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Raintree Learning Community May Move from Ballwin

Plans for a private school, the Raintree Learning Community, at Mason Road and Amonte Drive are being considered by the City of Town and Country, but there is a traffic concern.

The is a private school currently located at 265 Steamboat Lane in Ballwin. However, after six years at that location, the school's owner tells Patch they've outgrown their current building and want to build in Town and Country.

 Planning and Zoning Commission is reviewing plans for a new school to be built on a now vacant lot in the city, but those plans have some concerned about traffic in the area. 

Raintree owner, Ilya Eydelman, submitted preliminary site plans to the City of Town and Country for a 7,310-square-foot building in the 2000 block of Amonte Drive at Mason Road. 

"We're a very different kind of operation. We're a nature school. We're very focused on providing children with nature," Eydelman tells Patch. "We really focus on giving kids a natural place to explore and the 11 acres over on Amonte Drive seemed like the perfect place to do that."

Eydelman addressed the Planning and Zoning Commission on July 25 during a public hearing on the preliminary site development plan. He tells Patch the goal is to have the new school open for the 2013-2014 school year.

The school would be accessed from Mason Road, but the building itself would sit more than 300 feet back from the road.  

The one-story building on the almost 11-acres could accommodate up to 70 preschool and kindergarten students. The location is on the southern border of Town and Country, near Grand Glaize Creek. There are homes that border some of the proposed site which was initially approved to be Amonte Subdivision, according to the site development proposal. It included seven residential lots, but those homes were never built and that location remains vacant.

"We're not adding any new pavement. We're actually removing some pavement that's already there and giving it more green space," Eydelman explained. "We're leaving 91 percent of it undisturbed. We're a very green school, it's a green building."

He pointed out that Raintree's current location doesn't even have a playgound for children, but is surrounded by landscaping and nature for learning and exploring.

Although a traffic study conducted by a firm for Raintree showed the school should have "little impact" on traffic in the area, Town and Country Alderman Chuck Lenz tells Patch congestion there is his concern with the project.

"My big concern frankly is the traffic issue. They'll be coming between seven and nine and leaving between five and seven," Lenz explained. "They can say the 'traffic study,' but I go up and down the road about that time and I see cars backed up there."

However, Lenz points out he is not opposed to the school moving in, just wants to learn more about his concern.

"I want to see what planning and zoning decides. I haven't made a decision," Lenz tells Patch.

Eydelman tells Patch the traffic impact study was also reviewed by Town and Country's city traffic engineer.

It's now up to the Planning and Zoning Commission to make its recommendation on the school to the Town and Country Board of Aldermen, which will ultimately vote on the proposal.

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