played a part in preserving this treasured area in Kirkwood – everyone who wrote letters, sent emails, signed the petition, shared the information with friends and family, and reached out to speak with council members and city staff. This could not have been done without you!    The assistance from Great Rivers Environmental Law Center was also instrumental in providing valid, logical legal defenses.    Lastly, and most importantly, we'd like to send our sincere thanks to the Kirkwood City Council and mayor for their careful and thoughtful review of the pros and cons of this rezoning petition and their clear action to protect and preserve our city.    While we are thrilled with the positive outcome, there will always be opportunities to maintain, protect, preserve and improve Sugar Creek Valley and our beloved city. Please email savesugarcreek@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list where we intend to share ideas as they arise.

    Sign our petition!

    HOW YOU CAN HELP

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