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Dardenne Prairie aldermen approve conditional use permit for storage facility along Highway N

The Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen approved a controversial conditional use permit request that will allow a storage facility along Highway N in Dardenne Prairie – a request that was lambasted by nearby residents and business owners.

The board voted 5-1 at its Aug. 17 meeting to approve the permit for about five acres of land at 7351 Highway N about 900 feet east of Stump Road. Alderman Dan Koch [Ward 3] cast the lone vote against the permit.

Loradale Holding, LLC, sought the permit to build an indoor storage facility that could include as many as eight buildings. The land is zoned commercial and a storage facility is a permitted use, but requires a conditional use permit from the city.

Dale Stoecklein, the owner of the property, told aldermen that there may be a demand for storage facilities in the city, that the facility be fenced off along its perimeter and have security cameras, and would be buffered from nearby houses by trees.

Nearby business representatives who spoke at a public hearing in opposition said they were worried about crime and lowering of property values and business. Business offices, a strip mall or church would be more appropriate, they said.

“It seems to me that it totally veers away from what Dardenne Prairie is and what I would think the community would want Dardenne Prairie to continue to be,” said Christina Bogusky, who has a nearby printing business with her husband.

Mayor David Zucker, however, said the city is limited in its authority to turn down permits for a use allowed by its city code and a property owner has a right to develop his property.

“The government’s ability to legitimately retard the exercise of the owners property rights, that’s not an unlimited power,” Zucker said.

But Jane Ohmes, who along with her husband, Jay, developed offices near the site, said the city turned down a similar storage locker proposal for the same site in 2010. The city was now lowering its standards, she said. She asked if aldermen would like to live near a storage facility.

“I would bet a thousand dollars you would say no,” Ohmes said.

Koch said new aldermen and a mayor were elected because residents opposed apartment and other proposals over the last few years.

“Everybody got kicked out of office because the administration thought they knew better what the people needed than the people living there thought they needed,” he said. As an alderman, he said, his duty was to “do no harm.”

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