I thought this was an interesting settlement…check out what I have in Red below….
The Clayton Board of Aldermen on May 20 approved a settlement agreement in a lawsuit over a proposed redevelopment project in downtown Clayton.
The board approved the settlement 5-0 at a special meeting. The suit, filed by several Clayton residents, raised issues with a project at 212 S. Meramec Ave. Residents, mainly from the nearby Park Tower building, attempted to place the fate of the proposed 26-story tower project in the hands of voters, but had their signature petitions rejected by the city.
A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge ruled that the city had acted properly in denying the petitions, and that decision was later upheld by an appeals court. Plaintiffs then turned to the Missouri Supreme Court, which took up the case on May 3.
“In order to avoid risk and uncertainty associated with protracted appeals, discussions were initiated concerning a possible settlement of the dispute in a manner that would allow the project to proceed,” according to a statement from City Manager Craig Owens to the mayor and board of aldermen.
Under the terms of the settlement, the 50 percent property tax abatement that the board originally approved will be reduced to 20 percent. The developer will turn off any exterior lights on the building above the first floor every night at 10 p.m., excluding beacons required for aircraft. The developer must pay the appellant $500,000 for expenses related to the legal agreement and pay $500,000 to the Park Tower Condo Association.
Additionally, a high definition video camera will be installed on top of the 212 Meramec building facing east. Residents of the Park Tower building will be allowed access to the feed, in order to maintain their views of the Gateway Arch.
“Our settlement in this case was the product of a lot of hard work and perseverance by my co-plaintiffs and legal counsel, against constant opposition by the city,” said Dan Phillips, one of the residents who initially filed the suit in 2014.
“Although I am completely against the use of tax abatements for private development, we sued simply because the city denied us access to the ballot,” he said.
Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger released a statement concerning the settlement.
“We are glad that all parties were able to come to a reasonable agreement without delaying the project or putting the issue to a costly and unwarranted public vote … 212 Meramec is now one of many new developments planned for downtown Clayton that will bring more jobs, more housing options, new office space and investments in our community.”
The project was initially proposed by GTE Properties, LLC, but was later acquired by WORP/CA Clayton LLC. Plans call for approximately 250 living units, first floor retail and underground parking.
West End Word
Article by Mitch Schneider
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