Some believe St. Charles County is too heavy handed in demanding - KMOV.com

Some believe St. Charles County is too heavy handed in demanding barns be kept up

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(KMOV.com) – Some residents believe St. Charles County is being too heavy handed in demanding barns be kept up in a manner similar to a house.

St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil said the same standard for other buildings is being applied to barns, and he believes that standard is unfair. Brazil supports revising county code that allow for different rules in suburban and rural areas.

“They condemned this barn built in 1965 by a great grandfather saying it was unsafe. I asked the question ‘unsafe for who' and they said 'a trespasser goes in there and gets hurt,' and I said ‘so you're making laws for people breaking the law, that's ludicrous,” said Brazil.

Brazil said he is going to recommend that any building built before the property maintenance code was formed in the 1990s be exempt.

One woman who turned her grandmother's old barn into a business said the barn paint is peeling and rust is showing. She believes both aspects are part of history and thinks the county has gone too far with enforcement.

“I think it would be sad, silly in a way because you're changing something that time has changed. As far as safety goes, I say there's a fine line there. It's leaning way over or something that's going to be a hazard, then there is something there,” said Lisa Hagemann, the owner of Oma's Barn.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said rural properties have been a problem for years. He said he is concerned about a possible change in codes.

“If a barn looks like it's about to fall down, we have a duty to do something about that,” Ehlmann said. “I'd be glad talk about ways to provide more due process, better notice, and better opportunities to sit down and talk with us to work this out. However, I am against lowering our standards.”

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