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

Oakville man’s request to sell topsoil rejected by County Council committee

Stenger questions reasons for Eiler’s request for a CUP.

The Public Improvements Committee recently voted unanimously to recommend the County Council deny an Oakville man’s request to sell dirt that would be cleared to dig a private lake on his property.

The committee voted 3-0 against Dane Eiler’s request for a conditional-use permit on his land to be able to sell topsoil left over from digging a five-acre, four-foot-deep lake on 29 acres between Green Road and the Meramec River that is zoned as a flood-plain non-urban district.

Eiler had appealed to the PIC after the county Planning Commission voted 6-0 in March to deny his petition.

Eiler first submitted his proposal to the county in 2007. He contends the lake would enhance the area’s beauty and wants to offset the cost of digging it by selling the leftover dirt as topsoil.

During a public hearing on Eiler’s proposal in 2007, however, residents of the adjacent Crystal Lake subdivision said they were concerned about his proposed use of Green Road as a route for trucks to haul the topsoil out of the area.

Since then, Eiler said he’s obtained permission to construct a road that would run parallel to the Meramec River from an entrance off Telegraph Road that would serve as an alternate haul route.

Crystal Lake residents have continued to oppose the project, contending it would create dust, noise, erosion and other environmental issues.

However, Jim Haffner, Eiler’s attorney, said July 13 that his client has received clearance from such agencies as the Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to dig the lake, which would serve a “recreational” purpose.

“Mr. Eiler’s a landowner. He wants to develop his property,” said Haffner, who owns land to the south of Eiler. “And I understand that people around him have concerns. It’s good that they have concerns, but this is not going to have an impact on that subdivision.”

However, 6th District Councilman Steve Stenger, D-south county, who chairs the PIC, said he’s received comments for “several months” on Eiler’s proposal. Most of them have come from Eiler’s neighbors, who are “very fearful” of the impact his project would have on their neighborhood, Stenger said.

“I’m concerned for numerous reasons with regard to the project,” he said. “One of the things I still have a very difficult time with is why this man wants to build a lake on his property in an area that clearly floods. It’s clearly going to silt back in. We’re going to have a dredging issue where you’re going to have to re-dredge the lake.

Stenger added, “I’m going to be honest when I say I question the reasons given, that it’s recreational. I don’t know exactly what that is. I can only speculate as to what it might be. I believe it has something to do with the removal of this rich topsoil that flows off the Meramec River.”