Feb 24, 2017
In the wake of a critical report by the city clerk, the municipality’s aldermen effectively quashed a petition by a group of local residents which would have mandated a public vote before approval of construction projects in excess of ten stories or 200,000 square feet. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, officials characterized the proposal as an unworkable idea that would affect dozens of existing buildings and leave developers and business owners in limbo until routine permits could be approved during each election day.
The clerk also said the measure would need to amend the city charter, something which would require nearly twice the 450 signatures obtained by the petitioners.
The signature drive was initially prompted in response to a proposed $772 million development of office towers and other associated amenities by Centene. The plan, which was approved by Clayton last year, drew the ire of some residents who expressed concern over everything from possible traffic issues to tens of millions of dollars in tax abatements for the new project.
Despite not adopting the residents’ petition, Mayor Harold Sanger thanked them for being engaged and said he would arrange a study group to review the city’s initiative and referendum procedures to bolster public confidence in the process.
A lawyer for the political action committee associated with the residents’ efforts said he was still examining Clayton’s response before determining a course of action.