The St. Clair Board of Aldermen unanimously denied a rezoning request Monday from a man who sought to keep derelict vehicles on his property.
Applicant Philip Weller was seeking to rezone his property located at 884 High School Drive from R-1B single-family residential to C-2 general commercial. He asked to create a small workshop in order to keep vehicles on his property.
A public hearing was held before the meeting where no one spoke about the request. Weller was not present for the hearing or the meeting.
In December, the board of aldermen granted Weller an extension until Jan. 30 to clean up debris and to remove the vehicles on his property.
The vehicles are not licensed and Weller previously said he cannot get them licensed because he does not have a driver’s license. The vehicles have been sitting on the property since 2010 and have not been licensed since 2012. Other items found on Weller’s property were wood pallets, metal, bike parts and other materials.
The planning and zoning commission also denied his request at a special meeting March 25. During that meeting, planning commissioner members went through a list of questions and determined that there are no other commercial properties near Weller’s property, the area is primarily residential and quasi public, the applicant does not have a shop on his property to facilitate a business, there are no commercial trends in the area that would promote changes to the district, and the request does not comply with the city’s long-range plan.
The commission held a public hearing Monday, March 11, where Alderman Greg Talleur said he filed a complaint with a code enforcement officer last fall for the debris and specifically the three vehicles on the property. He spoke in opposition of the rezoning request. Weller was not present for the hearing.
Since the original citation, Talleur said the code enforcement officer has been lenient with Weller because every day past the abatement period of seven days, he could have been cited.
Chairman Darin Slater asked if Weller is operating an auto repair business out of his home now. Talleur replied no and read the requirements for having an auto repair shop out of a residence.
Weller’s property is located across from the ST. Clair junior high and high school. St. Clair School District Superintendent Kyle Kruse said Weller’s property alone does not represent the city or the school district as a whole, but it “does give a representation of the area to passersby and to those considering St. Clair as a home for them and their students.”
In regards to the rezoning request, Kruse said he has not seen evidence of a business being run out of Weller’s home, but if allowed, it would cause more traffic.
During Monday’s meeting, the board also voted to approve an ordinance and a conditional use permit to allow commercial storage units within a I-1 light industrial district. Applicant Jeff Vogelgesang with St. Clair Storage, LLC, wants to operate a commercial storage unit either at 1201 Miller Drive or at 2015 North Service Road.
Alderman Art Viehland said he approached Mayor Ron Blum and City Administrator Travis Dierker about changing the zoning of storage units from commercial to industrial.
“It just so happens that it’s come up before we can get the codes changed. The idea was to save our commercial zones for storefronts and not storage units,” Viehland said.
“Speaking as a citizen, I’m not in favor of storage units at all, but as an alderman, we have to do what’s right.”
Two public hearings were held before the meeting where no one spoke regarding the ordinance or the conditional use permit request. During the March 25 meeting, the planning and zoning commission approved the conditional use permit.