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City of Bellefontaine Neighbors Attacks First Amendment Rights Again

Well, the City of Bellefontaine Neighbors, in north St. Louis County, is back at it again. As some readers may recall, in February of last year I wrote about the appellant court declaring that an ordinance passed by the City of Bellefontaine Neighbors requiring property owners to apply for an inspection before advertising their home for sale violated their property rights and was unconstitutional. Then, the following month I wrote another article on the subject, this time about how, in spite of the decision of the appellant court, the city of Bellefontaine was still enforcing the ordinance.

So what are they up to?  Well, this afternoon I found out that tomorrow, May 5th, the Bellefontaine Neighbors Board of Alderman will consider passing Bill No. 2233, “Pre-Sales Inspections”, which, if passed, would in my opinion be the City thumbing their noses at the Eastern District Court of Appeals decision since this bill is basically the same as the ordinance struck down by the court with the exception being that in this one instead of requiring an application for an inspection PRIOR to listing your home for sale it now says you have to apply within 3 days of advertising your home for sale.  Yep, I’m serious….

While some of you may think this doesn’t affect you because you don’t own property in the City of Bellefontaine Neighbors, think again…Ordinances tend to spread from one municipality to another, particularly in a case like this where the city attorney, Kevin O’Keefe, represents many other municipalities in the area.

So what can you do to try to prevent this?  The St. Louis Association of REALTORS has set up a Call to Action and you can easily send a message to the Alderman of the City of Bellefontaine Neighbors encouraging them not to pass this bill by clicking on this link.

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3 comments to City of Bellefontaine Neighbors Attacks First Amendment Rights Again

  • Zhanara

    What was the outcome of 2233? We’ve had people we know just walk away from houses because of these kinds of issues. I just don’t understand how the city is not held to the court ruling….

  • Dennis Norman

    Unfortunately, in spite of the effort by the St. Louis Association of REALTORS, and many concerned citizens, Bellefontaine passed the new bill and is enforcing it – To me, this is a slap in the face of the appellant courts decision, but, it just doesn’t seem to matter….municipalities such as Bellefontaine Neighbors seem to be able to get away with violating the rights of property owners under the veil of “sovereign immunity”protection given them by Missouri courts…the borrom line is, while you and I are held accountable for our actions and, if we played games such as Bellefontaine has to circumvent an appellant court decision, it would probably prove to be quite costly, for Bellefontaine there is almost no downside. The worst case for them is probably that their new ordinance is struck down by the courts as being unconstitutional like the first one…then, they can do like they did this time and pass another ordinance…perhaps change the 3 days to 5 this time….

  • Val Heidebur

    I don’t know why anyone would want to buy a home in Bellefontaine Neighbors anyway!It’s different rules for different fools here.
    As a 30+ year resident,6 different homes in Bellefontaine Neighbors,a former 25 year employee of Bellefontaine Neighbors,I now couldn’t sell my house if I wanted to.
    After buying our “dream home” at 1347 Coburg Lands Dr.East and investing nearly $40,000 to make it the way we wanted.
    Who would want to buy a beautiful home with 6 huge trailers and a huge storage shed on wheels parked in the FRONT yard next door?
    Now after numerous complants from neighbors,the city acted and issued permits to pave the area under the trailers making it legal!
    This could happen to you anywhere in this city !
    I you can’t sell,the only other option,sometimes,is to walk away or find someone interested in making a 1900 sq.foot house into a day care and we have plenty of them here and few other businessess.
    The inspections ? It’s easy to get in,but getting out a different story !