On March 22, 2019, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center sent a formal Complaint to the City of St. Louis on behalf of residents of the Hyde Park neighborhood in North St. Louis. Great Rivers requested the City to take appropriate action against two businesses that are violating City ordinances by using public rights-of-way for their private loading dock, storage facility, and dumping site. For decades these businesses have continuously dumped refuse along the north side of Farrar Avenue, just west of 21st Street, by placing their metal, industrial waste, and other solid wastes in the sidewalk. One business does not use refuse containers. The businesses have no permits from the Board of Public Service to maintain these obstructions and encroachments, which obstruct the sidewalks and parts of streets. These properties are not approved sanitary landfill sites, and neither entity has approval from the Refuse Commissioner to dump its refuse on the sidewalk. Not only does this practice cause illegal obstructions and encroachments to the public right-of-way, it constitutes illegal dumping of solid waste.
Public health and zoning ordinances are designed to protect citizens from public nuisances. When those ordinances are not enforced by the government with authority to do so, citizens suffer and have little recourse against the offending businesses. The City of St. Louis has turned a blind eye to two businesses that cause disparate health and safety impacts to this minority community.
“The City needs to stop ignoring the illegal activities of businesses in North St. Louis,” said Bob Menees, attorney at Great Rivers Environmental Law Center. “Cities must enforce the laws in all communities and not ignore them in minority and low-income communities.”
Great Rivers’ Complaint asks the City of St. Louis to enforce its ordinances as written to require these businesses to clean up their act and to help improve the environment and community of Hyde Park.