Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Board Tables Plans for Development

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Board Tables Plans for Development

Article excerpt

St. Peters' struggle with a developer over about four acres of land next to Laurel Park took an uncertain turn last week, when aldermen tabled a proposal that would have put the city's efforts on a fast track.

St. Peters wants the land to expand the park. Kaplan Development owns the land and wants to build 15 houses on it.

Alderman Len Pagano, 3rd Ward, said St. Peters should be able to acquire the land to ensure the future development of the park on the south side of the city. Pagano also said that previous plans for building houses there were unacceptable to city planners.

Kaplan bought the property from an investment firm about nine months ago, says Charlie Licavoli, vice president. He said Kaplan would sell the land - which he said is closer to 5 acres - for exactly what the company had put into it: $160,000. He said Kaplan would not donate the land, as the city had suggested.

St. Peters has rejected two plans from Kaplan for building 15 houses on the land. The first plan would have provided access to the new houses through Huntleigh Estates. Another plan would have required access through Laurel Park to McClay Road.

"That didn't even go before Planning and Zoning because the city engineers already had rejected it," Pagano said. "To the best of my knowledge, no development has ever had a road going through a park."

Licavoli countered that "it's against the law to landlock a piece of property. We have an easement through the park, and if that's the only way we can go . . . "

At Thursday night's regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen, Pagano introduced a resolution that would have continued an effort by St. Peters to seek money from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to help buy the land and develop it as part of Laurel Park.

The resolution also would have given the city administrator authorization to obtain an appraisal of the property and negotiate a purchase price with Kaplan. If Kaplan were not interested in selling the property, then the resolution would have authorized St. Peters to proceed with eminent-domain action to acquire the land.

City attorney Rollin Moerschel advised the aldermen that the wording in the resolution on acquiring the property by eminent domain was incomplete and recommended that it be scratched. …

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