By BRIAN BIRDNOW
The St. Charles County Council convened on Monday, Jan. 13 for the first general meeting of calendar year 2020. The meeting, relatively short and understated in tone, addressed a number of topics left over from the meeting of Dec. 17, 2019, and took on a few new issues, as well.
The first order of business was to elect the new chairman and vice-chairman of the council, in accordance with established procedures.
John White, the 2019 council chair, solicited nominations for a successor, and for a vice-chairman, with their terms to begin immediately. Council member Mike Elam [District 3] nominated Terry Hollander [District 5] for the chairman position. Hollander’s nomination was seconded by Joe Brazil [District 2] and was approved unanimously.
Brazil then nominated Joe Cronin [District 1] for the vice-chairmanship. That nomination was seconded by Elam. The vote to confirm Cronin as vice-chairman also was unanimous.
Outgoing council chairman White thanked the board for the opportunity to serve as the 2019 chair, saying it had been a privilege as well as an honor, and he thanked all of the dedicated county workers who had made his task lighter over his year of service.
The council then moved to the regular meeting, dealing with approval of bids, bills for final passage, bills for introduction and other routine business. Toward the end of the meeting, Brazil announced that, as a result of County Resolution No. 19-08, Lake Saint Louis has withdrawn its proposed annexation of a portion of Black Walnut Tree Farm on the western edge of the city.
The annexation of the property became embroiled in struggle when Lake Saint Louis officials informed Joyce Wiley, the owner of this property, that they planned to annex a portion of the land she lived on and had tended for over 30 years. In appearances before the council on Nov. 25 and Dec. 17, Wiley shared that Lake saint Louis wanted to “involuntarily annex” 15 acres of her 20-acre property located off Duello Road. Wiley explained that she had maintained a Black Walnut tree farm on the property for 34 years and that she resides on 5 acres in the Duello Farmhouse. She described her struggle to maintain her property within unincorporated St. Charles County as “going on for several years.”
“They have been harassing me really for three years,” she said.
The council backed Wiley by passing County Resolution No. 19-08, which put the council on record as opposing Lake Saint Louis in this matter. Brazil stated that the moral force of the resolution, along with the practical steps taken by Wiley in hiring an attorney and working through the county assessor’s office, gave Lake Saint Louis officials reason to reconsider their plan. For now, Lake Saint Louis has withdrawn its proposal to annex the land against the wishes of the owner.
Wiley, in an interview, expressed great thanks to the council for their willingness to assist in this matter, and for instructing her in the procedures and particulars of dealing with county and municipal officials.