Heading west from St. Louis on I-64, just over the Missouri River bridge, bluffs rise and land rolls. There is a golf course (hard to see) and a corporate campus area. With a St. Charles County zoning change, a high-density 350 luxury home development could soon alter 200 of these bluff acres.
Conservationist and landowner Dan Burkhardt, guest for this Earthworms edition, was surprised in December to learn that bluff property owned by the University of Missouri was in a sale process to a home developer. His Katy Land Trust was formed to prevent just this kind of move. Adjacent to the Busch and Weldon Spring Conservation Areas - land purchased and given into care of the Missouri Department of Conservation in the 1950s and 70s respectively - the forested Missouri Bluffs acreage in question is currently zoned Agricultural.
The outcome of a public hearing on February 21 by the St. Charles County Planning and Zoning Commission is key to a requested zoning change to Medium- and High-Density Residential, to accommodate the proposed development. The Katy Land Trust is leading opposition to this change. Public comments will be considered in person, and via email before 2-21-18.
Burkhardt and his wife Connie farm their acreage near Marthasville, in a corridor of natural features, German cultural heritage, a thriving regional arts movement and public recreation that is anchored by Katy Trail State Park, with a link to St. Louis in process from Great Rivers Greenway.
Tourism in this heart of Missouri's wine country increasingly returns investments in these resources to all Missourians - and our visitors. Opponents of an intensive luxury housing development here note that that investment will return to very few, and diminish public benefits.
This is an important point for public input. As Dan Burkhardt says, Asphalt is the Last Crop.
Music: Deep Gap, performed live at KDHX by Marisa Anderson
THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer
EARTHWORMS is produced as a volunteer community service. Views expressed by volunteer host are her own, and not intended to represent KDHX St. Louis Independent Media or any other organization. Guest views, and the organizations they represent, are clearly presented in each interview, and in accompanying texts.