Oakville residents voice concerns over solid-waste transfer station
By JOE ROTHERMICH
For the Call
South county's representative on the County Council said last week he is considering pre-emptive zoning changes to prohibit unwanted business uses along Baumgartner Road in Oakville.
The May 29 announcement by County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, came after a sparsely attended town-hall meeting at the Weber Road Branch County Library. Many of those attending voiced concerns about Fred Weber Inc.'s proposal to operate a solid-waste transfer station on a 4.4-acre site comprised of three parcels at 664 Old Baumgartner Road, 5219 Baum-gartner Road and 5211 Baumgartner Road.
The site is three-tenths of a mile east of Lemay Ferry Road and 1.3 miles east of Interstate 55.
Fifteen Oakville residents told Campisi that the proposed solid-waste transfer station is too close to residential properties and would increase traffic, decrease property values and create a noxious odor.
"There's a whole lot of things that don't belong there,'' Campisi said. "There's a lot of good uses for that area. I've been considering going up and down Baumgartner Road and selecting certain properties to rezone so we don't have these problems anymore.''
Fred Weber has submitted applications to the St. Louis County Department of Health and to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to operate the solid-waste transfer station. As proposed, the transfer station would receive non-hazardous municipal waste, household waste, agricultural, governmental and industrial waste, and transfer the waste from collection trucks to larger carriers that would convey the waste to a landfill.
Fred Weber's proposal comes six months after the company received overwhelming community opposition to a request to locate a solid-waste transfer station in Oakville, not far from the site of the current application. No action was taken on the proposal, which was opposed by Campisi. The councilman also opposes Weber's latest proposal.
Unlike its last proposal, however, Fred Weber's current proposal does not require a zoning change because the M-1 zoning classification of the Baumgartner Road site would allow such a facility, though it must be approved by the county Depart-ment of Health and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
"The degradation of the neighborhood is a key issue,'' said Lake of the Woods resident Tom Diehl. "There's been a lot of development in there that is very positive from the standpoint of adding value to the community, including a church, a shopping center and the community college campus. A trash transfer site would just detract from all of that and would spoil the quality of life for everybody that lives there.''
In its application, Fred Weber failed to consider the 2,100 homes, schools, churches and businesses in the area near the transfer facility, Diehl said, contending county officials are "... misreading county regulations and doing a favor for Fred Weber's company.''
But County Counselor Patricia Redington has issued an opinion to Campisi stating that a solid-waste transfer station is a permitted use in the M-1 zoning classification.
And county Department of Planning Director Glenn Powers, who was guest speaker at the town-hall meeting, said county officials can't deny a request just because they don't like it.
"When I turn down a plan for permitted use, I have to say it doesn't comply with this, this and this regulation,'' Powers said.
The Department of Health will conduct a public hearing on Weber's proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn Road.
If the solid-waste transfer station clears that hurdle, Campisi said he intends to exercise the County Council's power of review over Fred Weber's application.