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Water tower, rezoning issues return to County Council agenda

On March 9, the St. Charles County Council revisited multiple contentious issues leftover from its February meetings. 

One of those matters was the fate of Bill No. 4815, which, if passed, would rezone a tract of land spanning from Meinershagen Road to South Point Prairie Road from agricultural to single-family residential at the request of South Meiners Land Development, LLC.  The rezoning was requested with the intent to build a 28-lot single-family residential subdivision with lot sizes of over 3 acres.

The council also discussed Bill No. 4816, which if passed, would affirm the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment’s decision to permit the construction of a 140-foot water tower at 530 Knaust Road.

Both bills previously faced a hostile reception from a large crowd at the council’s Feb. 10 meeting, and were tabled at the subsequent meeting on Feb. 24. The final disposition of the bills remained uncertain until they were placed on the agenda for discussion at the March 9 meeting.  

On Feb. 10, multiple residents told the council that they favored the current zoning classification and saw no reason for anything to change. However, proponents of the rezoning stated that expansion in the nearby city of Wentzville is inevitable, and that the rezoning would allow for more managed and planned community growth down the line. After some discussion, the council voted 6-1 in favor of the measure. Council member Joe Brazil [District 2] cast the lone dissenting vote.  

The council then took up discussion of Bill No. 4816, which sought to affirm the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s decision to deny a variance application by the Missouri American Water Company to construct a 140-foot water tower at 530 Knaust Road, near the border between St. Charles County and the city of O’Fallon. The Board of Zoning Adjustment originally denied the variance request on Jan. 2, after which an application to reverse the decision was submitted by the Missouri American Water Company. The bill affirming the Board of Adjustment’s decision was sponsored by council member Mike Elam [District 3]. 

Rene Lawrence, senior project engineer with the property owner, addressed some concerns and questions. Drew Weber, an attorney retained by the company, offered to address the assemblage on any further questions that might still be unanswered. Elam then announced that the issue would remain on the table and that the county would attempt to convene a public meeting on the issue. Elam told Lawrence that the council would take up the matter for a final decision at the next council meeting, currently scheduled for March 30.

County Council meetings will be restricted to the public through May 10; however, all meetings are available on the county’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/user/sccmotv.

Another topic of discussion at the heavily attended meeting was the introduction and council’s consideration of Bill No. 4822, which sought to affirm the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s decision on a variance request by Dyer-Weisz, LLC for 3300 Hwy. 94 North. Originally, a request was submitted by applicant Fred Dyer to vary the front yard setback from 35 feet to 10 feet on the east side of Hwy. 94 North, about 750 feet north of Hawning Road. According to the county council’s March 9 meeting agenda, the applicant’s reason for submitting the request “ … to allow for a second row of 40-foot-deep tractor trailer storage stalls between Hwy. 94 and a drainage channel which bisects the property.”

The Board of Zoning Adjustment previously denied the variance request on Feb. 6. An application to reverse the board’s decision was then submitted to the council.

However, some councilmembers retained concerns about allowing the variance, particularly regarding the potential for eyesores and general clutter along the thoroughfare. Council member Nancy Schneider [District 6], who sponsored the bill reaffirming the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s decision, stated that calls from constituents on the issue had all been negative, with 30 to 40 calls opposing the decision along with at least 20 emails.  

After hearing testimony from the businesses affected by the decision, the council decided to take the matter up at the next council meeting on March 30. 

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