ST. LOUIS – When you buy in the virtual world, traveling to the real world is no easy task.
It’s about 7:05 p.m. on a weeknight. A FedEx truck is backing up into a house on Jamieson Avenue in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood, but Adelon Jernigan said it’s not for a delivery.
“We’re here throughout the month and so far throughout the year, until they find employees. It’s better to just get a house,” Jernigan said.
Jernigan is a contractor from Mississippi. He delivers packages on behalf of FedEx. He said up to five people will stay in the St. Louis Hills house.
“We got other houses all over St. Louis,” Jernigan said.
The contractor said there are not enough FedEx drivers in the St. Louis area, so people come from across the country to help out the area.
“People order stuff every day,” Jernigan said. “If we’re not here, how are you going to get it?”
But this is not a story about a staffing shortage. It’s actually about a return option for St. Louis Hills’ newest neighbors.
Gene Bockelmann lives across the street.
“They are there all the time,” he said.
Debroah Webber Campos lives two doors down.
“Around the clock, the beep, beep, beep as the trucks are backing in and out,” Webber Campos said.
Photos obtained by the Fox Files show the FedEx trucks, including pick-ups, bumper-to-bumper, creating a problem for people’s paths.
“Whether they’re blocking the city sidewalk or not, it’s clearly operating as a business,” Webber Campos said.
Alderman Tom Oldenburg (Ward 2) represents St. Louis Hills and said something has to change.
“Within the last year, we’ve constantly seen FedEx trucks parked in the driveway,” Oldenburg said. “They have parked on the street in the past and the police have been called and ticketed.”
The street sign reads as clear as day: commercial vehicles cannot park on Jamieson Avenue unless they’re loading, unloading, or servicing. Photos appear to show something different outside the house where the contractors stay.
St. Louis police confirm officers have been called four times for parking violations this year.
City property records reveal the home is owned by Michael Flavin and is zoned as residential. The home’s address is also registered to a few businesses, including a realtor’s group, with Missouri’s Secretary of State.
In a statement, Flavin said he’s aware of the concerns.
“If an issue arises, which is rare, we address the issue promptly and directly with our tenants, using both phone calls and direct in-person communication,” Flavin wrote. “A recent parking concern was resolved in under an hour.”
Oldenburg said neighbors know the home’s owner.
“Members of this community know that owner. I’ve reached out to him, the city has tried to reach out to him to let him know that there’s concerns from neighbors,” Oldenburg said. “It doesn’t seem to be that there’s any cooperation.”
Flavin claims he’s not heard from Oldenburg or any of his associates and has called, left a voicemail, and sent an email.
To provide “clarity,” Flavin said reflective markings and dashes have been put in place to remind tenants of proper parking etiquette.
A FedEx spokeswoman said the people staying at the house are not employees.
“These vehicles are owned and operated by an independent service provider contracted to do business on behalf of FedEx,” the company wrote.
The company said it immediately addressed the concerns and apologized for any inconvenience.
The contractor said he works three weeks to a month at any given time, then goes home for a week before returning to St. Louis.
“Packages have got to get out,” Jernigan said.
Jernigan said there are four or five other houses in St. Louis being occupied by FedEx contractors.
The FOX Files captured video a couple miles away of a truck with FedEx logos parked outside a rental house.
Jernigan said the house on Jamieson is the only one receiving complaints.
“I understand the blocking of the sidewalk,” Jernigan said. “We’re not disturbing, making noise. I mean, we’re here to work. Leave us alone. Like, we don’t mess up. We don’t disturb peace; just let us work.”
Oldenburg calls the situation frustrating.
“Apparently the leases are longer than 30 days, so it’s clear that they found some loophole within hoteling a single-family residence,” Oldenburg said.
Webber Campos said something should change because it’s a residential neighborhood.
“They seem to be various individuals in and out, back and forth,” Webber Campos said. “This is zoned as residential property. It’s clearly operating as a commercial business.”
Flavin said the property is not a hotel, boarding house or bed and breakfast and that he offers affordable and safe housing.
The property owner said no business is conducted at the house and it’s not a hub for packages.