Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Firm Owners Have Nothing to Fear, Say City Officials Some Businesses Worry That Zoning Plan Will Lower Property Values

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Firm Owners Have Nothing to Fear, Say City Officials Some Businesses Worry That Zoning Plan Will Lower Property Values

Article excerpt

Officials in Green Park say they are trying to work with business owners who contend that the new city's ordinances are anti-business.

When the comprehensive plan was developed for Green Park, residents decided they wanted the character of the area to be residential rather than commercial, says Mayor Larry Kuban. But that notion hasn't settled well with business owners who have been in the area for years.

"The picture they have tried to paint is that there are these big corporations with no identity that try to come in and set up these nasty businesses, but it's just not true," said James Smoot Jr., owner of Fantasy Coachworks and Auto Show Magazine in Green Park.

Many of the businesses in Green Park are family owned and operated, Smoot says.

The Green Park Board of Alderman has formed a study group to hear the concerns of the business owners. The group, which includes five members appointed by city officials and five by the Green Park Business Association, recently held its first meeting.

One objection to the zoning plan, approved in February, is that three businesses along Yuma Drive and two on Green Park Road are in areas now designated residential. Those businesses will be allowed to remain but can sell the property only to a similar business or for residential use.

That restriction likely means a large drop in property value for those business owners, Smoot says.

Rich Baseler, owner of R.B. Roofing and Red Bird Disposal on Yuma Drive, says that when he is ready to retire, it will be nearly impossibly to find another roofing company to take over the building because many prefer to have an office separate from their work yard. His business has them at the same location.

But if he sells the land for residential use, he will lose probably 50 percent of his investment on the land, Baseler says.

Kuban acknowledged that some business owners were hurt more than others but noted that the business owners still could suggest amendments in the ordinances. …

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