County Planning Denies Request for Union Hall on Kerth Road
Residents started a petition against the hall and are pleased with the result.
After a petition garnered more than 80 signatures against the proposal for a union hall on Kerth Road, residents were relieved when the St. Louis County Planning Commission denied the request in a meeting Monday.
The Laborers’ Local 110 Holding Company requested a conditional use permit for an old church building on Kerth Road near Coyle Court. The union wanted to use the building for administrative offices and a union hall.
Residents opposed the hall because of traffic and noise concerns. The union said they would occasionally rent out the hall and try to obtain a liquor license.
“It just didn’t belong in the neighborhood; it belongs in a commercial area,” said Patty Coverstone, who lives on Kerth Road.
Patty and her husband Dave attended the Monday meeting in Clayton as well as an informal community meeting about the union hall proposal April 12.
Dave Coverstone said 53 people attended the meeting meant to inform residents of the development. Laborers’ Local 110 Business Manager Don Willey attended the meeting at Mary, Mother of the Church to address questions.
“His message was really that they wanted to be good neighbors and didn’t want to aggravate folks,” Dave Coverstone said. “But a guy who has property right in the same area (of the current union hall on Lin Valle Drive) said when they have their meetings, they can’t get out of the lot because they block off parking spots and the next day, they have to spend the rest of the day picking up beer cans.”
The St. Louis County Planning Commission voted 6-1 to deny the motion, originally recommended by planning staff. Keith Taylor voted in opposition.
At an April 2 meeting, Taylor suggested the commission vote to hold the decision to allow the union time to reach out to residents and gain more approval.
The planning department will now send a denial letter to the County Council, who will receive and file the letter. After 90 days of no action, the request will be dead, said Gail Choate with county planning.
“I feel good about the decision,” said Chuck Van Velkinburgh, who lives on Coyle Court. “We want to work with whoever is going to eventually buy that property.”
No one spoke in favor of the permit during a public hearing on March 19, and three people spoke in opposition, saying the uses of a union hall were significantly different than a church. A symbolic vote out of 15 showed six people in favor of the petition and nine against.
The planning commission questioned the appropriateness of a union hall with venue rentals in a residential area.
Willey declined to comment if the union would be searching for a new location.
“We don’t have anything negative against the union and we want the church to thrive,” Dave Coverstone said. “We feel horrible that we’re turning away a potential buyer for the church, but by the same token, we don’t want it to go commercial.”