The Ballwin Board of Aldermen approved plans for a 10-foot fence and other measures meant to provide more privacy for neighbors of a pending Schnucks grocery store, providing an exception to city law following disputes by neighbors of the project that date back to 2009.
The unanimous decision Monday will allow Schnucks representatives to build a fence two feet higher than what the city presently allows for commercial properties.
Project plans also include a berm around select parts of the property meant to serve as a buffer between the residential and commercial spaces. David Fontana, Vice President of Real Estate for Schnuck Markets, said the details of the berm still are in flux, however, in part because of miscommunication between project engineers.
“There were some plans circulated that did not have the berm everywhere at that height,” Fontana said. “There are a couple of spots where we’ll build the berm to three feet and it’s possible we’ll go higher.”
Fontana said revised plans for the berm will be submitted to the city at a later date.
The 41,000 square-foot store, which is being constructed at the southeast corner of Clarkson and Kehrs Mill roads, was the focus of a lawsuit filed in 2009 on behalf of residents who said the Schnucks would hurt local property values. The court ultimately sided with the City of Ballwin and Schnuck Markets, indirectly green-lighting Ballwin's second Schnucks grocery store.
Since that ruling, neighbors of the site and Schnucks representatives have had ongoing discussions about the project's visual impact on the surrounding area.
Bob Bohlmann, one of several residents with property adjacent to the store, thanked the board Monday for its approval.
"Speaking for those neighbors, I just want to say the surrounding neighbors of the Schnucks property would like to thank the board, the mayor and the city officials for accepting the plan,” Bohlmann said. “All the neighbors supported this plan and we thank everyone for working quickly through the process.”