The St. Louis County Council last week voted unanimously to approve a 30-day moratorium on the issuance of new demolition permits for certain structures.
The council previously was considering a 180-day freeze on new demolition permits for buildings 100,000 square feet or larger that were used for commercial, industrial or manufacturing purposes.
However, Fenton Mayor Dennis Hancock recently told council members he was concerned the moratorium would hinder the potential sale of the former Chrysler property.
Third District Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, R-Town and Country, sponsored the legislation to reduce the proposed moratorium. Her district includes Fenton.
The moratorium replaces one that began Dec. 20.
“My concern was that all we were going to do is drag everything out for six months, and then at six months we’ve lost all the momentum we’ve gained” toward redeveloping the former Chrysler site, Hancock told the Call last week, adding that the 30-day moratorium “will keep the process going.” The council last week again held a bill that would change the county’s building code to require owners of certain properties to completely clear and restore a site after demolition.
Introduced in December by now-former Fifth District Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, D-University City, the legislation would require owners of all commercial and industrial properties to restore the sites to their prebuilt condition if they are demolished.
Proponents of the bill contend it would make properties more attractive to potential buyers and curb the practice of property owners abandoning sites once they’re demolished and leaving behind contaminants that could harm the public.
But opponents believe the ordinance is too broad. Complete building removal and site restoration may be too costly for some property owners, who may decide to just leave behind an empty building, opponents contend.