When we learned of a proposal to tear down the old Pasta House at 12425 Dorsett Road and rebuild, we thought it was an opportunity for positive change.  We spoke too soon.

At the Planning Commission meeting on December 11, the engineer and lawyer representing developer Baldridge Properties, LLC, insisted on pushing forward with their initial, uninspired plan for a strip retail building.

You should know:
  • The old Pasta House is approximately 3,000 sq. ft.  
  • The proposed new building would be 6,375 sq. ft.  
  • To make the building fit on the property, there is only two feet of clearance on the east and west sides--not enough to comply with the city's landscaping code.
  • But there is enough room to provide 158% of the parking requirement.


In response to a series of questions posed at the November 27 commission meeting, the developer essentially said, "Yeah, we're not that interested in what you want."

The Commission was not pleased.  Neither are we.

  1. First, there is the problem of not meeting the city's landscape requirement.
  2. Second, there is a complete lack of effort to cooperate or compromise.
  3. Third, their plan replaces one eyesore with another and fails to recognize the potential of the Great Streets project that will be conceptualized in the next six months. 

If this proposal goes to our City Council as-is, they should respond, "Yeah, we're not that interested in what you want."
Join us for the 6th annual Save Our Park Trivia Night!  
A benefit to save local farmland and Creve Coeur Park from

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2012
Maryland Heights Community Centre
2344 McKelvey Road, Maryland Heights, MO 63043

Doors Open at 6:15 p.m.
Trivia Starts at 7 p.m.
Table of 8 is $160, individuals $25. 

There will be a Raffle, Silent Auction and games throughout the evening.  Soda and snacks are provided while they last. You are welcome to bring your own 
snacks and drinks.

To reserve your table, download the registration form or e-mail us at marylandheightsresidents@gmail.com. Hurry, space limits us to 21 tables! 

Whether or not you foster fond memories of the Pasta House restaurant on Dorsett near McKelvey Road, you no doubt have noticed what an eyesore it has become since it closed.

Take heart:  the landowner there has submitted a preliminary development plan to raze the old restaurant and build a new multi-tenant building in its place.  No leases have been signed, but tenants could include something along the lines of an eye glass company, cell phone retailer and possibly a small restaurant.  On October 9, the Planning & Zoning Commission approved the plan with modifications, which primarily are aimed at improvements to the building's design features.

Another, perhaps greater, concern is how the new building will help or hinder the effort to move Dorsett Road toward becoming a "Great Street" (see post below), that is, more pedestrian and bike friendly with a unique character.  Merely replacing the Pasta House with a newer version of the same thing does not contribute to the city's own initiative to bring more distinctive character to the neighborhood.

Many buildings along the Dorsett/McKelvey business district are older and may come up for replacement at some point.  We should take every opportunity, including the one with the Pasta House location, to make sure we are creating the community and street-scape that we want, and not just perpetuating the past.

Dorsett Road:  Love it or hate it, it is the main drag through Maryland Heights. But is it "Main St."?  

If a "Main St." is a place of unique character, pedestrian life and thriving commerce, probably not.  But could it be, with a little planning, imagination and money?  We'll see.

A Post-Dispatch article recently reported "A corridor from Lindbergh Boulevard to Creve Couer Park was selected by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments for its Great Streets Initiative. The project strives to create what it's name suggests — a great street.

"The program is defined around seven keys points, everything from economic development to environmentally best practices and making sure the roadway functions for all users, not just those in cars," said Paul Hubbman, senior management of corridor and long-range planning for East-West Gateway.

We think Dorsett Rd. is an interesting choice because Maryland Heights is a younger, suburban location without the historical character and infrastructure of, for example, South Grand or Maplewood, where other Great Streets Initiatives have been implemented. Could we really develop a Main St., over time, of the caliber of Webster Groves or University City?

We don't know.  But we think it's an interesting question.  People in Maryland Heights have strong feelings about their community.  We hope they use those strong feelings to fuel their participation in this project at every opportunity.  

I know, I know.... You've been wanting to clean out the office and the basement and the garage, but you don't want to throw all that stuff in the trash. What to do? Check out our events page for some nearby electronics recycling events, clothing drives and document shredding events. Protect your private information, while cleaning out your house. Don't wait any longer, the time is now!!!

Once you finish clearing the junk from your house, clear the cobwebs from your head. Pick up a Passport to Meramec Trails from the Open Space Council and challenge family and friends to a hike outdoors.

Looking for an outdoor activity, but not up to a hike? Join St. Louis Audubon and the Academy of Science for the Creve Coeur Park BioBlitz on May 26th!
An encouraging sign in last week's election was how the mayoral candidates' stance on big box retail development -- pro and con -- decided the election.  According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Voters in Wildwood gave Mayor Tim Woerther another term in office in what was seen as a referendum on future development in the city."

"Woerther said his victory shows that people in Wildwood don't want to 'go chasing commercial development' just for the sake of getting it, and that his city is on the right path in terms of sustained development."

Perhaps the best line in the article reads, "Woerther has said that he doesn't want the 17-year-old Wildwood 'to look like the rest of St. Louis County'."  Read the full article here.

It's refreshing to see a local elected official standing up for a better vision of his city, a vision not defined by what is a good deal for a developer or even a short-term monetary gain for the city, but a sustainable future.  We in Maryland Heights need to have the same robust public discussion on sustainable development in our city, and that is a discussion that should be led by, well, our leaders.
Hundreds of people have signed up for our email alerts over the last four years to keep up with the latest development proposals near Creve Coeur Park.  We're switching to a new email service, so to keep the information coming, please sign up  for email alerts AGAIN with the link at right.

We expect developers of Maryland Pointe to return with a conceptual plan for their big-box development in the next few months.  Stay on top of the news by re-subscribing! 
There will be competition for City Council seats in Wards 1 and 2 in Maryland Heights.  Who sits on City Council has a lot to say about the direction of our city, so know your ward and know your candidates!  

See the candidates on Patch.com.
Find out which ward you're in.

Mark your calendar to vote on April 2!
Come join us for a night of fun at our annual Trivia Night fundraiser. Grab your friends and neighbors and test your knowledge while supporting our efforts to save the floodplain by Creve Coeur Park from massive commercial development.

MHRRG has been partnering with the Open Space Council to help educate the community on the plans that Maryland Heights, St. Louis County and certain landowners have come up with to pave over farmland and wetlands adjacent to Creve Coeur Park. We will have more information available during the trivia night and have people on hand to answer questions before the event begins.

This event is MHRRG's main fundraiser for the year, please help us make it successful! There will be a Raffle and Silent Auction conducted throughout the evening as well as extra games thrown in for fun. Put together a table of 8 people and come have some fun!
For more information and registration form, go here.
We need your ideas and help to make our 5th Annual Trivia Night a great success on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012!  

We spent down a large portion of our reserves this fall with mailed notices and educational outreach on the Maryland Pointe development skirmish with Planning & Zoning.  

Now we need to refill the coffers so we can continue to fight when Maryland Pointe developers bring their initial design plan to the city.

Our first planning meeting for Trivia Night will be featured at Second Saturday this weekend. We're looking for volunteers to organize, publicize, solicit prizes from local businesses, and help us run the event. We also need supporters to recruit players for the fun evening we have in store. 

It doesn't matter if you have experience or not, we're all in it together. Sharing our knowledge and having fun! 

Save It, Don't Pave It! Here's how you can help:

Second Saturday Meeting
Saturday, Dec. 10, 2012
St. Louis Bread Co. at Westport 
Drop in between 9:30-11:00 a.m.