Opponents of the St. Louis Bombers Rugby Club are seeking legal advice following a contentious Sunset Hills meeting and the city’s approval of a 15-acre, lighted rugby park in Bander Park off West Watson Road.
The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen’s 5-2 decision to approve an amended development plan for the still unimproved park did not sit well with many of the residents who attended the board’s Sept. 10 meeting.
Eighteen residents of the Tapawingo and West Watson areas that border the park spoke at the meeting – 16 of them in opposition to the rugby park.
“What happens if the Bombers run out of money and can’t finish the project?” resident Peter Bruce asked. “We need you to hit the pause button and maybe put out another public survey.”
Resident Doug Ferguson added: “A large contingent of the city is very opposed, and we feel like we’re being ignored.”
Sandra Jo Ankney, who submitted a list of 39 questions to the Bombers last month, was upset that she still has not received a firm response. At the Sept. 10 meeting, she concentrated on fears of drinking water contamination that she believes will occur when the open grounds are developed as rugby fields.
Gena Stephens told the board a group she has formed – Friends of Bander Park – has engaged legal counsel that has initially identified potential violations of city law in the lease.
One of the points opponents have tried to argue – and that the Friends of Bander Park’s legal counsel apparently is looking into – is that the city allegedly did not follow notification procedures that would have informed the public about the lease before it was voted on.
Sunset Hills Mayor Pat Fribis and City Attorney Robert Jones, however, have consistently countered that the city followed the letter of the law.
Residents Erin Kelley and Greg Columbo (unrelated to Alderman Mark Columbo) were the only people who spoke in favor of the rugby park.