Campisi says Mange's resolution undermines his authority
September 07, 2005 - By LAURA UHLMANSIEK
County Council Chairman John Campisi and some Oakville residents are crying foul over another councilman's proposal to permit the storage and processing of milled asphalt on quarry sites that contain or are adjacent to asphalt plants.
Councilman Skip Mange, R-Town and Country, last week introduced a resolution requesting the county Plan-ning Commission review the county's zoning ordinance and propose changes that would permit the storage and processing of milled asphalt on quarry sites that contain or are adjacent to asphalt plants.
Mange's resolution comes two months after the County Council, led by Campisi, R-south county, denied a rezoning request by Fred Weber Inc. that sought to allow the company to keep a recycled asphalt pile at its Oak-ville quarry that is not zoned for such use. The changes proposed in Mange's resolution could legalize Weber's use of that site for the asphalt pile.
"It (the request) has been dropped by me for many reasons and this resolution is absolutely to undermine my decision on whether or not that asphalt needs to be there or not,'' Campisi told the Call.
Mange's motion to approve the resolution was seconded by Councilman Kurt Odenwald, R-Shrewsbury, and the council voted 5-2 to adopt the measure.
Besides Mange and Odenwald, Council-man Hazel Erby, D-University City, Councilman Kathleen Burkett, D-Over-land, and Councilman Mike O'Mara, D-north county, voted in favor of the resolution.
Opposed were Campisi and Councilman Greg Quinn, R-west county.
The request now will be sent to the Plan-ning Commission, which must conduct a public hearing within 90 days and then make a recommendation to the County Council.
When contacted by the Call and asked why he introduced the resolution, Mange said a letter he wrote to the County Coun-cil states his position.
Mange stated in the letter, "A problem of storing asphalt millings for the recycling operations has arisen in some quarries in St. Louis County.
"Typically the quarry site operating under a conditional-use permit is very large, but the asphalt plant site that was rezoned to an industrial use is only large enough for the plant, and not for the temporary storage of the milled asphalt material used in the recycling operation,'' Mange stated in the letter.
Four residents who live near Fred Weber's asphalt pile in Oakville, including Tom Diehl, voiced their opposition to the resolution at the Aug. 30 County Council meeting, contending their concerns are being swept under the rug. Also speaking in opposition was Lester Stuckmeyer, an attorney representing the adjacent Cam-bridge Point subdivision.
"We feel like the people of Oakville and south county are being treated like second-class citizens,'' Diehl told the Call. "Our concerns, our health doesn't matter. And Lester Stuckmeyer calls this the privileged-polluter's relief act, and I think that's an accurate description of what St. Louis County is trying to do.''
Weber's 22.8-acre site is on the southeast side of Baumgartner Road and nearly 2,100 feet southwest of Heintz Road. The site is used for quarrying operations, outdoor storage of recycled asphalt pavement, crushing and stockpiling.
Roughly 275,000 tons of recycled as-phalt is stockpiled at that location, according to Weber estimates. The site's zoning, however, is for non-urban or quarry uses, not for an asphalt pile.
The zoning violation was brought to the county's attention in 2003 by Oakville residents who were angered by Weber' s proposal for a trash-transfer station.
Since then, Fred Weber requested that the site's zoning be changed from the Non-Urban and Flood Plain Non-Urban districts to the M-3 Planned Industrial Dis-trict and the FPM-3 Flood Plain Planned Industrial District so that the company can continue to use the site to store and recycle asphalt.
The Planning Commission recommended Jan. 31 to the County Council that it rezone Weber's property to accommodate the milled asphalt pile, as long as certain conditions were met.
The County Council dropped the recommendation at its June 21 meeting, essentially denying the request.
Campisi told the Call that Mange is personal friends with Tom Dunne Sr., Weber chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and Derrick Standley, president of the Genesis Solid Waste Group who has served as a Weber consultant, but did not know if that influenced Mange's decision to introduce the resolution.
"Personally, I think it's a conflict of interest,'' Campisi said.
When asked by the Call about this relationship with Dunne and Standley, Mange declined to comment.
Weber attorney Gary Feder of Husch & Eppenberger said Weber was not involved in Mange's decision to propose a resolution.
"I think Councilman Mange had done this on his own initiative because he thought it was something that needed to be addressed,'' Feder told the Call.
Feder said Weber is waiting for a decision on a lawsuit it filed against the county, alleging the site is properly zoned for an asphalt pile and no need for rezoning exists.
Many residents who live near the site had complained of the asphalt pile's smell and said that it was health hazard. Metropoli-tan Congregations United, or MCU, had pushed to get funding for tests to be conducted on the air, soil and water tests in the area surrounding the quarry after it conducted a non-scientific survey of the subdivisions surrounding Weber's asphalt pile.
MCU says the survey found that residents around the quarry were more susceptible to respiratory problems.
In March, the County Council had granted County Executive Charlie Dooley's request for $80,000 to fund the air, water and soil tests on the Baumgartner Indus-trial Complex, including Weber's south quarry asphalt pile.
Chris Klinger, former president of MCU, said that after delays in the county, the organization asked that the tests be postponed until spring and summer next year.
"There has been quite a bit of delay and there's only enough funding to test for about six weeks of the air quality,'' Klinger told the Call.
"We thought it was most important to test during the peak ozone months during the warmer months and when the air is a little bit heavier anyway to find the worst-case scenario,'' Klinger added.
Campisi said the test results are crucial in this discussion, especially because the site could be hazardous to the people in the surrounding area.
"I'm kind of concerned about that be-cause I feel that the county has been slow in getting that test done for the asphalt pile,'' Campisi said. "I think that if that test was done before the resolution was passed, I think Mange would have felt differently about this resolution.''