Open Wide Ye Gates
Ladue City Council turns gate issue over to Zoning and Planning Commission.
Susan Williams, who lives on nine acres on Warson Road, asked the Ladue City Council to reconsider their stance against gates in Ladue. "We understand that the gates may interfere with open vistas, but as homeowners, we have other issues such as people trespassing on our property. In a two-month period, we had over 25 trespassers on our property. That's a safety concern, as well as a liability concern should someone be hurt."
She said that they are "gawkers" who drive down her driveway, around the garage, and take pictures. "One almost hit my son who was playing in the driveway."
Robert Selsor, Polsinelli Shughart PC, representing Dennis and Sheila Hammond, said that the Hammonds also have an issue with people driving up their driveway.
"One morning, a homeless man was pounding on the windows of their breakfast room," Selsor said. "They would like for you to consider if this ordinance furthers the interests of the citizens of Ladue. They don't think it does.
They are gone six months out of the year and they feel very uneasy about leaving their home. They want their home secure."
In 2001, Ladue passed a law regulating driveway monuments and gates because of a concern that some residents felt that gates did not represent an "open inviting community," said City Administrator Mike Wooldridge. "The bill said they were discouraged."
The issue was brought up again in 2004, and language prohibiting gates on residential driveways was passed.
Wooldridge said the issue came before the council again in February 2010. "At that time, the council declined the request for review.
Councilwoman Nancy Spewak said she thinks the council needs to look at the ordinance. "We have gates across from places that we're turning down. We have existing gates which are securing someone's property, then telling others we're not going to allow you to secure."
She said the city allows fences up and down main thoroughfares. "I think they are destroying the vistas more than the gates."
Councilman John Fox said it might be best to "pitch it back to zoning and planning."
Councilman Anthony Bommarito said they should make a decision for the entire city, not just a few."
The board unanimously voted to send the issue to the commission for further review.