Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City's Irvin, Council's Bearden Spar over Ownership of Quarry

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City's Irvin, Council's Bearden Spar over Ownership of Quarry

Article excerpt

The issue of who owns the limestone quarry just south of St. Charles - and how the quarry may be used - remains mired in complicated legal decisions.

St. Peters bought the quarry in 1989 for use as a sanitary landfill. The project is on hold.

In a letter on Thursday, St. Charles County Council Chairman Carl Bearden, R-7th District, asserted that "the courts have already decided that St. Peters is not the legal owner of the quarry for the purpose of operating a landfill or to have it rezoned as a landfill."

But Robert Irvin, St. Peters city administrator, retorts, "That's absolutely wrong. The courts cleared that up several months ago."

The issue erupted last week at a meeting of the County Council when Bearden proposed that the county change the zoning for the property from landfill to residential and heavy industrial use.

Bearden said he had been unable to persuade St. Peters officials to request the rezoning. Convinced that the courts have decreed that St. Peters is not entitled to run a landfill at the quarry, Bearden asserted that "the county has a responsibility to correct the error committed earlier by the County Commission to rezone the property and clean up our zoning books."

Bearden's proposal met immediate opposition from Councilwoman Linda Brown, R-3rd District. In an interview on Wednesday, Brown said, "Carl wants to rezone it. How can we rezone somebody else's property? We're looking square in the eye at a lawsuit. We need to wait for a judge to say who owns it."

Brown's father is St. Peters Mayor Tom Brown.

At Linda Brown's suggestion, the council tabled Bearden's proposal until County Executive Eugene C. Schwendemann could discuss the matter with St. Peters officials.

Bearden's proposal to the council was a follow-up to a letter he wrote June 8 on council stationery and marked confidential. It was sent to Tom Brown, Irvin and Judy Bateman, president of the St. Peters Board of Aldermen.

Bearden told the St. Peters officials that his idea would provide the city with a way "to diplomatically extricate yourselves from the landfill and provide you with the means of supplying any potential buyer with clear and unclouded ownership and title to the site. …

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