Friends & Neighbors,
Your City Government has been busy in the six weeks since my last Shine a Light Report.
We passed a $4.7 million budget for 2020 which includes over $720,000 for street maintenance and repairs; $1.2 million in additional capital improvement projects; $330,000 for the Police service contract; $806,000 in debt service; $814,000 in personnel costs; and the remaining $830,000 for all other operating costs for parks & recreation, building and grounds, code enforcement & building inspections, municipal court, economic development, prosecuting attorney and city attorney, city engineer and city hall operations. The budget is posted on the City’s website for all to examine.
The City renewed its contract with the St. Charles County Police Department to provide a dedicated officer to patrol Dardenne Prairie during two shifts per day. The annual cost includes other services, such as dispatch, detective bureau services, forensic lab services, vehicles, and the emergency response team.
The Board of Aldermen agreed to hire a full time City Administrator who will report for work early in 2020. The City has been without a City Administrator since May of 2014. I have tried to perform the duties of both the Mayor’s office and the City Administrator since I became Mayor in 2015. It has become clear to me that we really need a full time, professional City Administrator and we are very lucky to have hired a gentleman with 40 years of experience in municipal government, including prior service as a city administrator, director of economic development, director of parks, director of community development and as a consultant in the private sector advising planning & zoning commissions, and other related groups. The new City Administrator is Dan Lang who lives near-by, who was married at Immaculate Conception of Dardenne to a resident who grew up in Dardenne Prairie.
At the December 18 BOA meeting we were shown the proposed design of a full interchange connecting Rt. 364 with Technology Drive at Town Square. This interchange would allow people to get on and off 364 headed east and west. It would make shopping at Town Square much more convenient and would increase access to the County’s Youth Activity Park next to Town Square. Public meetings to explain the project and receive public feedback will be scheduled for January. The project will need to be supported financially by federal, state and county funds as well as Dardenne Prairie funds.
In an effort to help people find their way to Town Square the City will move forward with a plan to rename a portion of Rt. N between Bryan Road and I-64 as “Town Square Avenue.” Rt. N runs across the entire width of St. Charles County touching St. Charles, Cottleville, O’Fallon, Dardenne Prairie, Lake St. Louis, Wentzville, and beyond. Does anyone know where 7805 Rt. N is located? It’s the Marcus Theater at Town Square. Businesses along “Town Square Avenue” will be easier to find and the name change will help with our goal of promoting Dardenne Prairie.
The BOA approved the rezoning of 10 acres on Rt. N (east of Bryan Rd. near the Stone Bridge Church) from Commercial to Residential to permit the development of 23 detached villa homes, to be constructed by Fischer & Frichtel, a builder of quality homes.
The City will again seek to annex several parcels of unincorporated St. Charles County into the City. These islands located in residential subdivisions or, in one case, in the midst of a commercial zone, ought to participate in the city which provides police and other municipal services. We will invite the property owners to annex in voluntarily. Otherwise, the issue will go before the voters in April.
After the holidays, the Board of Aldermen will revisit the proposal to renovate the Dardenne Athletic Fields next to City Hall. We are still looking for a consensus as to the scope and expense of the project and how to pay for it. The project will need to fit into the City’s multi-year plan for other capital improvements.
The Planning & Zoning Commission was asked to consider creating new criteria for attached townhomes that would permit smaller homes on odd shaped parcels in the City. The initial proposal was to allow 2 story townhomes with a minimum of 1500 square feet of finished living space on two floors. A majority of the Commission and of the Board of Aldermen were not ready to endorse that proposal, so it has been referred back to Planning & Zoning for further study. Several commissioners and aldermen spoke of the need for some adaptation in the City’s zoning code to allow property owners to make use of their property in circumstances where the location, shape or size of a parcel would not accommodate houses or villas of the size now required by the code. On the other hand, many want to preserve requirements for size and density which set Dardenne Prairie apart of other cities. We will engage the public in this debate in the new year.
St. Charles County Police Officer Daniel Jones (“DJ”) will retire at the end of December after 41 years in law enforcement, including 20 years with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and 21 years in St. Charles County. For the past 11 years DJ has been the primary day shift patrol officer in Dardenne Prairie. The Board of Aldermen presented DJ with a proclamation and a plaque to commemorate his years of public service. St. Charles County Chief of Police David Todd and other county personnel attend the December 4 BOA meeting where the presentation was made to Officer Jones.
The next meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission is scheduled for January 8 at 7:00 PM and the next Board of Alderman meeting is scheduled for January 15. The BOA workshop begins at 6:00 PM and the business meeting starts at 7:00 PM. Come to City Hall and see your City Government at work.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!!
“Shine a Light on City Government”
DAVID C. ZUCKER
City of Dardenne Prairie, MO