The St. Clair Planning and Zoning meeting was canceled due to a lack of a quorum, however the public hearing regarding a rezoning request was still held.
Applicant Phillip Weller wants to rezone his property located at 884 High School Drive from R-1B single-family residential to C-2 general commercial. He is asking to create a small workshop in order to keep derelict vehicles on his property. He was not present during the public hearing.
Weller’s next public hearing with the city is scheduled for Monday, April 1, according to City Attorney Kurt Voss. He said a special planning and zoning meeting would need to be held before then or ask the city to move its public hearing to a later date. The date for the special planning and zoning meeting is still to be announced.
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 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.
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.
“I encourage the board to refrain from any spot zoning,” Talleur said. “Most spot zoning practices (are) specific to a parcel or parcels of land in a zoned area where the zoning is at odds with the current zoning.”
“In my opinion, the homeowner’s request is really to sidestep his own willingness to adhere to the ordinances, which have already been cited.”
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.
“It’s kind of an unethical thing to specifically zone one particular parcel of land for the sole benefit of the owner when it’s not compatible with the rest of the zoning for the area and the city’s major plan,” Talleur said.
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 of a residence.
Weller’s property is located across from the 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.”
“We would certainly appreciate the property being brought up to code,” he said.
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 in.
“While we fully support commerce for St. Clair, that location – should it actually become a location of a significant shop of some sort – would add to the congestion that’s already in the area with schoolchildren, school buses and other traffic,” he said.
“Increased motor traffic throughout that area I think is a safety concern for all involved. On behalf of keeping kids safe, we would appreciate that area remaining residential.”
Other Agenda Item
Also on the planning and zoning agenda was a conditional use permit request by applicant Jeff Vogelgesang to allow storage units within an I-1B light industrial district.
At the Feb. 25 meeting, the commission discussed whether or not they thought storage units are a permitted use within an I-1B light industrial district. Some commissioners expressed concerns about having too many storage units within the city limits.
After some discussion and hearing from Vogelgesang, the commission unanimously approved a motion to allow commercial storage units within the district as a conditional use.