On Nov. 25, 2019, six O’Fallon property owners filed a lawsuit in St. Charles County Circuit Court against the city of O’Fallon, alleging six counts of “inverse condemnation.”
Per LegalDictionary.net, inverse condemnation is defined as “The taking of land, by a government entity, without providing just compensation” or “A legal action brought against a government entity for the taking of private property without formal or proper exercise of eminent domain.”
Judge Daniel G. Pelikan was assigned to the case (No. 911-CC01159) in Division 7 of the 11th Judicial Circuit.
On June 8, 2020, the plaintiffs’ attorney James Beal told Mid Rivers Newsmagazine, “Everything has been on hold (in the wake of COVID-19). I’m working on a scheduling order that will get us to a trial next fall (2021).”
The case then languished due to continued shut-downs and slow-downs in the Circuit Court. But in early September, a flurry of actions by the Court and Beal resulted in a request that the case be set for a jury trial.
Beal said he believes the filing will “get the case moving and get a trial date set.”
The plaintiffs are Robert Bystrom, C.E. and Susan Faron, Vicki Faron and Eric Heumann, Roger Russell, Kim Ann Ryba (d/b/a Stonebridge Stables) and Mike Tessereau. All have property adjacent to or near O’Fallon’s O’Day Park off St. Charles County Route DD, near I-64.
According to plaintiff allegations, the design and construction of O’Day Park directly and proximately has caused:
- Deforestation of the park, which causes further deforestation of the surrounding properties.
- Water diversion that erodes, destroys, devalues and wastes plaintiffs’ properties.
- Unnatural light that shines on plaintiffs’ properties for prolonged periods.
- Increased noise levels; increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
- The unnatural and significant accumulation of trash and the corresponding smells of trash in close proximity to the plaintiffs’ properties.
- The disturbance of each plaintiff’s peace; the destruction of each plaintiff’s quiet enjoyment of their homes.
The plaintiffs are seeking financial and other relief from the alleged damage caused by the construction of O’Day Park.
As a matter of policy, the City of O’Fallon does not comment on active litigation. Recently, O’Day Park was awarded an Innovation Award from the Missouri Municipal League, recognizing “the city’s use of an innovative, multifaceted strategy to address environmental concerns, maintain the natural character of the land, protect the habitats and ecosystems native to the area, and conserve and reuse water for irrigation throughout the park,” according to O’Fallon Communications Director Tom Drabelle.