Toy Box development moves to Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen

Planning & Zoning Commission gives its blessing despite opposition


“Man cave” storage facilities are all the rage. Developments are springing up all across the country – possibly even in Lake Ozark.
At its regular Oct. 11 meeting, members of the city of Lake Ozark Planning and Zoning Commission approved the project site plan for the Toy Box storage/condo development slated for land at the Horseshoe Bend Parkway and Bagnell Dam Boulevard intersection.
The site plan calls for eight buildings that, when completed, could house 207 units or fewer, if some buyers want more than one space. Two of those buildings sit atop the bluff, providing a several-mile view of the Lake. The Toy Box development will sit on the lower portion of the property adjacent to the Blue Heron. The upper 8.5 acre-property, which includes the scenic overlook and lot next to Baxter’s, is listed for sale separately, at a price of $4.5 million.
Although some have voiced distaste for being greeted by storage units as they turn on Horseshoe Bend, Lake Ozark Mayor Dennis Newberry, who, as a Realtor handled the property for the owner, said in a later interview that this will not be “your typical storage complex.”
He said that in addition to a 60-foot-deep bay with overhead door, each unit will be completely insulated and will include electric, plumbing and HVAC to serve the one-bedroom, one-bath units that will be outfitted with a kitchenette and a loft. He said it will be a “high-end” development offering amenities like a pool, dog park and both indoor and outdoor pickleball courts and the facades will, at minimum, meet the city’s commercial architectural guidelines.
“The developer is still tweaking the design features – colors, materials – but they will be very nice and provide a refreshing new look. They will be anything but an eyesore,” Newberry said.
The P&Z approval was given at the meeting contingent upon two stipulations. The first requires the developers to replat some of the lots in order to make them one larger plat and accommodate their plans, a simple process and one frequently handled, according to City Administrator Harrison Fry.
“Before they will be able to get a building permit, they will have to work with staff, the planning and zoning commission, the board of aldermen and their surveyor to get that approved and recorded at the county so that the new legal descriptions for the property match their intended zoning plan,” he explained.
The second contingency requires the developer to obtain the needed right-of-way from both the city and the Horseshoe Bend Special Road District, where the entrance of the development will be located on a strip of land that runs parallel with the Parkway. The Road District boundary ends and the city’s begins at the property line with the former Blue Heron.
“From our standpoint, the public works director and I will have to determine if it really is excess right-of-way that won’t be needed in the future to widen the road or add a water main. We’ve vacated property with other developers and we’ve just required them to pay the closing and recording costs. In an instance like this, where it’s closer to a half-acre, we’ve handled it as a sale,” Fry said. “I believe they have prepared an offer but that is something they will have to negotiate with the board of aldermen. If they’re not able to reach a resolution on that, they’ll have to rework some of their site plans.”

Public opposition

Around 50 people showed up at the P&Z meeting where the site plan for the Toy Box project was presented. A handful, none of whom are residents of Lake Ozark, urged commissioners to put the project on hold or stop it completely. Before the public comment section of the meeting opened, City Attorney Chris Rohrer talked about what is and what isn’t under the city’s control and the responsibility of the commission.
“The purpose of the Planning and Zoning Commission is to assure that the proposed use of the property conforms with our zoning ordinances, and that the site plan before them tonight meets the criteria set forth in our code,” he said. He added that the developer did not ask for financing assistance via Tax Increment Financing or a Community Improvement District, both of which use sales tax to pay for infrastructure.
“None of those apply to this project nor have they been applied for by the developer,” Rohrer said.
Rohrer also said the blasting and reports that rocks and dirt were falling into the Lake were not in the purview of the city and would not be considered by the commission as they voted.

Mary Boer, owner of Blue Heron land adjacent to the project, was first to speak. She said the proposed development had impacted her life and her entrance to the Blue Heron. However, at an earlier meeting of the Horseshoe Bend Special Road District, Road District officials informed Boer that the first 12 feet of the access road leading to the Blue Heron were on county right-of-way. Road District officials said the Boer property didn’t start until the blue gates she had installed so the entrance to the project was on county right-of-way and would conform to road district’s guidelines of limiting access to the Parkway. Road District officials also said the steel guardrails should never have been allowed.
Boer also expressed concern about stormwater runoff and the debris falling into the Lake during blasting, especially since there was no safety net or caution sign to alert boaters to the danger.
Michael Elliott, the Realtor representing Mary Boer in the sale of her property, said they had a buyer interested in building a 300-room hotel with an attached conference center, upscale spa and three restaurants. However, after the buyers learned they would have to share the entrance, they pulled out. Elliott said the project was damaging the property value of Boer’s land and expressed concerns about traffic back-ups that could occur with a gated entrance.
Missy Martinet Pinkel asked what response city officials thought they would get if they asked for a show of hands from those who supported this type of a business, “because we’re all intelligently wanting economic growth, but is this the growth we want?” She said the property was better suited to shops and boutiques, and she also questioned whether city officials had considered the cost of providing water and sewer – or whether the systems could even handle the additional demand.
After she sat down, Doug Apperson, one of the developers on the project, stepped up to the podium.
“Miller Companies has been our engineer from the start and we have worked with the city on the water and sewer part of the project. The water line is already close to the property. The sewer has plenty of capacity to handle (the project) and the line is just across the road. The site itself was just a ravine for the last 25 years. We couldn’t sell it because it would cost too much to fill in so it could be used so we decided to do something with the property ourselves,” he said, adding that renderings would be coming in the near future.
Peter and Susan Brown, whose father developed much of Horseshoe Bend, said the Parkway wasn’t made for all the traffic it handles from the development that’s already taken place and warned that additional traffic from the project could prevent fire trucks from getting down the Bend.
A couple others voiced similar concerns.
Andy Prewitt was the lone public voice supporting the project, giving kudos to the developer for taking the risk.
“Every time we develop a property there’s always concern in the community - and you have to take that into account, but at the end of the day the people who own the property are in charge of development,” he said. “I also don’t think it’s fair for someone who doesn’t own the property, who’s outside city limits to come in and say, ‘I don’t like the blasting,’ and influence how things will go. I think you should look at safety but I also think you should give him a chance to develop.”
Lee Schuman, the project engineer who designed the layout, said the gate was far enough into the property to avoid traffic back-ups on the Parkway. He also addressed concerns about the entrance.
“Horseshoe Bend Parkway is 40 feet wide and three lanes across. The proposed entrance upgrade would make this driveway approach 67 feet wide. This would actually be wider than Horseshoe Bend Parkway to allow for turning movements. The entrance to the development would have 16-foot lanes. Your standard lane width is 10 feet – the minimum by federal highway designation,” he told the commissioners, adding that the lane width and 25-foot radius would make it easy to turn.
Apperson added that the coded gate would sit 60 feet into the property.
Schuman also confirmed that the entrance was entirely on land deeded to the road district by the Missouri Department of Transportation and not on private property.