After teetering and tottering on a seesaw for a good portion of its meeting Monday night, the St. Clair Planning and Zoning Commission finally came up with a game plan for conditional use permit regulations for a business that wants to relocate to newly annexed land on the city’s west side.
By a unanimous vote 2-1/2 hours after the meeting started, the local planners forwarded their recommended permit conditions to the board of aldermen, which will consider them and may make a final decision on Monday, May 20, when it next meets.
A public hearing is scheduled at 6:45 p.m. on Monday prior to the regular 7 p.m. board meeting to allow public input on the CUP for Poor Boyz Recycling, which is hoping to move to property located at 685 W. Gravois Ave.
Currently, the business is located near the intersection of South Main Street and East Springfield Road.
For more than two hours on Monday, planning board members discussed possible conditions and allowed Poor Boyz owners James Woods and Seth Crocker to give continued input regarding what conditions and restrictions they did or did not want for their business.
In the end, the final sticking points centered on the men providing a surety bond to the city to cover the costs for removal of items and cleanup in case the business closes and that Woods and Crocker install at least a 6-foot-high sight-proof fence that adheres to city code around all areas of the property that will be used for outside storage and business operations.
During the meeting, the two owners complained vehemently about the added expense with both.
There are several other conditions listed as well, including limiting noise levels, storage of materials and the maximum amount of that storage, facility security, parking and signage.
“We’re going to go with this and let the chips fall where they may,” planning board Chairman Myrna Turner said after the lengthy discussion. “We’ve bent over backward to make this acceptable to Poor Boyz. We’ve done all we can do. It’s now up to the board of aldermen.”
Planner Travis Dierker, who also is a Ward 2 aldermen, wasn’t sure whether the proposed conditions would be strict enough for the aldermen. He cautioned Woods and Crocker of that possibility during Monday’s meeting.
If the city fails to accept the CUP, the business cannot relocate there. Public opinion will weigh in the aldermen’s decision.
“I have 5,000 people to answer to,” Dierker said. “I’m going to be honest with you. This could be difficult to pass.”
Earlier in the meeting, Turner had decided to table making a decision about the CUP conditions, saying more information still needed to be gathered.
“I’m making a decision,” she said. “I feel like because of all the questions we have and you (owners) have, in order to be fair, we can’t make a decision tonight,” she said. “We need to do a site visit and just have all the information we need.
“We are going to table this tonight.”
At that time, Dierker and some of the other planners agreed.
Woods and Crocker then complained, saying they already have waited a couple of months for the city to process their request to move.
“We just want to get to work,” Woods said.
“Our purpose tonight is to determine a CUP,” Turner said in response. “I know where you guys are coming from, but in no way can we make a decision tonight.”
Board member Doug Komo then said that, “We want them to get this done correctly. We’re just trying to protect both us and you.”
Woods and Crocker continued to complain, leading planner Tim Hamilton to say, “We’re actually trying to work with you.”
Turner then said, “I understand it all, guys. But for right now, we’re tabling this for your benefit.”
After the Poor Boyz owners kept complaining and asked if there was anything else the board could do Monday night to “get this thing through,” Turner asked the board if it wanted to reconsider tabling the issue.
At that time, more specifics of the surety bond and sight-proof fence were discussed, and the planners opted to make the recommendation that the CUP include the 6-foot fence built on all four sides of the east half of the 3-acre property and that a $60,000 surety bond be provided annually at the owners’ expense.
The motion then was made to recommend the CUP with the changes made and forward the recommendation to the aldermen.
Monday was not the first time the city has gone the extra mile in an attempt to work with Woods and Crocker.
Last month, at the owners’ request, St. Clair City Attorney Kurt Voss read through the entire text of a proposed ordinance three times so it could become law on the same night in which changes were made to it.
When it later was approved, that ordinance annexed the property at 685 W. Gravois Ave. into the city.
The unusual adoption method was used after Woods and Crocker told the aldermen that they had potential loan issues with their lender if the annexation was delayed.
The CUP, if approved, will be the final step of the process.
Earlier in April, the planning and zoning board conducted a public hearing on the annexation proposal and recommended the aldermen approve it.
Woods and Crocker have said they are in negotiations to purchase the tract of land from owner Jerry Landing. The land was annexed into the city zoned as I-2 heavy industrial. Prior to that, the property was agricultural.
During the planners’ earlier public hearing, Mayor Ron Blum said that he was in favor of the entire 3-acre parcel being surrounded with the 6-foot sight-proof fence.
“There were requests that the property be screened,” he said during the planning and zoning meeting earlier this month. “I have driven past the location. I think screening it would be proper.”
The fencing, or screening issue came about in March 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.
There also have been concerns about increased traffic and noise in the area if the business relocates there.
City planners originally delayed making a recommendation to the aldermen concerning annexation in March. At that time, board members said they needed more information.
The property is located next to the St. Clair Motel.