Storm damage shut down Weston City Hall

The severe weather a week earlier forced one local government to change its regular meeting date. 

Hail and winds damaged Weston City Hall on Monday, March 6 when a large line of severe weather moved through the area. Weston city clerk Kim Kirby said windows were broken windows and computers were left waterlogged, forcing the city to postpone its regular board of aldermen meeting by one week. 

Contributed photo Weston City Hall, pictured here looking out a window, suffered heavy damage during last week’s storms, which brought tornadoes to the area and region. Large hail broke out windows, allowing rain inside to soak equipment.

Contributed photo
Weston City Hall, pictured here looking out a window, suffered heavy damage during last week’s storms, which brought tornadoes to the area and region. Large hail broke out windows, allowing rain inside to soak equipment.

The Weston Board of Aldermen was scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Monday, March 13, but due to storm damage will instead meet at the same time on Monday, March 20. 

According to Kirby, city hall was busy March 6 with the regular municipal court night. With city staff, police, the municipal judge and defendants in the building, the tornado sirens in town started to go off just after 7 p.m. Kirby said everyone — except for  Weston Police Department members, including chief Terry Blanton — huddled in the city hall basement.

While there was no tornadic activity in Weston, according to the National Weather Service, there was large hail, which smashed several windows at city hall, damaged the roof and damaged both police cars and personal vehicles parked in the city lot.

“There was glass and water everywhere,” Kirby said of the sight that greeted the staff when they emerged from the basement. “The hail looked like snow on the ground outside.”

Kirby estimated the hail was between golf- and tennis-ball sized ice chunks. 

The city’s computer system was soaked during the storm, and it took several days to get everything dried out and back online. Local business owner Bill Hewitson of Weston Mill Works offered to fix the city hall windows at no cost, and those repairs are nearly complete. 

Contributed photo Weston City Hall, pictured here from the outside, suffered heavy damage during last week’s storms, which brought tornadoes to the area and region. Large hail broke out windows, allowing rain inside to soak equipment. The large chunks of hail can seen in this picture in the landscaping.

Contributed photo
Weston City Hall, pictured here from the outside, suffered heavy damage during last week’s storms, which brought tornadoes to the area and region. Large hail broke out windows, allowing rain inside to soak equipment. The large chunks of hail can seen in this picture in the landscaping.

Kirby said the city’s insurance adjustor is on site this week performing roof inspections, and the city has yet to receive an estimate on the cost of damages. City hall will require a new roof, she said, with other city-owned properties also sustaining damage.

“What we had was pretty minor compared to what some other cities have had to deal with,” Kirby said. 

Smithville and Trimble, located right on the Platte/Clay county border, endured an EF-2 tornado that night, leaving more than 50 homes damaged with a few completely leveled. Hail damage was widespread across the area, including in Edgerton, Weston and Platte City. 

Tornadoes in Oak Grove, Mo. and Olathe, Kan. caused more destruction across the metro area.

On the rescheduled March 20 agenda, the board is expected to discuss a potential parking ban on Washington Street that was first approved then immediately rescinded at the Monday, Feb. 13 meeting. The Washington and Spring streets reconstruction project is not quite over but it is winding down. 

Last month, the board discussed reverting to normal traffic patterns, but digressed into a conversation on cars parking on Washington across from the school buildings. Prohibiting parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays was considered, but as school is still getting under way at around 8 a.m. occasional parking may happen. 

Weston mayor Kent Stelljes suggested that police could give leeway to those parking at the start of the school day and use their own judgment. 

Blanton suggested instead making the parking ban begin at 9 a.m. The board agreed, except for alderman Mark Seymour, who stood opposed to a parking ban as some residents in the area don’t have off-street parking available. 

The parking ban was narrowly approved on a 2-1 vote with Seymour voting no and alderman Joyce Burch absent. Shortly after, Beth McPherson, owner of the Weston Chronicle, said a proposed parking ban was not listed on its posted agenda, thus potentially violating the Missouri Sunshine Law. 

Stelljes agreed, and the vote was quickly rescinded. 

The final approval of the city’s long-discussed ordinances governing the use of shipping containers within the city is also expected to be on the March agenda.