Steve Keller wants the city of Perryville to clean up its own mess before coming after residents.
Keller, speaking during the citizens’ participation portion of Tuesday’s Perryville Board of Aldermen meeting, addressed the board in response to discussion during the July 16 meeting regarding the city’s planned measures to take action requiring citizens to keep gravel out of the street and off sidewalks.
Keller presented photos to the board illustrating what he described as a recurring problem of the same sort originating on city property.
“I was just wondering if the city was interested in fixing their problem before they go after citizens for rocks on the sidewalk, on driveways and in the street,” Keller said.
The photos Keller supplied showed gravel from a city alley that often washes out into the street on both Ste. Marie and St. Joseph Streets.
“That last picture is of School Street and West Ste. Marie, where there’s always a pile of rock,” Keller said, adding that he had previously provided pictures of the same situation in 2017.
“I’ve watched a motorcycle dump there and people slide through stop signs there,” Keller said. “This has been an ongoing thing. If you go over there right now, there’s rock on West Ste. Marie, there’s rock on St. Joe, there’s rock on the sidewalk on St. Joe and there’s rock at the bottom of the hill on Ste. Marie at School Street.
“It doesn’t seem right for the city to start going after citizens for something [the city] needs to do first.”
Perryville Mayor Ken Baer said the city would look into the matter.
During a meeting July 2, aldermen raised concerns about gravel littering the streets after a hard rain.
Current ordinances allow for city officials to enforce the standard and require a property owner to clean up that area of the street.
On July 16, city administrator Brent Buerck put the matter on the agenda to ensure a “solid understanding of the board’s intention and expected level of enforcement going forward.”
“We can continue to address this from a code enforcement standard,” Buerck said. “We’ve been very strict with the grass clippings and the gravel should fall under the same thing. Everything’s in place, but we just haven’t been enforcing it for gravel.”
In other business, the board scheduled a public hearing regarding the city’s tax rates for the upcoming year. There was no discussion and city staff proposed no changes.
The board acknowledged Buerck’s approval of a staffing agreement with Express Employment Professionals regarding temporary security for the city’s parks. At the July 16th meeting, the board approved a measure to contract with a temporary employment agency to patrol City Park during the summer months.
After several interviews, a person was selected and began overnight coverage for the park system on Aug. 2. The agreement was reviewed and approved by city attorney Thomas Ludwig.
The board also discussed reconsidering zoning ordinances in reference to reducing required street frontage in areas zoned R-1.
Street frontage in an R-1 zone is set at 100 feet. According to Buerck, the request to reconsider and possibly reduce the requirement to 80 feet is the result of a request from the developers working on the Redbud Court Subdivision. Buerck said planned houses in the development will differ from a ranch-style design, presenting a smaller footprint that could make spaces between houses look extremely large.
Buerck said city staff had researched the matter and found that Cape Girardeau requires 80 feet, Rock Hill 50 and Rolla 75. Jackson, on the other hand, uses the same 100-foot frontage requirement as Perryville.
Ward 3 Alderman David Schumer pointed out that making such a change, while aiding in neighborhood aesthetics in Redbud Court, might also leave room for additional lots there and in future developments.
“Even if they get three more lots, that’s good for everybody,” Schumer said. “If it’s going to look better visually, rather than looking like there’s an empty lot between houses, then that’s a good thing. We also want to maintain the integrity of the R-1 zoning.”
Buerck said the request seems logical in light of the city’s struggles with development costs. According to Buerck, a change of this nature could reduce individual lot costs by as much as 20 percent. He added that most R-1 zones in the city are already “built out,” meaning a revised standard would mostly affect new subdivisions.
The board’s next meeting is scheduled for August 20 at Perryville City Hall.