Fred Weber Inc. seeks answers about denial of Oakville transfer station

By Alyson E. Raletz

The St. Louis County Department of Health recently denied Fred Weber Inc.’s application to construct a trash-transfer station in Oakville. Now Fred Weber wants some answers.

F.W. Disposal South early last month submitted an appeal to the St. Louis County Council that disputes the health department’s “political” decision to deny its proposal to build that transfer station at 5219 Baumgartner Road — the county will consider that appeal next week.

Councilmen and representatives from the health department and Fred Weber will conduct an appeal hearing at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the County Council Chambers in the Administration Building of the County Government Center, 41 S. Central Ave., Clayton.

“With the hearing, what’s going to happen is this: The Fred Weber company wants to know exactly why they were denied and I believe there were 10 reasons,” John Campisi, R-south county, told the Call. “And I think they want the health department to go into detail on the 10 reasons.

“I don’t see anything coming back to the council for reconsideration … It’s just a reason to find out the reasons why and to go into detail.”

Derrick Standley of the Genesis Solid Waste Group, a consultant for Fred Weber, told the Call that representatives from the company plan to attend the hearing.

“We are not exactly sure what to expect, the council guides that process …,” Standley said. “We will be presenting facts surrounding the denial. I know that the Department of Health will do the same. It will be up to the council to weigh those expectations …”

On Sept. 22, the health department sent a letter to Thomas Dunne of Fred Weber denying the company’s request to construct a trash transfer station on Baumgartner Road.

That denial letter indicated that the health department’s main reasons for denying the proposed transfer station on Baumgartner Road would pose a hazard to public health, it would violate county laws and ordinances and it would not be in the best interest of county residents.

The letter identified 10 more specific reasons why the department rejected the proposal.

Two of them referred directly to county legislation that was passed in September. The letter said the Baumgartner site was too close to non-industrial buildings and would violate a new county ordinance that prohibits construction of waste facilities within 1,000 feet of residences, churches, schools, child and adult-care centers.

Also, the health department indicated that “it would not serve the interests or convenience of county residents to approve this waste facility plan pending a determination of what regulations may finally be imposed.”

This referred to the six-month freeze the County Council unanimously supported that now temporarily prohibits the health department from issuing permits to any entity wishing to construct a trash transfer station in the unincorporated areas of St. Louis County.

Standley said discussions will take place during the appeal hearing Tuesday concerning that denial letter.

“What we will be presenting will be obviously responses to the questions regarding the facility …,” he said.

But even if the county does not reverse its decision to deny a permit for Fred Weber’s first proposal on Baumgartner Road, the company has a chance at establishing another transfer station in Oakville.

Fred Weber submitted an application to construct a transfer station that would sit on a 5.35-acre site in the Fred Weber South Quarry on Oct. 1 — just one day before the county’s six-month moratorium took effect.

The Fred Weber South Quarry is at 4200 Baumgartner Road, 1.35 miles east of Lemay Ferry Road and .3 miles south into the Fred Weber South Quarry.

Because Fred Weber submitted its application before the moratorium took effect, the health department has been considering its proposal.

The health department has set a date for a public hearing for Fred Weber’s current transfer station proposal.

Anyone interested in voicing concerns with the proposed Oakville site can attend the public hearing 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Mehlville Senior High School gymnasium, 3200 Lemay Ferry Road.

Members of the public will be able to have speaking privileges, but no questions will be answered during the hearing part of the meeting, according to the official public hearing notice. Written comments also can be submitted to Director Jacquelynn Meeks, St. Louis County Department of Health, 111 S. Meramec Ave., Clayton, Mo. 63105, by Nov. 22.

Campisi said south county residents have not forgotten about Fred Weber.

They still have been in heavy and steady contact with him, he said, expressing their concerns of trash transfer stations appearing close to their homes.

“Now that it’s at the quarry, the concern is that it’s closer to ‘my backyard’ now for some of them — naturally,” he told the Call. “And we still have to worry about the property being in a flood plain. It (the proposal) shows that it will be raised up above the flood plain. But water run off will actually go into the flood plain, so ultimately it goes back into the Meramec. That’s one of the big concerns of a lot of people in the area.

“Another one is the noise, of course, and the exhaust from the trucks that are closer to the homes there than they were at the other location only because they’re just about evened out, the homes are even so that the wind will just go right over the homes. Whereas before the Baum-gartner and New Baumgartner was more in a valley where everything would just hover.”

Ever since Fred Weber submitted its application for the south quarry site, Campisi has been investigating property lines. Campisi said he has reason to believe the new proposal violates the county’s 1,000-foot buffer zone that restricts the proximity between transfer stations and schools, churches, residences, child- and adult-care facilities.

The new site would be at least 1,250 feet from any such building, according to Fred Weber’s proposal.

But Campisi believes Fred Weber’s proposal is not accurate because the company is measuring building to building.

“As of right now, I think that the Fred Weber quarry is closer or has violated the 1,000 foot rule because it should go from property line to property line.”

At that time, Campisi said he didn’t know exactly the extent of the violation, but “I know it’s not true” that it is at least 1,000 feet away.

However, Standley told the Call that Campisi is mistaken.

“I am quite certain measurements aren’t being taken wrong — only time will tell …,” he said. “The facility is in compliance with the ordinance.”