New Melle P&Z Meeting and Public Hearings August 6

By Ida M. Hoffmann-Randall

The meeting was called to order with the Mayor, three commissioners and the city clerk in attendance. The agenda was approved as written, 4-0-0.

The minutes of the July 2 meeting were approved, pending the correction of a typographical error in the fourth sentence.

New business, featuring two public hearings, was next.

The first public hearing dealt with the rezoning of 3620 Schutzen. Property owner Julie Welge said they had already received a variance, since the current structure does not meet all zoning restrictions, and that they hope to split the property in two to build another dwelling on the other half. She further noted that they intend for the new dwelling to meet current zoning restrictions.

Engineer Nate Buehrle of Cochran Engineering was also in attendance but was not asked to answer any questions regarding this property.
The board held a brief discussion, then moved to vote, approving the rezoning 4-0-0.

Next was the final public hearing for citizen input on the proposed comprehensive plan. There were no city residents in attendance.

Principal Todd Streiler of Streiler Planning, who assembled the Comprehensive Plan, introduced himself and gave his credentials. He explained why the city needs a comprehensive plan, in part because it is a legal requirement, and that he had been working with the city for the last 12 months to build this plan, including meeting one-on-one with area business owners, as well as a public hearing at NMSR, and a working meeting with the Chamber of Commerce at the Quarry Wine Garden. He further said that the plan distilled all of the input, to build a plan that met as many of the mentioned needs as could be met, as well as a list of community goals.

“We echoed what we heard from the community and where we want to see New Melle in ten years,” Streiler said.

In summary, Streiler explained that the plan would be a conceptual foundation or blueprint for how the city will grow for the next ten years, and all Planning and Zoning decisions, for this period of time, should be in accordance with the plan, including zoning plans, changes and amendments. The comprehensive plan is four chapters; the first describes New Melle with a trade profile, history, demographics, etc. Chapter two discusses the challenge and issues (existing conditions). Chapter three describes the vision and objectives of the city and plan; chapter 4 is a list of future land usage and anticipated trends.

“[Planning and Zoning] can use it as a tool to say yes to things that fit and no, legally, to things that do not fit,” Streiler said.

Streiler said he anticipates a shift from five acre estate style homes, to more developments such as Fiddlestix, with smaller lots. He explained the maps, and discussed what areas were low and medium density, churches, agriculture and recreational areas, and that the downtown area wants to be mixed use. Streiler said, because of this, P&Z envisions an overlay district that is a planned use development, with approval discussed on a case-to-case basis. Future MoDOT expansions may also mean that some things need to change, and the way the plan is written will allow the city to be flexible with developers who want to come in to the city.

Since there were no community members in attendance, Streiler wanted it noted before the public hearing was closed that the meeting was advertised.

Following this presentation, in board discussion, Mayor Richard West said he was proud to have worked with P & Z during this process, and that he had tried to stay out of it as much as possible, so it was what the people wanted, and not what he wanted. He thanked Chairman Ken Birk and Streiler for working so hard to lead the efforts.

Another commissioner said he felt there was a great balance between business and residential, and fairness for future consideration in the plan, which shows New Melle is a friendly community for both areas. He added that he hopes to attract all demographics to the city in the future.

Birk thanked Streiler and the Mayor, both for hiring Streiller and for his help in the process.

Following the accolades, Birk asked for a motion to adopt the comprehensive plan with updates and maps as a resolution. The motion was seconded and passed with all in favor, officially adopted as resolution 208.

Next was the building inspection report, a read through of the list of the five building permit applications provided by the city clerk, with little discussion.

In the road committee report, West said that a few small town mayors, including Lake St. Louis and Dardenne Prairie, were discussing possibly going in together to form a joint road committee to share services. He will bring more about this in a future meeting.

In the Code Enforcement Reports, Birk said, in addition the code concern listed, he was told there was a trailer parked inappropriately that needed to be investigated.  Another board member complained about foul smelling water from the ag store that he felt needed investigation. [Editor’s note: The ag store pumps water out of a grain dumping pit that accumulates water when it rains. The water smells because it starts rotting the residual grain that remains in the dump pit. Rotting grain has a very unpleasant odor. There is also a basement under the old mill building that is occasionally pumped out. There are no ag chemicals involved in either process. Currently, the pumps are on timers so they run between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.]

The motion to adjourn the meeting was made at 7:39 p.m.