Old house renovation sparks dissent as homeowners seek revised zoning classification | Chesterfield

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Many area residents seem furious about what is happening at the Old House property at 14319 Olive Blvd. at Chesterfield. Nearly 50 people registered to speak at the Planning Commission’s more than two-hour public hearing on September 12.

The house’s new owners, Scott and Shelley Ririe, plan to turn the house into an events center to be used for gatherings such as bridal showers, business meetings, wine tastings and other events. As such, they plan to serve alcohol and provide prepared meals.

Being a fan of Naples, Florida, Scott said their first idea was to create a “Naples in Chesterfield” with a shop in the main house and smaller shops outside where artists could sell merchandise, such as ceramics and clothing. However, the couple determined that the 2-acre property was not big enough for such an endeavor.

Plan B was to use the house as an event space and open a weekend winery, Scott said.

Sometimes they were slow to turn in paperwork on time, but they received approval from the city of Chesterfield for the event space and received all the appropriate permits from St. Louis County in June 2021, he said. note.

In an effort to prepare the house for use as an event venue, its interior has been completely renovated and a large patio has been added. The house was also removed from a septic tank and moved to the Metropolitan Sewer District service area.

While residents have expressed concern about large gatherings and loud music on the property, general manager Heather Everett said the facility won’t be a large venue with more than 100 people, but will be geared towards larger events. intimate. She said she was considering quaint dinner parties, couples retreats, book groups and family reunions.

“We want people to feel like guests in our home, we want to share it with the world,” she said.

The site will accommodate 30 parking spaces but a shuttle service can also be used to transport visitors to and from the site. The patio is designed to accommodate 15 tables outside and music would be played through loudspeakers.

Scott added that an acoustic engineer checked the noise level of the planned surround sound system.

“It won’t be a concert,” he said.

The proposed hours of operation of the site are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.

Commissioner Steve Wuennenberg suggested the plan could be tastefully done, but the potential 60 people is a “fairly large crowd outside”.

In addition to those who had concerns, several people spoke out in favor of the proposal.

Jane Durrell, a member of the Chesterfield Historic and Landmark Preservation Committee, said she would like the house to remain a destination site. She suggested that all parties involved make small efforts to accommodate others.

“I love this place,” she said. “Any alternative to that would be awful, denser, noisier, and much less beautiful. It’s such an asset to the community.”

Christopher Melkus of Creve Coeur said he visited the house and thought it would be a great place for him and his friends.

“I love the historic, old-school vibe of the place,” he said.

However, Kent Higginbotham, who lives just 33ft from the site, was not so impressed. It is a member of the 50-villa subdivision The Mansions at Spyglass Summit, which it calls a “very desirable location.”

He said he and his neighbors have invested significant dollars in upgrading units, with sales approaching or exceeding $600,000. He said the quality of construction, beautiful landscaping, privacy and security of the location keep the values ​​high.

“For almost 30 years the old house in Hog ​​Hollow existed as an antique shop. There was traffic and parking during the day, but no activity in the evening and the impact on Spyglass Summitt was minimal “, said Higginbotham. “For all these years, Old House at Hog Hollow and Spyglass have coexisted peacefully and quietly.”

Now he fears anything to lose.

Along the western and northern boundaries of the property there has been significant screen clearance, exposing the homes to noise and traffic from Olive Boulevard. Trees were felled, some exceeding 30 inches in diameter, he said.

He added that a privacy fence that is only partially completed is inadequate. With the proposed use of the property, owners expect to see a 7-8 foot privacy fence installed that is solid from the ground up, as well as a 3-4 foot berm, it said. He suggests. They would also like a line of trees to be established to dampen noise coming from the property.

Other residents who spoke included Bernard Mayor, of the Paddington Hill Subdivision, who pointed out that since the house is listed on the historic ledger, there are guideline pages that must be adhered to .

“This particular property is a landmark for Chesterfield,” he said. “Changing this integrity is unwarranted.”

Neil Frederickson said no notice was given to residents about the proposed project. However, Mayor Bob Nation said the city is trying to follow the process and be transparent.

The owners are requesting a rezoning from non-urban with a historic overlay to a planned commercial district. There was no vote on rezoning at the meeting.

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