Fenton residents shocked over subdivision rules banning minorities

FENTON, MO (KTVI) – Some residents of a Fenton neighborhood are up in arms over a nearly 70-year-old deed restriction that bans minorities from owning homes there.  The rule clearly cannot be enforced, but for some, just its existence is upsetting.

“That is wrong.  No matter where you’re at it’s wrong,” Dennis Smith said.

The neighborhood just off of New Sugar Creek Road has been there since the World War II era. The restrictions are dated October 1945.  Item number 4 of the rules states no property, “shall ever be owned or occupied by persons not of the Caucasian race, nor by Semites or persons of the Semite race.”

Smith was given a copy when he asked a neighborhood association member for information about fees he is paying.

“In the conversation he said we cannot sell to non-Caucasians, and then he said on the piece of paper to be sure to read number four,” explained Smith.

He interpreted that statement as endorsing the document, but the trustee he was speaking to tells us by phone he was just pointing out a clearly illegal section of the document and making sure Smith understood that other sections remained in effect.

Smith’s son Jacob is the one who contacted Fox 2 about this, saying he felt compelled to try and initiate a change.

“I was pretty outraged. I couldn’t believe that in this day and age a rule like that would still be on the books.  I would think someone would have found it by now,” he said.

A neighbor, George Shannon, says he remembers seeing the document when he bought his house two decades ago, but he thought it was so outdated and ridiculous, that he paid little attention to it.

“I never thought for a second that anybody would really think that way now.  We don’t sit down and talk about it, but given the interest now, I think we should sit down and revise it,” he said.

Shannon goes on to say that long forgotten passage should not be a reflection on the people who live along Circle Drive and Spur Lane, “It’s a reflection of what happened in the forties.  It’s not a reflection of anything that’s going on right now.  At least nobody that I know of.”

Subdivision Restrictions

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Email: george.sells@tvstl.com

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