PicturePhoto Credit: Larry Williams
The 20th anniversary of the Great Flood of '93 is getting some attention this month, including this editorial in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on the current state of development in floodplains.

Our favorite snippet from the article is this: '“We said, if you don’t need to develop in a flood plain, don’t do it,” retired Brig. Gen. Gerald Galloway told the Post-Dispatch in 2005, when, more than a decade after the Great Flood, it was clear his report was being ignored.'  Read the full Galloway report, written by 30 of the nation's top authorities on floodplain management, to see how close we came to common sense and how far we've strayed.

Developers and politicians still yearn to develop floodplain land into taxable commercial property. Look no further than the Maryland Heights Comprehensive Plan, which envisions almost every kind of development except single family homes -- although apartments and nursing homes are welcome -- in the floodplain between the Missouri River and Creve Coeur Park.

We need a different vision for how floodplains can be used productively to benefit the surrounding natural and human communities.  Rather than chasing tax dollars on new commercial properties, cities should be protecting taxpayer dollars from future bailouts of properties that are doomed to flood again and again.

Rather than wait for developers to submit their own self-serving ideas, the Maryland Heights City Council members and the Planning Commission should be leading the charge on how to sustainably develop this unique land resource.

Come join us for a night of fun at our annual Trivia Night fundraiser. Grab your friends and neighbors and test your knowledge while supporting our efforts to save the floodplain by Creve Coeur Park from massive commercial development.

MHRRG has been partnering with the Open Space Council to help educate the community on the plans that Maryland Heights, St. Louis County and certain landowners have come up with to pave over farmland and wetlands adjacent to Creve Coeur Park. We will have more information available during the trivia night and have people on hand to answer questions before the event begins.

This event is MHRRG's main fundraiser for the year, please help us make it successful! There will be a Raffle and Silent Auction conducted throughout the evening as well as extra games thrown in for fun. Put together a table of 8 people and come have some fun!
For more information and registration form, go here.
When the Planning Commission let the Maryland Pointe developers go forward to the next stage, they set out a list of conditions the new plan must meet from the get-go.  This organization hosted a community meeting during which residents made their own comments and additions to the city's conditions.

Both documents were reviewed at the Oct. 25 meeting, but not everyone got a copy.  Click here to review a copy of the conditions and residents' comments.  Take a close look and let us know what you think.
There is some confusion about what happened at the last Planning Commission meeting.  The commission was expected to vote up or down on Maryland Pointe, but they found a middle road.  They asked the city's planning staff to develop a third option by coming up with a list of conditions the developers would have to meet if the commission voted to "approve the proposal with conditions."

At the Oct. 25 meeting, the Planning Commission WILL vote one of three ways:
1. Denial 
2. Approval
3. Approval with conditions

Public pressure IS having an impact on the process!  Show up on Oct. 25 and urge the commission to deny the Maryland Pointe proposal.  It is easy to ignore people you can't see.  We need to make sure they see a packed house of concerned citizens.
The direction of development in Maryland Heights will be largely determined on Tuesday, October 11, when the Maryland Heights Planning Commission votes on the Maryland Pointe proposal to put 191 acres of big-box retail and fast food joints next to Creve Coeur Park.  They have three options:

1.  Deny the conceptual development plan
2.  Approve the conceptual development plan
3.  Approve the conceptual development plan with conditions

The first option is really the only acceptable one.  If the CONCEPT is wrong, no amount of dressing up with conditions, market studies, etc., will make it any better.  Do we want big-box retail next to Creve Coeur Park?  NO we do not.  Deny this concept and let's move on to creating the kind of community we DO want.
Here's a recap of last night's Planning Commission meeting by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  The planning department presented its review of the Maryland Pointe plan, which was thorough and took an hour to present.  View the report here.

Residents also spoke against the plan and while concern for Creve Coeur Park remained, it is noteworthy that many of the comments also centered on why this development is bad for Maryland Heights as a city as well.

The Planning Commission did not vote on the issue, but deferred decision until the Oct. 11 meeting.  Stay tuned here for more information on what's next.  One thing is clear:  the Maryland Pointe project has hit some major roadblocks, and that is good news for Maryland Heights, Creve Coeur Park and surrounding communities.

Drop by the St. Louis Bread Company at Westport this Saturday morning from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. and get up to speed on what's happening with the Maryland Pointe development.  Whether you've been tracking this issue since 2008 or just found out about it, we'd love to answer your questions.

We'll have flyers for the 9/27 Planning Commission meeting, petitions, and t-shirts for sale.  Come grab a cup of joe and meet some folks who share your concern/passion about stopping regional retail development near Creve Coeur Park.
The August 31 edition of the Suburban Journal printed a more complete summary of the August 23 Planning Commission meeting, which you can find here.  A good recap if you've missed previous meetings.

The next step in the process is the final (we hope) public hearing on September 27.  The public will be allowed to make comments at the meeting, and the city planning staff will present their recommendation to the Planning Commission.  Then, the commission is expected to vote on whether or not the Maryland Pointe proposal is allowed to go forward. 
Developers of Maryland Pointe, in the front row, looked a tad uncomfortable when the audience stood to reveal through pictures the multitude of commercial vacancies already available in the area.
An overflow crowd with standing room only -- fueled overwhelmingly by people opposing the Maryland Pointe development -- filled the government chambers tonight.  A succession of area residents spoke passionately for an hour on why this development must not be allowed to proceed.

The highlight of the evening occurred when one speaker illustrated the amount of commercial vacancies already present in the area in a slide presentation, followed by a majority of attendees standing and holding pictures of actual buildings and "for rent/sale" signs to drive the point home.

Also noteworthy were the "boos" attracted by the developers' Armstrong Teasdale attorney when he implied the audience wasn't informed on the planning process.  In case he is confused or mistaken, hear this:  Yes we are.