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O’Fallon approves December bills, April ballot measures in early 2020 meetings

At its Jan. 9 and Jan. 23 meetings, the O’Fallon City Council approved significant bills originally introduced, discussed and debated in December 2019.

Bill No. 7153, sponsored by Ward 3 council members Dale Kling and Nathan Bibb, approves an agreement with the city of O’Fallon and St. Charles County [SCC] for the use of SCC Transportation Sales Tax funds to construct a new roadway named Caledonia Parkway. This project will provide design and construction services to construct the new road from approximately Route DD to the I-64 Outer Road. Caledonia Parkway will be an arterial road consisting of up to five lanes that will function as an outer road connecting Route N and Route DD – taking some local traffic volume off the highway system, improving health and public safety and creating better connectivity between cities. The bill was passed 10-0 at the Jan. 9 meeting.

Bill No. 7154.1, also sponsored by Kling and Bibb, authorizes a Development Agreement between the city of O’Fallon and DD Land Development, LLC, developers of the Streets of Caledonia. The mixed-use development will include 159 acres of single-family homes and townhouses supported by 100 acres of site-prepared commercial property. This development agreement is intended to trigger significant and vital infrastructure investments funded by the developer, leveraging more than $6.4 million in capital improvements funded mostly by the Missouri Department of Transportation [MoDOT] and the St. Charles County Road Board. At the Jan. 9 meeting, the bill was passed 7-3, with council members Jeff Kuehn [Ward 4], Debbie Cook [Ward 5] and Rose Mack [Ward 2] voting against the measure.

Bill No. 7157, sponsored by Kling and Bibb, approves Phase 1 of residential housing in the Streets of Caledonia development off Hwy. DD, near I-64 and Winghaven Boulevard. The property is zoned R3-PUD. The O’Fallon Planning & Zoning Commission [P&Z] had recommended denial. At the Jan. 9 meeting, the bill was passed 7-3, with Kuehn, Cook and Mack voting in opposition. The council members voting “no” expressed their concerns about insufficient plans to preserve existing trees, potentially inadequate stormwater retention plans, the small sizes of homes and lots, and the recommendation of denial from P&Z.

Bill No. 7158, sponsored by Ward 1 council members Dave Hinman and Deana Smith, grants a Conditional Use Permit [CUP] to Steve and Patti Jones of Missouri Great Dane. The property at 404 S. Cool Springs Road is zoned I-2/Heavy Industrial District. The company will construct a parking lot addition on the parcel directly to the east of its current location. This area had been partially cleared and graded in a previously-approved site plan. The applicant now will expand the parking lot into that area to allow for additional space for trailers and recreational vehicles. Accordingly, an expansion of the previously approved CUP is required. The bill was passed 10-0 at the Jan. 9 meeting.

Bill No. 7159.1, sponsored by Mayor Bill Hennessy, will ask city voters in the April 7 municipal election to consider approving a use tax at the same rate as the city’s local sales tax. The use tax was previously presented to the voters in 2018 and was defeated. Discussions in 2019 between city staff and the council made it clear that a comprehensive communication and education program will be needed prior to the April 7 election. Mid Rivers Newsmagazine previously published a story about the use tax bill on Dec. 21, 2019. At the Jan. 9 meeting, the bill passed 10-0.

Also sponsored by Hennessy, Bill No. 7167.1 will submit amendments to the O’Fallon City Charter to voters in the April 7 municipal election. The most significant proposed amendments are for term limits, including limiting city council members to four consecutive 3-year terms and limiting the mayor limited to three consecutive 4-year terms [excluding any service from an appointment or election prior to April 7].

Other proposes amendments include updating legislative procedures, tightening ethics requirements, reinforcing merit system employment practices, clarifying procedures related to budget adoption and bonds, providing for broader participation in the initiative and referendum process, and adopting gender-neutral language. Bill No. 7167.1 passed 9-0 at the Jan. 23 City Council Meeting. Mack was excused from the meeting and did not cast a vote.

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