Two of the three necessary steps were taken by the St. Clair Planning and Zoning Board on Monday regarding its recommendation that the city annex a parcel of land just west of the city limits.
After delaying its decision a month because board members said they wanted more information and after two public hearings on the matter, the planers unanimously voted to recommend the property, owned by Jerry Landing at 685 W. Gravois Ave., be annexed into the city and be zoned I-2 heavy industrial.
Poor Boyz Recycling, currently doing business on South Main Street near the intersection with East Springfield Road, wants to relocate to the property in question so it can expand. Owners James Woods and Seth Crocker have attended the previous meetings about the annexation.
One of the two public hearings on the issue was conducted prior to Monday’s planning and zoning meeting. There was no public comment given after the hearing was forced to start 30 minutes later than scheduled because two planning board members failed to show up to produce a quorum.
Travis Dierker, who also serves as a Ward 2 alderman, and Tim Hamilton failed to appear or give Chairman Myrna Turner a head’s up, forcing Mayor Ron Blum to be called in to sit on the board. His attendance made the quorum needed.
Doug Komo also was not present, but he had alerted fellow board members ahead of time. With a seven-member board, four individuals besides the chairman must be present to produce the quorum. Ken Scott, Terry Gasaway, Euvalda Young and Turner were in attendance, and when Blum arrived, business could be conducted.
Under city law, the mayor may sit in as a member of any board.
“We did have a public meeting during the last aldermen meeting, and some good comments were given,” Blum said when the annexation was brought up during regular business. “There were requests that the property be screened. I have driven past the location. I think screening it would be proper.”
According to information provided during the March planning and zoning meeting, the intent, if the land is annexed, would be to sell or lease the property to Poor Boyz Recycling so it can move its business to that location.
From there, if the I-2 zoning also is approved, a conditional use permit would be needed before operations could begin.
Woods and Crocker said they want to relocate because they need additional space to operate their business.
City Attorney Kurt Voss said the process involved three steps, two of which are the annexation and the zoning change. City Inspector Jeremy Crowe originally had said if unchanged, the property would come into the city zoned agricultural.
The third step will be to issue a conditional use permit. That could come next month.
The city’s board of aldermen plan to discuss and possibly approve the annexation and zoning when it meets on Monday in city hall.
One of the concerns about the annexation has been the lack of water and sewer near the site. Crowe said the nearest lines to the parcel were about 3,000 feet away. Planners, St. Clair’s board of aldermen and Voss all agreed that a stipulation would have to be added to the annexation, if approved, that the city would not provide services to the property.
During their March meeting, Voss urged the planners to make sure it is known that the city would provide no city services if annexed. He said that is legal with a voluntary annexation.
During the public hearing before the aldermen’s March 18 meeting, Woods and Crocker said they were fine with that.
Aldermen also had concerns about additional heavy traffic on both Gravois Avenue and West Springfield Road, which recently has been reworked and repaved.
The fencing, or screening issue came about during the same March 18 public hearing when James Ealer and Steve Dickey said they own nearby property. Both were concerned about the future appearance of the site if the recycling center would move there.
“I have no problem with this if they put up a presentable fence,” Ealer said.
“I’m not fundamentally opposed to this, but I’d rather not see it there,” Dickey said. “I would ask the council to put some good, common-sense restrictions on this to do it right.
“If they’re going to screen it, they should screen it all,” Dickey said of a sight-proof fence. “I think that would be in the best interests of everyone.”
Woods and Crocker said they thought a portion of the property should be fenced, but they requested they not have to enclose the entire 3-acre parcel.
The annexation and zoning recommendations will go to the aldermen for approval. The property is located next to the St. Clair Motel.