The Kirkwood City Council on Sept. 2 denied a request for a zoning code change at 250 Commerce Ave.

The owner of the land parcel, which currently contains an unoccupied house, requested the zoning be changed from R-4 residential to R-MM, or “missing middle.” The change would allow multi-family dwellings and row houses to be constructed on the site.

The council voted 6-1 to deny the request. Most council members agreed that while Kirkwood is in need of more transitional housing, the particular lot in question is not suitable.

“This is a quaint neighborhood that has had residents there for decades. I think putting something like this in the middle would devalue the properties next to it,” said Council Member Liz Gibbons. “We need to protect our neighborhoods.”

Council Member Kara Wurtz cast the lone “yes” vote, urging the council to consider the future of population density in Kirkwood.

“A block down from this plat is a lot of duplexes that look really great in this neighborhood,” she said. “Just recently, we’ve been exploring options for how to better connect this neighborhood with downtown Kirkwood. You include that with missing middle. It’s scary because it’s new, but it’s the right way to look.”