The Bonne Terre City Council at its monthly meeting on Monday night discussed the idea of tiny houses in town, approved dates and some details for a variety of upcoming entertainment events, added an alley and discussed ongoing projects like Benham Street’s crumbling wall, the Lakeview Park improvements and numerous road re-pavings.
A woman’s request to turn a portable shed into a tiny home was unanimously rejected by the council, many of whom expressed reservations about setting a precedence for 600-700 square foot homes being built, then rented out or abandoned, or built improperly or built in multiples too close to an existing house. The Planning and Zoning Committee had recommended rejection to the council.
The committee had recommended approving, however, Matthew Hardin’s request to add an alley behind the home he owns at 27 Lake Dr., near Lakeview Park. A member of the audience rejected the council approving the alley, indicating he didn’t like the idea of the city “giving” Hardin an alley.
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City Administrator Shawn Kay explained the city would not be giving anything to anyone. The city would own the alley, along with every other alley in Bonne Terre. Hardin also offered to supply the materials for the small path that would lead from Sycamore Street to the backyard of the house and be built by city workers as they have time.
Hardin said he wanted the alley so those who rented out the Airbnb house wouldn’t have to back out onto a busy road they were unused to. There was general discussion regarding drivers’ speeds that frequently surpassed the 20 mph limit posted.
Kay reminded the council the city had received $500,000 in a Community Development Block Grant for street repaving. The streets to be improved:
- Point View, from K Highway to the dead end;
- Summit Street, from Benham to Oak streets;
- Division Street, from Murrill to West De Soto streets;
- Long Street, from Murrill to Buchanan streets;
- Branch Street, from Church Street to the city limits; and
- Rock Quarry Road, from Mine Shaft to the city limits.
As for the century-old Benham Street wall, which has been crumbling for years, the city received the appropriate permit from Missouri Department of Transportation that allows Jokerst Paving and Contracting to begin the rebuild. Kay said some of the concrete blocks will arrive on Wednesday, and the construction firm indicated work could start as early as the end of this week or the beginning of next week.
Kay said Lakeview Park’s fishing dock is slowly being built, and a good portion of the old path has been removed, with concrete estimated to be poured by the end of next week.
“They’ll have to have a little more time to be able to bring in the dirt to feather the path back the way it was, so that there’s not a big drop off,” Kay said. “In the area where the two paths come together from the back parking lot, that path had to be raised quite a bit to be able to meet the 5% grade for ADA accessibility. Even by raising it, it’s still only going to be 4.97, so it will be ADA compliant, but they’re going to have to put in quite a bit of dirt to fill that back in and reduce the drop off on either side.”
The Community Betterment Committee, which is currently listed in the books as a city-related committee receiving no funding but benefitting the city, will not have an alderperson assigned like Planning and Zoning and Historical committees have. The aldermen agreed meetings would be attended on an ad hoc basis, and the ordinance will be changed to reflect that. It was reported the Community Betterment Committee meets the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the senior center.
Several community-event dates were brought up during the council meeting:
- Oct. 3-17 have been designated for the city’s annual fall clean-up. Anyone who wants to participate in the program, in which the city picks up discarded items, should call City Hall, 573-358-2254. Certain items are prohibited from pick-up, such as tires, paint and chemicals.
- Oct. 29, the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce and the Big River/Bonne Terre Fire Department will host Halloween events near Veterans Park and the firehouse. The chamber is working on a Trunk or Treat, chaired by Scott Griffin, and the fire department is putting on their annual haunted firehouse. The council made it clear Halloween trick-or-treating on the Monday holiday is at residents’ discretion.
- Nov. 26, the groups advocating for Historic Downtown Bonne Terre have requested the closing of School Street — which the council approved — for a Christmas festival. Kay expressed interest in the city contributing to the festival as a gift to the residents.
- July 12-17, the council approved a request for Veterans Park as the site for the annual Big River Chautauqua in 2023.
- City employees and aldermen had a good chuckle regarding the Great Pig Roundup of 2022. Two pigs of unidentified ownership were running loose for several weeks, defying capture until city workers, Kay, and half the police department corralled them into the Dairy Queen lift station impoundment. “For how short their legs are, you’d be amazed how fast they can go,” Kay said.
- Kay updated aldermen on a variety of grants submitted for a wastewater system overhaul and improvements to the historic downtown business area.
- The council took care of two housekeeping items, approving an ordinance preventing or dealing with conflicts of interest for certain municipal officials, and setting the city tax levy for the year.
- Granted Parkview Apartments’ request to landscape certain areas originally agreed to by the city before the elementary school was converted to apartments.
- The council approved Milap Patel’s request for a liquor license for Shri Narayan LLC, doing business as Bonne Terre Shell.
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or email@example.com.