Panel eyes changes to demolition permit rules

Revised legislation that would change St. Louis County’s demolition permit rules was scheduled for review this week by a County Council committee.

The council’s Public Improvements Committee was scheduled to discuss the bill Tuesday — after the Call went to press.

If approved, the bill would require owners of all commercial and industrial properties to clean up the sites if they are demolished.

The measure first was introduced late last year by now-former 5th District Councilwoman Barbara Fraser. But 6th District Council Chairman Steve Stenger, D-south county, recently introduced a substitute bill with less stringent provisions.

One such change would exempt demolition permit applicants from the new regulations if they submit a redevelopment plan for their property. The revised code would require property owners to remove “all elements of the structure or building, including foundation, slab or structural support, and foundation piers to a depth of 4 feet below existing or proposed ground level, whichever is lower.”

The previous bill required the removal of “every element of the foundation, slab or structural support, including all footers and material below grade.”

All debris from the demolition would have to be removed, but county building officials “may permit the reuse of non-hazardous debris.”

Under the revised legislation, permit applicants no longer would have to level and re-sod, reseed or landscape demolition sites to prevent soil erosion.

Proponents of changing demolition permit requirements contend the move 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.

Stenger, 3rd District Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, R-Town and Country, and 5th District Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, comprise the council’s Public Improvements Committee.