St. Charles County entertains revised multi-million dollar housing development, as threat of developers moving project looms
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Plans in St. Charles County to build out a massive new subdivision went before the county council Monday night. The first draft of this proposal saw major pushback, so the developer has trimmed the project by about 100 lots.
But it would still add hundreds of homes along Highway DD, southwest of O’Fallon.
The county council is discussing a conditional use permit and rezoning proposal for the project Monday. A vote comes later this month. But there is a fear if the county passes on the development, the developers will find another municipality to build and annex the land.
“If your schools are overcrowded, your infrastructure is insufficient, your public safety is insufficient, you have two options, raise taxes or pull funds from somewhere else in the county,” St. Charles County resident Shawn Mann said.
Mann is passionate about his quality of life in rural St. Charles County. As he stands alongside Highway DD, he talks about a grassroots effort building to keep out the Tall Tree Housing Development.
“It’s not a slim majority; it’s an overwhelming majority,” Mann said.
There are concerns Robert Myers is aware of as the director of St. Charles County’s Planning and Zoning Division – a separate entity from the county’s Planning and Zoning Committee, which is a group of appointed residents from the county’s district.
News 4 obtained a letter from Myers that he encourages the county council to approve KM Investment Group’s revised proposal – 450 lots over 300 acres.
“So it’s about 58 acres less than it was, and those were near an area park where we heard a lot of feedback on from residents last month.”
It’s a move that doesn’t fix every resident’s frustration.
Going back to what Mann shared, residents fear the Wentzville and Francis Howell School districts will be overwhelmed with more than 2,000 students that would move into the area.
A lawyer for the developer told the council they have had conversations with the districts and received approval from the Wentzville Fire Protection District.
Myer said it’s not his place to comment on where the money will come from, but that’s a question for the school districts as they are a separate taxing body.
News 4 contacted both school districts and is waiting on official responses.
Residents like Mann also acknowledge the county council has a legitimate fear that if it doesn’t approve the project, the developers will take it to the City of O’Fallon. KM Investment Group LLC went as far as to say that at last month’s commission meeting.
St. Charles County Council member Mike Elam represents District 3. He told News 4 that is a very real fear.
“Normally, you could negotiate with a developer. In this case, they have someone seemingly in their back pocket and can move and do the development there,” St. Charles County Council member Mike Elam said.
Elam said the City of O’Fallon is not the bad guy in this situation. But there is a new dynamic that’s keeping the council person from deciding on how to vote.
“We don’t really have a lot of leverage in this case. We can either approve it as it sits or deny it,” Elam explained. “They have negotiated as much as they are willing to negotiate.”
Elam said O’Fallon’s motivation is to increase its population beyond 100,000 people. That’s the magic number to be considered a “medium-sized” city. If this happened, it would become the sixth medium city in the state, along with St. Louis.
A spokesperson for the City of O’Fallon says there have not been any discussions with the developer at this time, and any annexation will require an application and approval from its council.
The next meeting will take place on July 31 where the council will cast a vote on the issue.
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