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 reject petition for ammunition storage warehouse in Green Park

Green Park aldermen not convinced ammunition warehouse is safe
The Wild Horse Ammunition company logo, from the company’s website at

A petition for a limited development plan to construct an ammunition warehouse in Green Park failed to move forward at the Aug. 21 Board of Aldermen meeting.

According to the company’s website, Wild Horse Ammo, LLC, is an import company that specializes in ammunition and components from Eastern Europe. The company was recently purchased by St. Louis-based EJA Trucking Inc., which is owned by Karabas Investment, LLC, which also recently bought a warehouse in Green Park at 11126 Lindbergh Business Court.

As stated in the petition, EJA Trucking would use the lot on Lindbergh Business Court for office use, while Wild Horse Ammo’s operations would “consist of light warehousing/distribution.”

City Attorney Paul Rost said the main question at hand was whether or not ammunition fell under the definition of explosives.

“That would allow either the city to decide it’s not explosive and then they could approve it, or they could decide that it is but then decide whether or not if it can be approved for the site or not,” Rost said.

The city’s planning panel recommended denial of the application at its July meeting.

“The primary use will be office and then a portion of that building will be for the storage of .. small arms ammunition,” Attorney George Restovitch said on behalf of the applicant.

The facility would have one to two employees onsite at a time and since it is strictly online sales and distribution, there would be no foot traffic from customers.

In attendance at the meeting on behalf of the applicant was Ellisville Police Chief Steve Lewis, who said that he would be comfortable having a small arms ammunition warehouse, such as the one being proposed, in his municipality.

“I’m not here paid, I’m not here for any other reason then — I sit in council meetings … I understand the difficulties it takes to make sure your citizens are safe. … I understand the questions you would ask, because they’re the same questions I would ask. What I hope to do is give you some assurance that if you do approve this, you are allowing your citizens to be safe,” Lewis said.

Lewis addressed some of the concerns, with the main one being whether or not the facility was a danger to the community.

“When we look at small arms … in a fire, those rounds – we see TV we think ‘kaboom’ right, and bullets going everywhere – that is only not accurate but it is counter to the facts of what would happen if, God forbid, there was a fire at this location.”

Lewis explained that in order for a bullet to be a projectile, it has to be contained, such as a bullet in the barrel of a firearm.

The chief argued that Green Park already has “more hazardous” facilities in the community, such as the pesticide company, Brunetti Pesc-Co, which has a facility off South Towne Square near Wild Horse Ammo’s proposed warehouse.

“Really the … hazard with the pesticide company that’s right in that area — is a much greater danger than you’re going to get with small arms ammunition,” the chief claimed. “I know there’s a perception around ammunition and fire arms, I understand that. There’s a lot of political issues around those, but I can assure you … I would not be concerned if this was in my community whatsoever.”

Also in attendance was Mehlville Fire Marshal Ed Berkel, who said the company would need to comply with the newly-adopted 2021International Fire Code.

“Small arms ammunition … is defined … as a 1.4 explosive. No doubt about that. Maximum allowed quantity is 50 pounds, but that’s the net explosive weight, that’s not the weight of a box of shells or case of shells. It’s only the explosive portion that is in there,” Berkel said. “We have requested from the applicant a hazardous material inventory statement that they have yet to provide, so I don’t know if they will be able to stay under the 50 pounds of net explosive weight. If … they propose above that, it would be an H3 occupancy. It would not be allowed in that building.”

H3 refers to “high-hazard” buildings and structures that pose a physical hazard or combustion danger such as fireworks storage, which is prohibited in Green Park.

Ward 2 Alderman Tammy Witzig asked Berkel if he would feel “especially concerned” responding to calls at the facility if it was approved by the aldermen. Berkel replied that he would, as long as the facility complied with the International Fire Code.

“If they comply with the provisions of the International Fire Code, no ma’am,” Berkel said.

However, despite the assurances of Lewis and Berkel, not all of the aldermen were convinced of the appropriateness of the petition.

“I think we really need to think about what P and Z said. … Look at the area that they’re at. … They’re close to BJC. … They’re in an area where there’s going to be a lot of medical people. This is not an area of this type of business to be, especially with that ammunition warehouse. It doesn’t fit in that area,” Ward 2 Alderman Ron Slattery said. “What about break-ins? What’s going to happen if people get the word that they have ammunition available? What’s going to happen? There’s people out there that are crazy, that are criminals, that are going to try to break into these facilities. … Why do we want to be a victim city? We’re a small city … we don’t need to take this on.”

Slattery’s statement was met with agreement from both Mayor Tim Thuston and Ward 1 Alderman Carol Hamilton.

A motion for a first reading of the proposal failed to get a second, ultimately causing the bill to die.