For the second time in five weeks, the residents of the Oakville area descended Monday on the St. Louis County Building to register disapproval over a low-income senior citizen housing complex — a project already under construction.
Characterizing the project as “one of the greatest failures in St. Louis County government history,” Oakville businessman Mark Haefner captured the prevailing sentiment about a proposal that sailed through the planning process unnoticed and unopposed barely a year ago.
The County Planning Commission, which reopened the issue at the behest of the County Council, is expected to act on the measure next month.
County Executive Charlie Dooley warned last month that the county will incur severe legal penalties if it halts work on a project that began construction in the spring at 6050 Telegraph Road.
Clayton attorney John King, representing the developer and operator of the 45-unit complex, National Church Residences, said that in the 40-plus years he’s handled zoning cases, he could not recall another instance of the county rescinding approval for an active project.
Michelle Norris, a senior vice president for National Church Residences, attempted to assure the audience that the organization was bound by the rules to serve — as it does at other locations around the nation — a population where the average resident is a 78-year-old woman.
“We are restricted to senior housing only,” Norris said. “We will receive a lot of penalties if we don’t follow the rules.”
Norris’ assurances did nothing to placate a crowd of 235 that packed the council auditorium. An additional 75 opponents milled outside the room, prevented from entering by the occupancy code.
Lynn Link was the first to raise a dominant objection: The complex’s proximity to the pre-kindergarten Goddard School, located on adjoining property.
Goddard parents, Link said, have “justifiable concerns” about the National Church Residences’ facility placing a Dumpster containing “soiled adult undergarments and used syringes” 5 feet from the school boundary.
Read the rest of the story at: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/oakville-residents-renew-opposition-to-senior-living-complex/article_c1dc92d6-9aaf-5e1b-b1fb-87170e74cde4.html
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