Businessman says he may not build after stop sign snafu

Thursday, August 15, 2013
Pictured is a stretch of Highway 51 where the Marble Hill Board of Aldermen approved a stop sign that created controversy among people who travel the road -- and the aldermen. (Linda Redeffer/The Banner Press)

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- A stop sign will not be installed at the intersection of Third Street and Highway 51. The business owner who requested the stop sign told the board of aldermen Monday that he may not continue with his plans to build a barbecue restaurant at that corner because the city reneged on its vote to send a letter of support to the Missouri Department of Transportation in favor of the stop sign.

Aldermen and businessman Todd Stroder disagreed on what the city had actually approved.

"All I had asked for was a letter from the city," Stroder said.

Stroder claimed he had approval from a MoDOT supervisor to build a drive-through at the proposed restaurant that would exit onto Highway 51. He also said he had a verbal agreement with Steve Hoernig, the supervisor from Sikeston, Mo., that MoDOT would install a stop sign there for safety. All Hoernig was waiting for, Stroder said, was the city's letter of support.

However, MoDOT traffic studies specialist Kent Blunt issued a report Aug. 1 saying studies showed no need for a stop sign.

Board members questioned Stroder's intentions in asking for the city's support of a decision only MoDOT can make.

"You led us to believe MoDOT had already approved it," said Alderwoman Beverly Johnson. Alderman Charles Fisher said he believed Stroder had "blindsided" the board with his request for the city's support.

Mayor Nick Hendricks acknowledged he made the decision not to send the letter.

"It was a naive mistake," Hendricks said. "I should never have let it go to a vote" at the previous meeting.

Alderman Kenneth Trentham got a loud, negative response when he suggested the board owed Stroder an apology.

"We said we would give him a letter and we did not do it," Trentham said. He also told Hendricks when Hendricks made the decision not to issue the letter, he had "overstepped his boundaries."

Trentham said later in the meeting that by going back on what the city had voted to do, the board had effectively run a business out of town.

"I don't think it was handled in a professional manner," Trentham said. "We owed him the courtesy of doing what we said we would do. We should be out looking for businesses, not driving them away."

Hendricks said he agreed with Trentham.

"It goes back further than that. I made the mistake of not talking to MoDOT before we agreed to the letter."

Pertinent address:

Third Street and Highway 51, Marble Hill, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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