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Council mows down plan for lawn care business | Business

It doesn’t look like a Fenton-area couple’s plans to move their lawn care business will take root.

Terry and Kelly Obermiller asked the county to rezone half of a 10-acre lot near Diehl and Old Sugar Creek roads in the Jefferson County portion of Fenton from residential to planned commercial development. They planned to move their Genuine Lawn Care business from 38 E. Lakewood, also in the Fenton area.

“We’ve been in business for 20 years,” said Terry Obermiller. “We’ve been looking all over for a place to expand. This place is on the other side of the hill where we live. It would be perfect for us.”

The Jefferson County Council, which has the sole authority to rezone property in unincorporated areas, voted unanimously Oct. 24 to approve a resolution to deny the Obermillers’ application.

The Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission, which advises the County Council on rezoning matters, had voted 5-0 on Oct. 13 to recommend denial of the Obermillers’ request.

At the Oct. 13 meeting before the P and Z board, Terry Obermiller said he and his wife have a contingency contract to purchase the 10-acre property, which is not developed and is largely flat. However, it is surrounded by homes on larger lots, which was a point brought up by Ashley Nagle, who lives on Old Sugar Creek Road and was the sole person to speak against the request.

“I’m concerned about privacy,” she said. “I’m concerned about safety and people coming in and out to this business that I don’t even know. I’d rather have a house there than a business with workers and customers. There are plenty of businesses in High Ridge that people can go to.”

Nagle said traffic generated by the business also was a concern.

“You don’t know how busy it is and how many people run the stop sign (at Diehl and Old Sugar Creek). Then you add in a business and people coming and going,” she said. “You’re adding noise.”

Dave Vonarx of VonArx Engineering in Hillsboro, who represented the Obermillers, said Genuine Lawn Care is a small company, with most of its business done off-site.

“It would generate maybe 10 to 15 trips daily, approximately 20 percent of what could be generated if the lot were developed fully under the current residential zoning,” he said. “A business would not result in school buses being added to the mix.”

Vonarx also pointed out that the county has more control over a planned commercial development than the current residential zoning.

“As far as noise is concerned, it’s not a high-intensity use,” he said. “It’s a lawn care business. They would keep their products and equipment on site, but most of the work is done at their clients’ homes.”

Terry Obermiller said that if the business had been allowed to move to the new location, he planned to double his employee rolls from five to 10 workers.

“Do we leave it like it is or will you allow us to put something nice there?” he said.

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