A lawyer for one of two outlet mall developers in Chesterfield Valley brought a letter to light Monday that shows ongoing interest in stormwater channels for St. Louis Premium Outlets through neighboring farms—like Rombach Pumpkin Farms.
Despite previous public reassurances by city officials to the public and Rombach Farms that no seizure of private property for drainage ditches was pending, the letter raised the topic once again in a public setting, at a city council meeting.
Chet Pleban, a local attorney for Taubman Prestige Outlets Chesterfield, said he was giving Chesterfield City Council "information" but went on to suggest developers could be working to get ditches through private property.
The stormwater channels would run toward existing water retention basins.
The letter from the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee District is not a "smoking gun" since it is a May 17 written response to questions and public information.
The Levee District has some authority over the outlets area because of its proximity to the Missouri River.
- So officials said in the letter that it would not consider assisting with stormwater channels through area properties unless a "supermajority" of property owners were in favor of it.
- Secondly, Levee District officials indicated they had been surveyed informally about obtaining stormwater channel easements in the area for Premium Outlets, but said in the letter to the city that it would take public opinion into account, if a request came about that was consistent with the district's purposes.
"To my recollection, however, no similar request has ever been made to the (Levee District) Board," according to David Human who responds in the letter.
Pleban, the lawyer for Taubman developers, raised the specter of "condemnation" of property in order to create stormwater channels. Additionally, the Levee District letter mentioned "eminent domain" which is the taking of private property for public use.
Dean Wolfe of Chesterfield Blue Valley LLC and a member of the development team for St. Louis Premium Outlets, said Monday after the public meeting that he had no authority to initiate proceedings against adjoining property owners—including Rombach Farms—for stormwater channels.
However Wolfe also pointed out that stormwater channels seemed to be consistent with overall master plans for development within the 188 acres he owns that includes 55 acres for Premium Outlets development.
Again, chief city planner Amiee Nassif has said for stormwater channels through neighboring farms.
Nassif said developers must submit plans to the city about how it will handle such requirements as stormwater drainage.