Yeah, Rep. Rodney Hubbard saved the day by requiring local control over any development receiving a huge state tax credit (at least in the version passed by the state house). So, if passed by the Senate and signed by Gov Blunt then Paul McKee will have to make political contributions to aldermanic campaigns, not just those of the Mayor and President of the Board of Aldermen. With contribution limits back in place it really shouldn’t cost him much. For all 28 aldermen that is less than ten grand. Pocket change.
And for anyone that thinks that magically the development we’ll get will magically be better due to local control think again. Here are a few reminders of local control in St. Louis:
New sidewalks between residential areas and mass transit lacking street trees.
Massive parking lots but no ADA access route.
Once great urban mixed-use buildings dismantled for the used bricks.
Pretend pedestrian entrances leading to a drive-thru and fence.
Beautiful buildings replaced with generic Walgreen’s stores.
Strip shopping centers that ignore pedestrians, forcing them to create their own entryways.
Prominent corners in emerging commercial districts paved for parking, lacking a single pedestrian entry/exit from parking lot forcing those who use it to walk in the auto drive.
So suburban of housing the suburbs no longer build such stuff.
Officials parking on the sidewalks.
Taxi stands placed on the sidewalk at pedestrian crossings to a convention center.
Parking garages on nearly every corner of the CBD (Central Business District).
Ugly stairs intruding into the public right of way.
Building entrances planned that block the public sidewalk.
Poorly planned subdivisions left unfinished over political squabbles.
Poor planning which accelerated abandonment and decay.
Lack of design review which leads to windowless appendages on prominent buildings.
Paved front yards.
More unfinished suburban development in the city.
Lifeless parking garages.
Brick markers awaiting their role to close off areas where buildings once stood.
Razing of historic and urban structures for anti-urban surface parking.
Crosswalks that don’t align with ramps.
How about a big casino? Money from gambling will solve our social problems.
Blank walls and no trees.
A drive-thru separating pedestrian from entrance.
Abusive valet companies, little to no enforcement to keep them from taking an entire block.
Proliferation of advertising on more parking.
New housing with no relationship to old housing.
Horrible environments pretending to be Architecture.
Razing historic mansions for promised development.
Razing the 1960s solution for the newer solution. Earlier solution cleared existing neighborhood.
Razing hundreds of buildings to create a useless open space. Revisiting dead zone every ten years to attempt to fix problem.
Copying suburban ideas, expecting them to work in the urban core.
Buildings razed for parking but parking banned on excessively wide streets.
Anti-urban senior prisons.
Streets closed for more useless plazas. Traffic congestion created as a result of so few through streets.
Spacing between new houses as wide as the houses themselves.
Threats of a big hole left if subsidy is not given.
Garages and driveways consuming backyards.
I have thousands of additional examples. We’ve had plenty of local control over the years. Our local officials don’t have a clue how to create a vibrant city. In fact, they seem quite skilled at doing exactly the opposite. OK, so McKee can’t get his tax credit until the Board of Aldermen pass some legislation approving a plan based on their standards. I’m not hopeful.