By Dianne Sudbrock
The New Melle Board of Aldermen met Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at City Hall. Mayor Richard West, Aldermen Nik Bradley, Don Hendrich and Janet Karrenbrock were present, as well as the City Attorney, City Clerk, and City Engineer. Aldermen Gary Schneider was absent.
There were no comments in open forum.
The financial reports were accepted as presented.
Bill 472 was passed as Ordinance 457, authorizing the municipal election in April. Mayor West has announced that he will not seek reelection due to his State Representative duties. In addition, the aldermen positions currently held by Gary Schneider, Ward 1; and Don Hendrich, Ward 2 will be on the ballot. The candidacy filing period is early this year, starting on Tuesday, Dec. 7 and ending Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Municipal elections will be held Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
A second ordinance, #458, was also passed, which updated the city’s right-of-way and utility easement requirements, basically adding a requirement that sidewalks be included in any new commercial or industrial development. Previously, sidewalks were not specifically required by ordinance, but were encouraged. The new requirements were recommended based on similar type ordinances in other cities in the county.
In the Engineering Report, plans for the firehouse are currently being reviewed.
The city will put together a bid package for maintenance and care of the city-owned property, including lawn and landscaping upkeep and removal of dead trees and bushes around City Hall.
Progress of Tree Trimming issues for property along Foristell Road and Peter/Schutzen Streets; and Holt Road: Letters have been sent to the affected property owners along Peter and Schutzen Streets to address trees that are growing over or into the driving lanes. In response to concerns about trees and brush growing along the edges of the roadway on Foristell Road and Holt Road, Mayor West presented a copy of the city’s nuisance ordinance to the Boone Country Connection. The ordinance states that all persons owning or occupying any lot or tract of land in the City shall keep the weeds, high grass and brush on such property cut and removed as follows:
• On parcels of 3 acres or more, grass and brush within the right-of-way shall not exceed 10 inches tall.
• On parcels less than 3 acres, and not used or zoned for residential or commercial uses, grass or brush within the right-of-way shall not exceed 10 inches.
• On tracts of land which are less than three acres and used or zoned for residential and commercial uses, all persons owning or occupying the property shall keep the weeds, high grass and brush within all lawn areas cut to a height of not more than 10 inches.
Therefore, the Mayor maintained that property owners along the portions of Foristell Road and Holt Road that are in the New Melle city limits, or along any other city street, are responsible for cutting grass and trimming brush to the pavement – at a height not taller than 10 inches.
New Melle City Attorney Steve Martin said if a property has not been annexed into the city limits, but borders a street that is part of the city limits, the property owners/residents must still comply with the city’s mowing and brush cutting ordinances.
Editor’s Note: A few years ago, St. Charles County forced all cities in the county to assume ownership of any county road that had been annexed into a city. At that time, the County quit mowing, paving or doing any other maintenance in those areas. On Foristell Road, particularly on the hill east of the park entrance, trees and brush have grown to the edge of the pavement and would be encroaching well into the westbound driving lane except that traffic from large trucks and farm equipment is keeping the brush beat back. When two trucks meet, the mirror and right side of the westbound vehicle clips the brush. This could potentially happen to a smaller vehicle also if crowded by oncoming traffic. The brush has grown far enough to obstruct views of caution and road signs along Foristell Road, and is growing through the guardrail near the bridge. That portion of the problem area is owned by the St. Charles County Parks system. The Parks Department maintains the south side of the road near the entrance to the Park at New Melle Lakes, but park-owned property along the north side of Foristell Road has not been mowed for several years.
On Holt Road, the city limits extend from Hwy. D to approximately Freidlich Lane. On Foristell Road, the city limits extend from Hwy. Z to approximately the New Melle VFW.
Mayor West suggested the city consider putting the care, maintenance, distribution, and retrieval of the city’s holiday decorations out as a project for bid in 2022 and beyond. The work has historically been done by volunteers. It consists of removing the decorations from the storage unit, checking and replacing bulbs, then placing the decorations by the proper poles for AmerenUE to put them up; then retrieving the decorations and putting them back in storage at the end of the season. Anyone interested in helping this year and beyond should contact City Hall.
A Work Session meeting was scheduled for Nov. 30, 2021, to establish a budget for 2022.
The City of New Melle will provide cookies and punch at the New Melle County Christmas tree lighting event on Nov. 27.
Beginning January 2022, the Board of Aldermen meetings will be moved to the second Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m., at least until next spring after the April election results are certified.