Proposal for union hall on Kerth Road not expected to return to County Council

Department of Planning staff recommended OK of permit

By Kari Williams

A proposal for a union hall on the east side of Kerth Road is not expected to return to the County Council.

Sixth District Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, received and filed a denial recommendation from the county Planning Commission at last week’s County Council meeting. Stenger told the Call no one asked him to bring the issue back to the council at a later date.

“I received and filed (the Planning Commission’s denial recommendation) because I hadn’t heard otherwise,” he said. “So, as it goes, the commission decision stands, as it usually does.”

In March, Laborers’ Local 110 Holding Co. requested a conditional use permit, or CUP, for 6.42 acres on the east side of Kerth Road and the west side of Interstate 55, roughly 130 feet north of Coyle Court. The union requested the CUP for use as “a union hall and office with accessory uses,” according to information provided to the council. The site was previously home to a church.

At a public hearing March 19, three residents spoke in opposition to or voiced concerns about the union hall. No one spoke in favor of the proposal. A crowd vote March 19 showed six people in favor of the proposed use and nine against.

A petition also drew 145 signatures against the presence of a union hall in the residential area.

Though the Planning Commission stated “the intensity of the proposed use is similar to an active church,” it listed the following items as concerns:

• The union hall will bring residents from multiple counties to the facility for monthly meetings.

• Union officials indicated the facility would be available for rent to members approximately four times per month.

If the church was not on the property, the commission stated the proposed union hall would not be considered appropriate in the established, residential area.

“The approval of a union hall at this location would bring a non-residential land use into the area,” the commission stated. “The commission also noted that approval of this use could set a precedent for the reuse of other former church structures in St. Louis County.”

Approval of the CUP, according to the Planning Commission, is not consistent with “the established single-family residential zoning and the development pattern in the immediate area” and that it could be “detrimental” to the surrounding area and does not “promote the general welfare of St. Louis County.”

Department of Planning staff recommended approval of the CUP, stating the offices are a “low-intensity, reasonable re-use” of the facility.

Reasons for recommendation, according to an information report, also included:

• Conditions of development related to lighting and operating hours will limit the impact on the surrounding residential development.

• Any change to the use or building expansion will require a new public hearing.