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Dardenne Prairie works on annexation plan, sets sights on April ballot

Dardenne Prairie officials hope to have any involuntary annexations of unincorporated islands of property adjacent or surrounded by city boundaries on next April’s ballot.

Mayor David Zucker said city officials are still formulating a plan for annexing as many as 20 or so small unincorporated parcels. City officials will reach out to property owners and seek voluntary annexations and failing that, may proceed with involuntary annexations.

Involuntary annexations require the city to fill suit to obtain a circuit court judgment to place them on the ballot to be approved by voters.

Much of the parcels that could be involuntarily annexed are areas envisioned for commercial development, Zucker said. However, some are zoned residential and Zucker said, “I want then in so we can manage the residential property.”

The issue came to the fore when the St. Charles County Commission approved a conditional use permit that will allow a 38-bed rehabilitation facility on an unincorporated 5.68-acre tract along Hwy. N and Monet Drive. The tract is largely surrounded by city boundaries.

Zucker and aldermen told residents of the adjacent Canvas Cove subdivision on Sept. 7 that the city has little control over the property because it isn’t inside its boundaries.

“Here’s the life lesson I want to share with the board,” Zucker said at the time.  “You look at that map you see white squares or white spots all over Dardenne Prairie. That’s unincorporated St. Charles County, which means we have no jurisdiction as to building code or zoning uses.”

Zucker said City Attorney John Young is developing  a “game plan” for undertaking as many of these annexations as possible.

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