Des Peres Mayor Mark Becker on Feb. 25 broke a tie vote among aldermen to allow microbreweries and craft distilleries to operate in the city.

Last August, Mark Disper, owner of the Village Bar, 12247 Manchester Road, requested rezoning to allow for microbreweries and distilleries. Disper wants to convert a barn behind his Village Bar into an event space with a microdistillery.

Before calling for the vote, Mayor Becker asked City Attorney Kevin O’Keefe if the bill would allow Disper to proceed with his plans for a microdistillery.

“This does not authorize anyone to get a conditional use permit,” O’Keefe said. “It enables any applicant to apply for a permit, but does not authorize anyone to engage in the business of either a microdistillery or microbrewery.”

The Village Bar is still required to apply for a conditional use permit, first through planning and zoning and then a public hearing before aldermen.

“It (the bill) states that the products of a craft distillery cannot be sold to a wholesaler for distribution,” Board Member Ben Sansone said. “Could someone get around that?”

O’Keefe said he did not see how that could happen under state regulation.

Board members Sansone, Jim Kleinschmidt and John Pound voted against the rezoning request. Board members Sean Concagh, Dean Fitzpatrick and Patrick Barrett voted in favor.

“I have thought long and hard about this and this does not give the Village Bar or authorize them to proceed,” Becker said. “They still have to go through the conditional use permit process, so I will vote aye.”

Sansone said the zoning change is very vague and opens the city up to developments it may not want in the future.

“We don’t need a distillery exhaust located on the border of Des Peres Park, right next to where we just decided to spend $2 million of taxpayers’ money to redo the tennis courts and add a pickleball court,” Sansone said.

Medical Marijuana Regulations

With voter approval of medical marijuana in last November’s election, Des Peres will need to decide what regulations it wants in place.

“A new state law allows for growth, testing and distributing of medicinal marijuana,” said City Administrator Doug Harms. “One of the hot topics among city officials now is what, if any, zoning regulations would be appropriate on that topic.

“State law says we cannot prohibit it,” he continued. “You can regulate time, place and manner but cannot issue an outright ban.”

Aldermen voted to refer the issue on medicinal cannabis regulations to the Planning Zoning Commission.

Recycling Offender Stickers

Aldermen passed a resolution “Sticker Initiative” that will educate and promote sustainable recycling practices and will identify residents who routinely deposit non-recyclable items into their recycling containers.

The action resulted following a report from Waste Connections that found while Des Peres residents are doing a good job at recycling, problems remain with recycling containers being contaminated.

“One load of yard waste will contaminate the entire truck,” said Waste Connections representative Linda Jones. “All those wet leaves get everything wet.”

The initiative permits haulers to attach educational flyers on offenders’ containers, and to permit Waste Connections to temporarily confiscate chronic offenders’ recycling containers.