South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Aldermen adopt ordinance approving nonconforming building for business

Aldermen voted 7-0 in July 2013 to OK site plan for O’Reilly Auto Parts building

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen recently adopted an ordinance approving the construction of an already-erected building that does not conform to city codes.

The new building that houses O’Reilly Auto Parts, 9955 Watson Road, is in violation of city codes because “it is not an accessory building, is not located behind a main building, exceeds the size limitations and does not contain the required concrete, brick or masonry wall,” according to an Aug. 1 memo written by then-acting Director of Public Services Brian Hibdon.

However, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted July 3, 2013, to recommend approval of the building to the Board of Aldermen.

On July 23, 2013, the Board of Aldermen voted 7-0, with Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood abstaining, to adopt an ordinance approving the site plan for the building.

After construction began on the building earlier this year, it was brought to the attention of the Public Works Department that the building did not meet the requirements of Section 7-9 of the city code, which places limitations on metal quonset-style buildings, Hibdon noted in his memo.

“After much deliberation between the city administrator, staff and others, and considering the fact that the construction of the new building, approved by the city, was nearly complete, it was determined that the Board of Aldermen should consider city code 7-9(7) and hold a public hearing and consider granting favorable permission, by two-thirds majority, and pass an ordinance to forgo the masonry and size requirements for this building,” Hibdon wrote. “The city attorney was consulted and it was determined that the amended ordinance brought forth for consideration is the best course of action.”

City Administrator Mark Sime told the board Aug. 26 that city officials had been working with representatives of O’Reilly’s, who agreed to construct a masonry enclosure for trash receptacles.

“… We’ve been working with O’Reilly’s for over two weeks, maybe a month on this,” Sime said. “O’Reilly’s has agreed that they will put up the masonry block, three walls around the dumpster with the gate, as shown. We have received plans and they are posting a bond to ensure that they do it.”

Representing O’Reilly Auto Parts was Tim Guillot of Esterly, Schneider & Associates Inc. of Springfield.

Ward 4 Alderman Michael Vincent said, “… We’re delighted you’re here and in business and open. I was delighted to hear that you were willing to negotiate with our city to address the trash-bin issue. I’m not sure I, or a number of people here, are happy with your building. It’s very attractive from the front, but it is almost totally out of compliance with what our general standards are.

“I checked out three of your other locations, and if I’m correct, they all look like masonry buildings to me. And that’s what I think we would have preferred. But nonetheless, I think the best for all of us is to look back and say, ‘If this isn’t exactly what we wanted, how in the world did this slip through?’ No offense to you or your business, but if this is not what we want in the city in the future, then we have to, I think, give a strong heads-up to public works, our Public Works Board and to everybody who sits here and does their homework to say, ‘We really need to take a close look at these plans as they come before us.’

“So again, no offense to you and your business. And we’re glad you’re here, but my support comes for this ordinance with the caveat to all of us that, you know, lessons learned and we move on,” Vincent said.

Guillot responded, “… Just to be clear. We do a lot of these projects, a lot of them in this area. We read the ordinance. We read it here, and our research told us that what we’re doing was correct. We stood before a planning commission and aldermen meeting, and all of it was approved. So we feel like, we honestly feel like it is in compliance. We wouldn’t design it if it was not. That’s not our goal …

“A clarity of ordinance, I think, would help solve the issue,” Guillot continued. “We don’t mind to build the buildings however they are, but it is a business, so the least-expensive cost to put up a building that will last the longest and serve the good of the community is what the goal is …”

During the public hearing, Timothy Randick, a city resident who recently resigned from the Public Works Department, told the board, “… To, I guess, maybe help fill in some of the blanks as I was the staff member involved — used to be an employee of Crestwood, no longer employed — the O’Reilly Auto Parts submitted preliminary plans to myself, which were also forwarded to the acting director of public works, Wendell Hill, in January of 2013.”

He added that was roughly a month and a half after former Director of Public Services Jim Eckrich resigned.

“Neither myself nor Mr. Hill had any experience with planning and zoning conditional-use permits, site-plan review,” Randick said. “So as a first, I guess, line of maybe direction or suggestion I would make is since this section of code, 7-9, is nowhere near the entire section of code that’s reviewed for site-plan review, conditional-use permits, basically the whole gamut that we go through — landscaping, design, parking-lot requirements — which are all in (Section) 26, it may be a good idea either for Public Works staff or the board to approve an ordinance to make some kind of notation in the code so in future reviews, it references that section …”

Noting the Board of Aldermen approved plans for the O’Reilly building as it was constructed, Randick questioned why the board was considering the ordinance approving the construction of the building not in conformance with city code.

Attorney Lawrence J. Wadsack of Lashly & Baer, filling in for City Attorney Lisa Stump, who was not present at the Aug. 26 meeting, said, “… We felt it was important to pass this ordinance because the building is currently noncompliant, and we didn’t want a building noncompliant with the code going forward to set any kind of precedent.

“That’s the reason for the ordinance, so that it recognized the error and corrected it.”

Vincent later said, “… We know what happened and now we’re just trying to fix it and move on — no offense and no implications to our friends from O’Reilly’s.”

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance approving the nonconforming building for O’Reilly Auto Parts.

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