Fribis nixes building church in office park

By Emily Klein
Staff Reporter

Pat Fribis

A plan to build a church in a Sunset Hills office park was denied by the Board of Aldermen in a surprise tie-breaking vote last week.

Mayor Pat Fribis broke a tie June 12 to deny an amended development plan for Jubilee Church to build a new church at 10801 Sunset Office Dr. The board deadlocked on the bill after aldermen gave no negative feedback on the plan at a discussion at the May meeting.

At the second reading last week, Fribis said that a church doesn’t make sense in an office park.

“The reason I vote ‘nay’ is I just don’t think that’s an appropriate place in our community for a church,” Fribis said. “It’s an office park, and at some time I think a new office will be more beneficial to our community.”

Ward 4 Alderman Mark Colombo, Ward 3 Aldermen Kurt Krueger and Nathan Lipe and Ward 1 Alderman Dee Baebler voted against the bill, while Ward 4 Alderman Thompson Price, Ward 1 Alderman Ann McMunn and Ward 2 Aldermen Steve Bersche and Casey Wong voted for it.

Jubilee Church was also turned down by Webster Groves last year.

But Bersche told the Call he was surprised by the tie.

“Is that the best use for that area — probably not,” Bersche said. “But the owner of the office park supported it.”

The church proposal is one of the few plans for that property in awhile, Bersche added.

Baebler told the Call she was expecting a tie because of the oddity of placing a church in the office park. Residents of the area were calling aldermen expressing concerns, she said.

“There were some people that called and said they were concerned. Webster had turned it down, and a lot of opinions came forward,” Baebler said. “I think they’re a great group of people and the building was nice, but a lot of people expressed their opinion that it wasn’t best for that area.”

The church currently operates at 4228 S. Kingshighway Blvd., in the Bevo Mill neighborhood. It also has locations in Kirkwood, Lake of the Ozarks and Washington.