On July 13, 2020, the St. Charles Council considered Bill No. 4864, a rezoning application for property located near Borgelt and Foristell Roads in unincorporated southwest St. Charles County. This was the second application for this property before the Council in less than a year.
This second application again sought to rezone the property from its current Agricultural District (A-1) zoning which sets a five acre minimum per house to Rural Residential (RR-1) zoning which would allow for 1 house per three acres. The rezoning application, if granted, would have allowed the developer to put 25 houses rather than 17 on the identified property. Consistent with previous similar applications, many area residents came together to express their disapproval of another piecemeal rezoning in the area. At the July 13th hearing, two Council members from other Districts spoke in favor of the rezoning. However, Joe Brazil of District 2, Joe Cronin of District 1 , and John White of District 7 spoke against the rezoning. Brazil and Cronin explained that the area of southwest St. Charles County has retained its agricultural character, that the County is ill-prepared to deploy additional public services needed to support greater-than-zone residential densities, and that there is in place a new building ordinance which these two Councilmen advanced allowing developers to reduce engineering and infrastructure costs with 5 acre subdivisions.
Between July 14th and July 24th, area residents joined in a grassroots effort to collect enough notarized signatures to support a remonstrance against Bill No. 4864. Through the committed work of area residents, more than enough notarized signatures were gathered and filed with the County Registrar. This was no small feat. The remonstrance was confirmed on July 24th and triggered the County ordinance requiring a supermajority vote by the Council (that is 5, rather than 4 members approval) to pass Bill No. 4864. The remonstrance was a herculean effort by many, many neighbors. When the Bill came up for a vote on July 27, 2020, there were six Council members present. Only two voted in favor of the Bill. Councilpersons Brazil, Cronin, Schneider, and White stood with the nearby property owners against Bill 4864. They are to be thanked for their commitment to the Agricultural District and to organized, well-planned growth.
EDITORIAL COMMENT - Pay Attention, Get Involved
Residents of this area must recognize NOW that southwest St. Charles County is on the radar screens of developers who are not content with 5 acre minimums. If you are concerned about the agricultural nature of this area, about the farmers, wildlife, and preservation of open farm fields and green space, please educate yourself on these rezoning issues and pay attention to what is happening in St. Charles County government that impacts your homes and quality of life in an Agricultural District. Participate in zoning hearings, sign up to serve on review committees for the 2030 Master Plan, get involved with protecting why you own property in this area. Ad hoc rezoning and piecemeal development, without careful thought and meaningful planning, are bound to bring about the destruction of the Agricultural District zoning and increase residential densities. To preserve the A-1 District and rational development, you must be educated and get involved.