Rowles Seeks to Downsize Subdivision Plans

By Carol Arnett

The Rowles Company came before the Florissant City Council last week to ask about changing the plan for the Parkside development at 2315, 2355, and 2375 Charbonier Road, which is behind the Shop N Save on Shackelford and across from Koch Park.

The plan for the development was originally a subdivision of single family homes with approximately 1600 square feet, retailing for approximately $170,000.

If the changes requested are approved, the houses could be as small as 1200 square feet and sell for $140,000.

Scott Paul represented Rowles. “We have had only two sales in the last two years,” Paul said. “There are four homes currently in the subdivision and we own two of them,” he added.

He said the company had spoken to the two homeowners in the subdivision. “They agree with the changes. They want the area filled,” he said.

Councilman John Grib noted that the company originally presented the plan to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P and Z) in 2007, and P and Z denied it. “The council then overrode P and Z and passed the plan,” Grib said.

The city has gone out of its way to accommodate the Rowles Company,” Grib continued, “even through probably from the very start it wasn’t a good idea; at least P and Z didn’t think it was.”

Grib said that the company was the one that thought the project would work. “I don’t know if it’s our duty as a council to mitigate problems that occur,” he said.

Grib also said that he did not believe that changing the size from 1600 square feet to 1200 Square feet was a minor change. Although Paul said that the company believed they could sell smaller homes, Grib wasn’t sure. “Maybe you can, maybe you can’t,” he said. “You couldn’t sell them for $170,000 like you thought.

Councilman Pat Stinnett agreed with Grib that the size change was not minor. He said that the first plan presented called for 25,000 square feet home. “First it was 25,000, then 16,000, then 12,000 square feet. That’s in the neighborhood of an 80% reduction.

Paul said that the Rowles Company thought it would be better to change the plan in order to finish the project. “It’s better for the community to get it built up and get movement.

Three residents who live near the project spoke. All said they agreed with Grib that the plan should remain as is.

In other action, the council:

• Did not pass a bill amending the zoning code to allow for liquor stores as a special use in a B-4 Zoning District. The council was unanimous in voting no.

• Did not approve a request to rezone property at 520 Brown Street from Historic Residential to Historic Business. This property is behind Fritz’s Frozen Custard. The council was unanimous in denying the request.

• Passed a bill that allows Chipotle Grill at 2391 North Highway 67. This is part of the former Value City redevelopment.

•  Passed a bill authorizing the appropriation of $287,800 for renovation to Tower Court Park. This is the park at New Florissant Road between Washington and St. Catherine Streets. All but $5,000 of the funds are from a grant the city received. The tennis courts will be renovated, with new lights and fencing, and new restrooms will be put in.

•  Passed a bill rescinding a previous ordinance that approved the final subdivision plat of “Fluerissant Park Place,” at 1475 Carla Drive. This is the town home development at the end of New Florissant Road that was started a few years ago and never finished. With the plan rescinded, the property can be sold to a new owner.

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