After more than 30 minutes of mind-numbing “discussion” by the planning staff, the commission caved in a 7 – 0 vote to approve the plan with conditions. We’ve seen this situation time and time again; a planning commission or city council member is unsure of how to vote or they aren’t happy with the way a plan is laid out, yet they vote “yes” anyway. This is just plain wrong.
Sadly, this produces a process in which:
- Everyone involved in the project hopes that if they drag it on long enough, the public will lose interest and go away.
- If you can’t or won’t kill something at the first step in the process, it basically snowballs into a done deal.
The planning commission was told last night that the developer and the city had already put so much time and money into this project that it should be passed through to the next stage. But just because a decision was made 15 years ago by private landowners to rebuild the levee, speculating that the value of their land would increase, it doesn’t mean the rest of us need to blindly accept every plan for development that comes along. Yes, the landowners have every right to sell their land to whomever they like, but that doesn’t give the buyer the right to do anything they want with that land.
The comprehensive plan the city is following is outdated -- by the city planner’s own admission at the Sept. 27 meeting -- and includes very little input from anyone except a handful of developers, builders and landowners. Most of the large landowners don’t even live in Maryland Heights anymore, yet they still give large amounts of money in campaign donations to the Mayor and at least half of the City Council. Clearly we need to protect ourselves.
The residents of Maryland Heights and everyone who loves Creve Coeur Park and the area surrounding it need to stand together; now is the time to show up and be counted. Call, write or email your City Council representative and the Mayor. Get your neighbors to sign the petition against the development being planned. Most of all SHOW UP for the public meetings. The 50-60 people who showed up to the last two meetings are not enough. The weight of your presence and the power of your stare are necessary to show the Planning Commission and the City Council that we are not going away. It’s easy to ignore people you can’t see.