New Melle Board of Alderman Highlights Jan. 21

The New Melle Board of Aldermen met Tuesday, January 21, 2020 for a regular meeting. The mayor, all four aldermen, the City Clerk, City Attorney, City Engineer Kurt Kutter of Cochran Engineering, and several citizens attended.

In Open Forum:

Karen Belker said she would like her fence fixed, which was left in an unfinished state near the south entrance to New Melle Sports and Rec after the new sidewalk and entrances were poured. The City Engineer said he would notify the contractor to take care of it. Belker then asked who is responsible for clearing snow or ice from sidewalks along city streets. She was told that is typically the property owner’s responsibility, but is not mandated. Lastly, Belker asked about mowing of the lot between the water tower and Hwy. Z and the area around the water tower. Mayor West said that is the property owner’s responsibility. Mayor West also said the City of New Melle would like to purchase the property and is awaiting the results of an appraisal.

Joseph Venneman, 118 Conor Court, asked the Aldermen not to approve a zoning request for 4577/4583 Hwy. Z (property south of The Greenwood Group which abuts his property and other lots on Conor Court.) He stated concerns about the negative impact of commercial activity including noise, lights, having his property back up to a large metal building instead of the natural vegetation that is there now, etc.          

Aldermen Hendrich said he had encouraged the property owners to submit a list of concerns/conditions that could be incorporated into the site plan which would be the next step after changing the zoning. He also said he was going to recommend that the proposed ordinance be amended to require that the house and one full acre of property remain residential, rather than a ½ acre that the applicant had asked for.

Kathleen Venneman, 118 Conor Court, asked who enforces the requirements that might be placed on the property, in case they were not followed in the future. She gave an example of a different developer taking down trees that were supposed to be preserved. She was told it is up to herself and her neighbors to report noncompliance, then the city could take steps to enforce any broken promises.

Mayor West said he believed the recommendation to approve the rezoning was forwarded from P&Z to the Board of Aldermen with the understanding that everything would be on a conditional use basis and that before the applicant (Pete Schepis, The Greenwood Group) could do anything, he would have to get permission from the Board of Aldermen. West said, “Where normally there is a set of rules that must be followed, in this instance, the only way the Board of Aldermen is going to change the zoning is that everything has to come before the board and everything is conditional. West said in a normal piece of commercial property you would have a set of rules as long as you’re in those guidelines you don’t have to ask permission (other than the appropriate permits, drawings, etc.), “but this project is going to stipulate that everything is conditional, the board has the authority to say ‘No, that’s going to encroach upon the people behind this.’”

The Boone Country Connection asked, “If what [the applicant] is proposing to do is an allowed use under C-3 Highway Commercial can you really put conditions on that?”

Mayor West stated that P&Z told Schepis that if he wanted the property changed to Commercial C-3 then he was going to have to accept the conditional use on the property.

The Boone Country Connection responded, “So is that legal? If you zone a piece of property C-3, and in your ordinances it says this type of business is an allowed use under C-3, does the city have the right to put conditions on that?” The City Clerk verified that a landscape contracting service was a permitted use under C-3. Then Attorney Martin clarified, the board could approve the zoning subject to the submission of an acceptable site plan, but the board cannot make a property a “conditional” use if the ordinance says it is a “permitted” use. In each zoning classification, there can be types of businesses that are “permitted”, and types of businesses that are “conditional”. Martin said if a type of business is listed as a “permitted” use, then the city cannot attach additional conditions to it. If a business is listed as a “conditional” use per the code, then the board can attach conditions, but those conditions only apply to the current business.

This concerned the board because if the property is rezoned to C-3, then sold in the future, any type of business that is a “permitted” use under C-3 could move in and the city would have no ability to add any additional conditions designed to protect neighboring property owners beyond those written within the standard C-3 zoning code.

In the Engineering Report, Kurt Kutter reported:

  •  A Notice to Proceed was issued for crack sealing on Foristell Road, with a projected completion date of April 15.

  •  Crosswalks at NMSR will be repainted in Spring, and the contractor will be directed to install a proper end post to the white fence at the south entrance.

  •  Foristell Road could potentially be eligible for an East West Gateway 80/20 project grant for resurfacing. After discussion, the board directed Kutter to work up a two tentative project estimates, one with resurfacing only, and one that included a sidewalk to the Park at New Melle Lakes. Due to the grant application deadline of Feb. 13, 2020, a special meeting date was tentatively set of Feb. 4 to vote on whether to file for the grant or not after the cost estimates are provided.

  •  A Land Use permit has been issued for 4591 Hwy. Z (future home of Catala Facial Retreat and Boutique.)

  •  A review of a lot consolidation in Sycamore Creek is ready for the next P&Z meeting (Feb. 4).

Introduction of Ordinances:

  •  Bill 448/Ordinance 434 – A request to rezone property at 4583 Hwy. Z from Residential to C-3 (Highway Commercial) was sent back to P&Z for further review. No vote was taken.

  •         Bill 449/Ordinance 435 – Appointing the Wentzville Municipal Judge to serve as the New Melle Municipal Judge was approved unanimously.

Old Business:

  •  Sullivan Lawsuit: Court date postponed to March 6th.

  •  Property for Sale Hwys. D and Z: A professional appraisal is expected by month end.

New Business:

  •  City Hall will be closed the following dates in 2020: March 7 for City Clerk Spring institute; March 16 – City Clerk vacation; May 18-May 20, International Institute of City Clerks Conference, St. Louis; June 1-5, vacation; Sept. 14-16, Missouri Municipal League Conference, Kansas City.

  •  Alderwoman Karrenbrock suggested the city start looking at doing a street improvement /storm water project every year, starting with either Peter Street or Schutzen Street. Kutter said it is generally best when installing storm sewers to work from lowest elevations to the higher elevations. He will present more info. at the next board meeting.

  •  Mayor West talked to MoDOT about the water drainage issue at the intersection of Hwys. F and D. He said MoDOT is planning to address the issue as part of Hwy. F widening and resurfacing which should begin in 2020.

  •  Quarry Wine Garden – Still not in compliance with water run-off calculations for their parking lot addition. If not resolved, the city will consider legal action.

  •  Site plan review costs. The City Clerk compiled site plan review costs incurred by the city for three proposed projects through Oct. 31, 2019. Applicants typically pay a $500 deposit with their site plan application for professional services and shall upon demand make an additional deposit for fees exceeding that amount or shall be refunded remaining deposit if charges are less. This deposit is supposed to cover the cost of the City Engineer reviewing the plan. All three projects ran over the $500 deposit and will be billed for any overage. There was discussion whether city has been consistent in collecting these overages from other applicants in recent years. The City Clerk was to research and verify that. The Boone Country Connection asked if there was a procedure in place to notify an applicant when they had exceeded their $500 deposit.  There appears to be no specific procedure. Going forward, the City Clerk said she would be sending out bills as she received monthly statements from the engineer. Alderwoman Karrenbrock suggested that maybe the deposit for a commercial project should be raised to $1000 instead of $500 to help the situation. 

The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:25 p.m.