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South County council member plans to seek public hearing on controversial development

South County council member plans to seek public hearing on controversial development

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CLAYTON • The St. Louis County Council member representing South County said Tuesday that he would pursue a hearing to allow critics the opportunity to air concerns about the proposed development of a 232-unit apartment complex along a road that residents say is already too congested.

“Let’s not rush anything — let them have their say and we can go from there,” Councilman Kevin O’Leary said after the Tuesday meeting at which opponents launched the first volley in what could be a protracted fight to block the 17-acre project.

The county planning commission recommended earlier this month council approval of the development. The approval came despite nearly 200 South County residents showing up at a June public hearing to register their objections to the proposal.

“This proposed complex will change the fundamental nature of the neighborhood,” nearby resident Ernest Trakas told the council.

Trakas is a Republican candidate for the seat the retiring O’Leary will vacate after the November election.

Another resident, Bill Hogan, said opponents had garnered 1,600 signatures on petitions balking at the planned JHB Properties’ development.

“I have yet to meet one person who supports this project,” said resident David Gregory, a Republican seeking a South County seat in the Missouri House.

JHB Properties is seeking to begin construction on a vacant site at Tesson Ferry and Bauer Roads in the Concord section of unincorporated South County.

Residents contend the addition of the 232 apartments spread over 10 buildings will exacerbate congestion in an area that is already overrun with traffic.

“Bauer Road is the driveway to our homes,” Hogan told council members. “Our entrance and exit to the rest of the world is along Bauer Road.”

O’Leary said he planned to seek advice from council leadership on how to proceed with the hearing process.

The council, off next week to accommodate the primary election, will next convene on Aug. 9.

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Steve Giegerich is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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