Permit for transfer station awaits decision on zoning

By Alyson E. Raletz

The St. Louis County Department of Health is waiting for the County Council to make a move before it makes a decision on Fred Weber Inc.’s most recent application for an Oakville trash-transfer station.

And County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, doesn’t want to budge.

Days before a moratorium on the issuance of licenses for waste-processing facilities took effect last fall, Fred Weber filed an application to construct a trash-transfer station at 4200 Baumgartner Road in the company’s south quarry.

The new application was presented to the health department weeks after its previous application for 5219 Baumgartner Road was denied by the county. Fred Weber since has filed suit in an effort to reverse the previous denial.

Regarding the current proposal, the St. Louis County Planning Commission denied Fred Weber’s request to rezone a tract of its quarry to operate a trash-transfer station in May.

To operate a trash-transfer station in Fred Weber’s south quarry, a tract of the property must be rezoned for industrial use, of which final approval only can be granted by the County Council. The company also needs concurrent approval from the St. Louis County Department of Health and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to obtain a license to operate the facility.

Fred Weber submitted a request last year to the Planning Commission to rezone a 24.9-acre tract to the Flood-Plain Planned Industrial District from the Flood-Plain Non-Urban District.

The tract is about 300 feet southeast of Baumgartner Road, east of the Burlington Railroad and bounded by the Meramec River to the southwest. The 6,400 square-foot structure that would serve as the trash-transfer station would be constructed 40 feet tall and made of metal, according to Fred Weber Inc., with a 500-ton daily capacity.

The Planning Commission forwarded its recommendation of denial, citing environmental concerns for the Meramec River and Mattese Creek, to the County Council.

Councilmen unanimously received and filed the report at the request of Campisi instead of opting to have legislation drafted for further consideration.

Dropped from the council’s agenda May 25, the report essentially will sit until a councilman requests that the appropriate legislation be drafted. If, after 90 days from May 25, the report has remained untouched by councilmen, the rezoning request by Fred Weber automatically will be denied.

In May the health department consulted with county attorneys over the matter and still was conducting its investigation of Fred Weber’s application for the quarry station, said Janet Williams, the health department’s director of environmental protection.

Asked in May how much longer it would take the department to complete its evaluation, Williams said, “I have no idea.”

But last week another health department official said the investigation will not be complete until the County Council approves or rejects the rezoning request.

“We have finished our review at this point until a determination is made on zoning for the site,” Russell Sharpmack, the department’s solid waste manager, told the Call. “We are in a holding pattern right now.”

Despite the health department’s position, Campisi has no plans of moving the process along and intends to wait the 90 days.

“I have no reason to bring that up right now,” he said. “My decision has been very clear.”

Campisi, who adamantly has opposed Fred Weber’s trash-transfer station applications in Oakville, told the Call in May he believed “enough is enough” and that he wanted to drop the item from the agenda and “let whatever happen(s) happen.”

If all councilmen ignore Fred Weber’s zoning request, it automatically will be denied in late August. Under the County Charter, Fred Weber would not be able to reapply for the zoning change, if denied, until one year after the denial date.