FRONTENAC — The city’s planning and zoning commission unanimously rejected St. Louis County Library District’s proposed administrative and genealogy center on Tuesday night, but despite strong community opposition, the $20 million project near Clayton and South Spoede roads is expected to move forward.
The library district, as a political subdivision of the state, isn’t subject to Frontenac zoning ordinances, and its board of trustees, by resolution, can overrule the city. The five-member library board is scheduled to meet July 15, but could hold a special meeting before then.
Given the district already paid $6.1 million for four homes on Spoede, the board is likely to approve its own plan.
If the planning meeting is any indication, the library will have unhappy neighbors. About 150 residents showed up, many to speak against the library plan. Opponents complained the new 81,574-square-foot building will increase traffic on Spoede by adding 170 weekday library employees, as well as visitors and genealogy researchers. The plan includes 227 parking spaces for cars, and 45 more to accommodate vans, trucks and bookmobiles.
Several residents also said they were skeptical because the library did not obtain an appraisal before it acquired the four Spoede properties, including the residence of a Frontenac alderman.
The new administration and genealogy building will replace the current headquarters at 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard, across from Plaza Frontenac. That building will stay open while the Spoede building is under construction, and will eventually become a new library branch.
The city issued a press release Wednesday, saying the library proposal is not “in keeping with zoning ordinances or the intent of the comprehensive plan of the city.”