The Lake Saint Louis Board of Aldermen heard complaints from Heritage of Hawks Ridge subdivision residents about damages to their homes, which they allege stem from the blasting of underground rock during the construction of the nearby Estates of Wyndstone subdivision.
Residents told city officials on Nov. 19 that they were particularly dissatisfied with how their damage claims were being handled. Residents and Alderman Gary Turner [Ward 3] said only eight of the 21 residents affected had received reports about damage claims. Residents said they were skeptical of the reports.
McBride & Son Homes is developing the more than 280-unit Wyndstone subdivision near Hwy. K, east of Duello Road. Elite Development is the management company of the development and Vibratech is the blasting firm. The blasting took place between April and October of 2018.
Linda Bird, a spokesperson for the residents, said one of the blasts in early April appeared to be above the state’s legal limits and did significant damage to her home.
“I went out front and I said, ‘what is this?’ The stone on both sides of our garage and on the south side of our house – this much of it gone, all dropped,” Bird told aldermen, demonstrating how much was missing. “Other blasts caused multiple cracks in the mortar. A contractor said the whole facade of the home has to be replaced. We’re talking a good chunk of money, we’re talking $13,000 to $15,000. We also had a new, big crack in our garage floor.”
The report back from Vibratech, which conducted a pre-blast survey of the residential property, indicated they were not responsible for damages because there were minuted cracks in the mortar to start with, Bird said. She added that Vibratech said trees and bushes also obscured other areas so the company wasn’t responsible.
“This is the kind of hogwash we are getting,” Bird said.
Bird said residents may write letters to the Missouri Attorney General’s office to help get the problem resolved.
Turner suggested some options the city might take, including contacting the State Fire Marshal’s office, complaining about the lack of timely reporting to residents who filed damage complaints and asking them to investigate whether blasting permit perimeters were violated by the developer.
Turner also suggested a 90-day moratorium on blasting inside the city limits near residential areas and not less than 300 feet from residential dwellings.
But while Turner suggested several options that the city could follow to help residents, he and other city officials may be limited in what they could do. Blasting is governed by Missouri statutes. The city can permit blasting activity but cannot prohibit or approve ordinances that are more restrictive than state law.
City Attorney Matt Reh said the city also may be limited in terms of imposing a moratorium.
Alderman Karen Vennard [Ward 2] suggested contacting local state representatives such as Sen. Bob Onder [R-District 2] since state representatives have more control in drafting legislation that can change state statutes. The aldermen agreed that it would be good if some revisions in blasting regulations were in place before more occurs with new development.