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County cites Fred Weber South Quarry

Fred Weber Inc. has 30 days to clean up its act.

For more than a month, according to the St. Louis County Department of Public Works, the Fred Weber South Quarry in Oakville, has been under investigation in response to residents' complaints that the company is violating current zoning regulations. The department since has discovered various violations at the quarry and on Feb. 23 gave the operation a 30-day deadline to submit appropriate documentation to the county and address environmental problems at the quarry.

"There are quite a few potential violations — more than most businesses in our community, but this is a large site with lots of different laws that cover it ... and activities have been going on there for 40 years," Public Works Director Garry Earls told the Call. "So, there's been more time, more rules, and it is a much larger site than many other businesses.''

Earls continued, "I am not surprised by the number of potential violations. Most places engaged in business out there do end up pushing the edge of zoning ordinances over time. Most restaurants, most other businesses do the same thing over time. But restaurants are smaller and we review them much more frequently."

He noted he had received complaints from Oakville residents Mike Bram and Tom Diehl in December. Diehl and Bram appeared before the County Council recently and wanted to know why it was taking the department so long to review their complaints.

"The enforcement of our ordinances is complaint-based and then we are led back to reading the laws and we interpret them for ourselves. Some of this can get very complicated," Earls said. "It took them (Fred Weber) 40 years to get into the position they're in. To take eight weeks to make sure we knew exactly what we were doing was a prudent thing to do."

If Fred Weber does not respond to the department and submit requested materials within 30 days, the matter will be forwarded to County Counselor Pat Redington, he said, who then could pursue the case in court or enter into negotiations with Fred Weber's attorneys to cause compliance.

"Our overall objective is to get them to comply with the law ...," he said. "In the very worst-case scenario ... this could end up in municipal court and it will be up to a judge to come up with a reasonable conclusion."

He added, "Any fines assessed will be done by a judge."

It would be up to the County Council, Earls said, if the violations at Fred Weber's quarry would have any effect on the company's current application to construct a trash-transfer station at 4200 Baumgartner Road, which is in the quarry.

In a letter dated Feb. 23 to Thomas Dunne of Fred Weber, Earls wrote of one of the violations, "The asphalt plant area within the Fred Weber South Quarry at 6251 Heintz Road is zone(d) 'M-3' Planned Industrial. Ordinance 7261 and the final development plan approved by the St. Louis County Planning Commission establish the zoning requirements for this use."

The letter continued, "An inspection of the property revealed two large shelter structures adjacent to the east property line were not shown on the development plan approved by the commission. A review of the records in this department found no building permits for these structures."

The department requested that Fred Weber file a revised final development plan and building permit applications for the shelter structures, according to the letter, with the Department of Planning within 30 days.

The request further requires that Fred Weber installs safety measures to prevent erosion on the steep slopes along the Mattese Creek, of which no devices are in place.

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