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Public hearing draws crowd to city hall

The Fredericktown City Council met for its bi-monthly meeting Nov. 13.

Prior to the work session, a public hearing was held concerning the rezoning of 11.16 acres of Pine Castle Subdivision from R-1 to C-2.

David Basler, owner of the 11.16 acres, requested the public hearing after the council voted to take the planning and zoning committee’s recommendation to deny his request on Sept. 10.

Basler defended his request by saying his plans for office buildings on the property would be a positive thing for the city.

“We want to make money,” Basler said. “It would be a good revenue for the city, a draw for the..It’s right across from the hospital. It’s the perfect location.”

Neighbors filled the meeting room to show their disapproval for the project. Some stated they had many questions to be answered before they would feel comfortable.

The number one concern among the citizens was the increase in traffic down their “quiet streets” and the possibility of large security lights flooding their yards 24/7.

Basler said his intention would be to create office buildings to hold doctors’ offices.

“We save our money by putting money into our home because it builds equity and we have lived there for over a decade,” Terry Mace said. “So at this point, we are wondering if that was all for nothing, because I can tell you right now our home is worth what I would consider a fair price. Well that’s because of where it’s located and that’s because there are no businesses surrounding it. That’s because kids can go out and play.”

Basler said there are currently more Pine Castle residential properties adjacent to commercial property in the front of the subdivision than there are to his property.

“There are very few houses that are actually backed up to it,” Basler said. “There’s a lot more in Pine Castle backed up to the commercial in the front then that are backed up to our property.” 

No action was taken after the hearing.

During the work session the council approved a request by Tara Hale to close the main streets for Miracles on Main Street Dec. 1. 

Renee Sargant-Harrison gave the board an update from the First Cemetery Committee. 

Sargant-Harrison said the cemetery located on Franklin Street, was deeded to the City of Fredericktown 190 years ago and currently holds four civil war veterans.

Photos of the newly placed sign labeling the sight as the first cemetery was shown to the board before Sargant-Harrison made the request for the council to help by reimbursing some of the charges.

City Attorney Mary Boner said the city is not supposed to approve expenditures after the fact and told them all future expenses should be brought ahead of time.

Ruth Ann Skaggs reminded the council of prior discussions where the board had agreed to help with expenditures and that the current design ended up costing less than the original.

Part of the expenditures fell under City Administrator James Settle’s authority, as they were for tree removal services and those were approved for payment. The council delayed any action on the remainder of the request pending further investigation.

“I think we need to partner,” Alderman Rick Polete said. “I think you’re right. It has been neglected.”

In other business, the council approved a request to accept a rock hauling bid and denied a request for land use by Ozark Regional Land Trust.

The bids to relocate the water main on W. Main St. and replace the culvert on Newberry St. were both approved.

Charlet Pense approached the board on behalf of Furever Paws and Claws to ask for an additional evening at Teen Town in order to set up for the organization’s fundraising event.

The city’s current policy only allows for one day and Pense was requesting to be allowed in the night before after Zumba class.

The council discussed the possibility of changing the policy for non-profits, but was not certain how quickly that could be done. Alderman Paul Brown interjected, telling Pense the extra time would be covered even if he had to pay for it himself. Polete quickly said to count him in on that as well.

A newly discovered issue at the police station was added to the agenda. A problem with the roof has caused water damage and will be submitted to the insurance company. Settle said it will have to be fixed, and the damage was due to wind and may be covered by insurance. 

In regular session business, the council unanimously passed three ordinances. One ordinance amended the city personnel rules and regulations, one ordinance gave the mayor authority to accept the audit services of Van de Ven for 2018, 2019 and 2020 and the third authorized the mayor to execute an agreement between the city and CE Contracting relative to the relocation of the water main on West Main Street.

The council passed another ordinance to execute a loan agreement between the city general fund and the city electric fund relative to financing the Sports Complex Phase I Contract II. The ordinance passed with Aldermen Deena Ward, Polete, Loretta Brown and Paul Brown voting yes and Aldermen Harold Thomas and Jim Miller voting no.

Water Distribution Supervisor Tim Allgier said he would like to thank the water plant, street department and police department for their help during a particularly difficult water line break.

“It was raining, it was nasty, we were cold and freezing,” Allgier said. “The police department stayed out the whole time and it was like from 3:30 to 11:30 and it was rough.”

Allgier said this one beat him and he had to call for assistance and was grateful for all the help.

“I wanted to say thank you for the teamwork from everyone that we had,” Allgier said. “It takes a team to run this city sometimes.”

Mayor Kelly Korokis said it makes her proud to see all the crews can work together and accomplish the task as a team. 

The Fredericktown City Council heard from a room full of citizens prior to the Nov. 13 work session at a hearing regarding the possible rezoning of part of Pine Castle.

The Fredericktown City Council heard from a room full of citizens prior to the Nov. 13 work session at a hearing regarding the possible rezoning of part of Pine Castle.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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