Wehner’s Special Use Permits Discussed, But City’s Options Limited Now

During community development administrator David Bova’s report at last Thursday night’s Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen meeting, the property of George Wehner, who owns the circa 1832 Eloy LeCompte House at 231 N. Main St. and has a special use permit to run a garage and auto salvage business behind it, was discussed.

“I talked to Mr. Wehner … and he is to start removing vehicles at 231 [North Main],” Bova reported.

Ward 1 Alderman Gary Smith asked about the special use permit for the business.

The permits — most recently granted in February of 2014 — were for operation of an auto body and repair shop and auto sales business at 202 N. Main St,, an auto body and repair shop at 235 N. Main St.,and an auto wrecking yard at 331 N. Main St.

“The special use permit covered nearly everything,” Bova said. “A few years back, when there was a renewal, there was a dust-up, for lack of a better term, and the board voted to give pretty much a blanket renewal to his special use permit. …”

Smith interrupted to ask if the city can “bring him back into the fold.”

“That special use permit was issued with no restrictions and no time limits,” Toma said.

Smith asked if that could be revisited.

“Generally, no,” city attorney Mark Bishop said. …

“Once a public entity provides permission for a particular use, you don’t have the right to go back in and change that without running the risk of it being a ‘taking,’” Bishop said. “That’s why you always have to be careful whenever you approve a conditional use permit or a zoning changes, because once you make these changes, there’s no take-backs. You have to allow them to use the property in the way that was allowed by the government. And the government can’t go back and add on more restrictions without there being problems from the legal side of it.”

See complete story in the April 17 edition of the Herald.

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