St. Clair County is looking to make land near Scott Air Force Base and MidAmerica Airport even more attractive to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
The St. Clair County Zoning Board of Appeals recommended removing the 35-foot height limit for government buildings and structures within the airport overlay district, with the intent of attracting the NGA West headquarters.
The current height restriction for all structures in the airport overlay district, which is the area around MidAmerica Airport and Scott Air Force Base, is 35 feet above ground level. Under the proposal, any nongovernmental building would still have to comply with the 35-foot restriction.
Zoning Director Anne Markezich said any governmental building would still need to meet the requirements of the airport and Air Force base.
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“The reason behind the proposed (text) amendment is to assist the county in the attraction of … the NGA facility, to relocate in St. Clair County,” Markezich said. “Any governmental entity, (whether) it be local, state or federal, shall not and I believe will not create any building or structure that would be injurious to general public.”
County officials hope a nearly 200-acre piece of land near MidAmerica and Scott Air Force Base is selected for the future location of the NGA facility, which is looking to move out of its St. Louis location. The facility would bring about 3,000 jobs.
Three other locations are under consideration: the demolished Pruitt-Igoe housing project in North St. Louis, the old Met Life insurance building in South St. Louis County, and the razed Chrysler car plant off Interstate 44, in Fenton, Mo.
The current NGA facilities at 3200 S. Second St. in St. Louis are housed in century-old buildings that pose security and safety concerns. The agency expects to move from that location by 2021.
The St. Clair County Board is now set to consider the text amendment proposal.
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern spoke in favor of the proposed zoning text amendment.
“We’re trying to remove all the restrictions that would stand in the way of NGA coming to MidAmerica Airport,” Kern said. “Making it easy for them is really what we’re all about. We’ve tried to remove all the obstacles, and this is just one that still remains.”