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Sparks fizzle as County Council tables rezoning, water tower issues

At a fairly heavily attended meeting on the night of Monday, Feb. 24, the St. Charles County Council returned to two highly contentious issues leftover from its previous meeting of two weeks ago.

On the agenda were:

• Bill 4815, which would rezone land from agricultural to single-family residential at Meinershagen Road to South Point Prairie Road

• Bill 4816, which would affirm the Board of Zoning Adjustment decision to allow the building of a 140-foot water tower at 530 Knaust Road.

Those two proposals initially faced strong opposition from a largely hostile crowd on Feb. 10. The crowd size at the Feb. 24 meeting, while smaller, still exceeded the norm for county council meetings.

The meeting convened on time and began normally with the invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, and roll call, which showed council members Joe Cronin [District 1] and John White [District 7] absent from the meeting.

With the appropriate fanfare, the council announced the donation of a bomb detection Labrador retriever by the Ryan Griffin Foundation to the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department. However, when the meeting turned to the bills 4815 and 4816 for final passage, what was anticipated as a continuation of the sparks that flew on Feb. 10 quickly faded.

The clerks read into record Bill 4815, which initially was sponsored by council member Joe Brazil [District 2] and strongly opposed by citizens who lived in the area and saw no reason to change the zoning. Then, the full council in attendance accepted the recommendation of council member Mike Elam [District 3] that the bill should be tabled for the time being, pending further consideration. Brazil advised that the council should not take this measure up for a vote with two members absent from the meeting.

Bill 4816, which would allow Missouri-American Water Company to construct a 140-foot water tower at 530 Knaust Road, near the St. Charles County-O’Fallon border, also was read into record. The proposal, sponsored by Elam, was hotly opposed at the Feb. 10 meeting. At the Feb. 24 meeting, however, the opposition was largely absent, as rumor had spread that the council would table the measure.

Rene Lawrence, the Missouri-American Water Company chief engineer on the project, came to the meeting, as did a company attorney, and offered to answer questions and field complaints, if necessary. Those offers proved unnecessary, as the council did indeed table the issue again citing the absence of Cronin and White.

In other news, the council announced acceptance of an efficiency grant of $55,597 from the Missouri Secretary of State to the County Election Authority for election activities, equipment purchases and maintenance, records recording and polling place accessibility.

Finally, the council announced a program services contract with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for Hepatitis Type A reimbursement, up to a total of $12,033.

The council meets again on March 9.

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