Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

One Board to Regulate Historic Areas

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

One Board to Regulate Historic Areas

Article excerpt

The St. Charles City Council has unanimously approved a series of bills that consolidate regulatory authority over historic neighborhoods into one appointed board.

The council took the 9-0 vote Wednesday after conducting several public hearings on the bills and listening to reservations from residents and merchants in historic areas about the proposed ordinances.

Phyllis Muresan, president of the South Main Street Preservation Society, said all of the groups largely support the reorganization efforts embodied in the bills. She also said the groups are united in their insistence on one change: that prospective developers in historic areas be required to take their plans to existing neighborhood groups for consideration and approval.

The language now says it is recommended that developers present their plans to the groups.

She said that change is something the sponsors of the bills steadfastly refused to write into the proposals.

"There's something wrong when all areas agree on this one issue and they are just ignored," Muresan said.

One sponsor, Council President Rose Kasper, 8th Ward, said the groups were not being ignored. She said failing to heed the demand of neighborhood groups was based largely on legal concerns.

"We didn't think you could say that someone is required to go to these groups because none of these people are elected and we don't know how these neighborhood boards are constituted," she said.

Councilman Richard Baum of the 6th Ward, the other sponsor, said he did not believe the difference over one word - require versus recommend - was sufficient to hold up bills "that will be good for the entire city."

"There are a lot of things in these bills that are good for neighborhood groups," he said. "For one thing, they are specifically identified and mentioned in city ordinances. They weren't before."

Councilman Rory Riddler, 1st Ward, said he sympathized with the neighborhood groups but said the bills include a majority of the suggestions the groups have made since the reorganization was first proposed in October.

"And I think, as a practical matter, anyone who does not take his plans to the local neighborhood group for comment will find it difficult getting those plans approved by the new board and by the city," he said. …

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