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St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 32 of 2019-2020 Session

February 14, 2020 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 32 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 32nd meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 31.

Today’s agenda includes seven (7) new bills.

  • B.B.#217 – Roddy – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Mayor and Comptroller of the City of St. Louis to execute, upon receipt of and in consideration of the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($250.00) and other good and valuable consideration, a Quit Claim Deed to remise, release, and forever quit-claim unto Julia D. Lopez and Veronica A. Nold certain City-owned property located in City Block 5114, which property is known and numbered as 4219 Gibson Avenue in the City of St. Louis, Missouri.
  • B.B.#218 – Roddy – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Mayor and Comptroller of the City of St. Louis to execute, upon receipt of and in consideration of the sum of One Thousand Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($1,250.00) and other good and valuable consideration, a Quit Claim Deed to remise, release, and forever quit-claim unto The Transgender Memorial, LLC certain City-owned property located in City Block 3984, which property is known and numbered as 1485-1487 South Vandeventer Avenue in the City of St. Louis, Missouri.
  • B.B.#219 – Navarro/Coatar/Ingrassia/Guenther/Green/Rice/ Narayan – An ordinance entitled “Building Energy Performance Standards”; the purpose of this ordinance is to establish energy performance standards for certain buildings in the City of St. Louis.
  • B.B.#220 – Clark-Hubbard – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate above surface, surface and sub-surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel in the 15 foot wide north/south alley in City Block 3874-W as bounded by Waterman, Clara, Pershing and DeBaliviere in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, as hereinafter de- scribed, in accordance with Charter authority, and in conformity with Section l4 of Article XXI of the Charter and imposing certain conditions on such vacation.
  • B.B.#221 – Ingrassia/Navarro – An ordinance revising certain sections of the City’s zoning code in order allow Short-Term Rental, as the term is defined in this ordinance, in the Zoning Districts and in accordance with the requirements of this ordinance.
  • B.B.#222 – Ingrassia/Navarro – An ordinance to promote Short- Term Rentals in the City of St. Louis, preserve residential communities, and provide equal opportunity for traditional short-term lodging providers by authorizing the Building Commissioner, along with the advisement of a Short-Term Rental Task Force, and consistent with the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis, and other applicable law to facilitate the regulation of Short-Term Rentals as defined herein, and containing an effective date.
  • B.B.#223 – Ingrassia/Pres. Reed/Navarro/Martin/Rice – An Ordinance establishing a Paid Parental and Caregiver Leave program for the City of St. Louis’ full-time, exempt employees. This program will establish two benefits: Paid Parental Leave and Paid Caregiver Leave. These benefits will complement current leave options such as vacation and sick leave; including an Effective Date.

As we’re nearing the end of the 2019-2020 session these new bills may be the last introduced.

The Board of Aldermen meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: Hyperloop Project Impossible Without Eminent Domain

February 12, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy, Transportation Comments Off on Opinion: Hyperloop Project Impossible Without Eminent Domain

Legislators in Jefferson City have given initial approval to the idea of a Hyperloop connecting St. Louis to Kansas City. However, an amendment bans the use of eminent domain. (Source).

An experimental Hyperloop pod on display in downtown St. Louis in October 2019.

Before going any further, here are some definitions:

  • Hyperloop:  A proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation, first used to describe an open-source vactrain design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX. Hyperloop is a sealed tube or system of tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or objects at high speed while being very efficient, thereby drastically reducing travel times over medium-range distances. (Wikipedia)
  • Eminent Domain: Eminent domain refers to the power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use. The Fifth Amendment provides that the government may only exercise this power if they provide just compensation to the property owners.  (Wex Law Dictionary)

Although the proposed project would largely follow the existing I-70 right-of-way, there might be bits of land needed here and there over such a long distance. An outright ban on the use of eminent domain will kill the project.

Still trying to decide if that’s a good or bad thing — I’m still not sold on the idea being feasible. If it does get built I’m pretty sure I won’t live to see the ribbon cutting.

Another view of the experimental Hyperloop pod on display in downtown St. Louis in October 2019.

Here are the non-scientific results of the recent Sunday Poll: 

Q: Agree or disagree: A Hyperloop system can be built connecting St. Louis with Kansas City without using eminent domain.

  • Strongly agree: 0 [0%]
  • Agree: 1 [5.26%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [15.79%]
  • Disagree: 7 [36.84%]
  • Strongly disagree: 8 [42.11%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Rather than have a ban they should have limited criteria for the use of eminent domain. Experts could help draft criteria so property owners adjacent to I-70 ROW could be reassured that huge swaths of their land won’t be taken away.

Otherwise the project is impossible, we shouldn’t even fund a test section.

— Steve Patterson

 

Examining the St. Louis MLS Stadium Site Plan, Part 4

February 10, 2020 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on Examining the St. Louis MLS Stadium Site Plan, Part 4

In parts 1-3 I looked at the areas south, north, and east of the coming soccer stadium. Today a look at the area west of the new stadium.

The site plan has the stadium at the top, bounded by Olive on the north, 20th on the east, and a new 22nd Street on the west. Pine will be closed between 20th and 22nd. Team offices and two practice fields will be south of Market.
This image shows the two block long section of Pine that’ll be vacated. Surveyors were working the day last fall that I was out photographing.
The tallest structure in the area west of the stadium is the Pear Tree Inn, 2211 Market Street. Built in 1965 it’s unfortunately set back from Market Street in a very suburban manner. There’s no pedestrian accessible route…just an automobile parking lot. I’d like to see the space between the tower and street infilled over time to urbanize Market Street. It seems wasteful to raze the entire property and start over, but that would likely produce a better product — good for another 50+ years.
The back of the Pear Tree, at 23rd & Pine, a low rise parking garage also built in 1965. The site is a full city block, it is underutilized.
Across Pine from the Pear Tree Inn’s garage is a building type more typical of the area — boring single story infill. 2229 Pine was also built in 1965.
Across 23rd from the Pear Tree garage is a little warehouse building from 1948, currently used as a resale shop.
View of the northwest corner of 23rd & Pine, as seen from the southeast corner.
The St. Louis American newspaper leases the 1964 one-story building at 2315 Pine.
Across Pine is Stray Rescue at 2320 Pine, built in 1964. They own this building and the 1948 warehouse shown earlier. Owning their building will help insulate them if demand for the area increases dramatically in the coming decades.
Moving north to Olive we have the Firestone tire & auto at 2310 Olive — built in 1964 (seeing the pattern?)
On the southeast corner of 23rd & Olive is the Lincoln Hotel, 2222-2230 Olive. Built in 1928, this is the oldest structure directly west of the new stadium.
The Lincoln isn’t a fancy boutique hotel, it’s an SRO — single room occupancy. I fear the new stadium will put economic pressure on the owner to turn it into an expensive hotel, reducing the number of SRO rooms in the city.
The Lincoln as seen from the rear alley.

It appears in the 1960s nearly every building west of the new highway ramps was razed and replaced. Thankfully they left the street grid, though Pine is one-way westbound to Jefferson.

This couple of blocks of Pine between the new stadium at 22nd and Jefferson will need to be returned to 2-way traffic. This will need to include a signal change or removal at Jefferson — likely planned as part of the changes to Jefferson being made to help workers get from I-64 to the new NGA West headquarters being built at Jefferson & Cass.

I suspect the west side of the stadium along 22nd will be the back side, but maybe those functions will be part of the underground access. Hopefully it’ll be presentable.

Expect the area bounded by 22nd, Market, Jefferson, and Olive to look very different 30+ years from now, maybe much sooner.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Can A STL-KC Hyperloop Get Built Without The Use Of Eminent Domain?

February 9, 2020 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll, Transportation Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Can A STL-KC Hyperloop Get Built Without The Use Of Eminent Domain?
Please vote below

The idea of a high speed tube transportation system connecting St. Louis to Kansas City (Missouri, not Kansas) was back in the news recently after getting initial approval the Missouri House:

Although the long-term goal is to connect St. Louis and Kansas City with a pneumatic tube people mover that could transport passengers across the state in 30 minutes, a recent study commissioned by House Speaker Elijah Haahr recommends the state should first build a 15-mile track to test the feasibility of the concept.

The report put the price tag on the test track at $300 million to $500 million. The cost to build a track linking St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City is estimated at $10.4 billion.

Before lawmakers gave their approval, however, Fitzwater proposed an amendment that would ban eminent domain for tube transport systems. (Post-Dispatch)

For those unfamiliar with the term eminent domain

Eminent domain refers to the power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use. The Fifth Amendment provides that the government may only exercise this power if they provide just compensation to the property owners. (Wex legal dictionary)

My one and only Hyperloop poll was in October 2018, and readers were split on Missouri being able to afford such a massive project.

Today’s poll is about the amendment banning the use of eminent domain added to the Hyperloop bill.

As always, today’s poll will close at 8pm. On Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts on Hyperloop and eminent domain.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 31 of 2019-2020 Session

February 7, 2020 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 31 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 31st meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 30.

Today’s agenda includes nine (9)  new bills.

  • B.B.#208 – Narayan/Green/Ingrassia – An ordinance amending Sections Ten, Twelve, Twenty-Five, and Twenty-Seven of Ordinance No. 68657 and codified in the City Code and Revised Codes as Title 11, Chapter 34, Sections .090, .110, .240, .250. concerning the Commission of Health’s Authority, Asbestos, Performance-based fee schedules related to asbestos and demolition air pollution, and Penalties; and containing a severability and effected date clause.
  • B.B.#209 – Clark – Hubbard – An ordinance approving a blighting study and Redevelopment Plan for the 5258 and 5268 Maple Ave. Redevelopment Area
  • B.B.#210 – Bosley – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan dated January 21, 2020 (“Plan”) for the Jefferson/Gamble/Elliott/Mills Area
  • B.B.#211 – Todd – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of Streets to permanently close, barricade or otherwise impede the flow of traffic on the 4400 block of West Belle Place by blocking said traffic flow at the east curb line of North Taylor Avenue at the intersection of the 4400 block of West Belle Place and North Taylor Avenue.
  • B.B.#212 – Martin – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on February 3, 2020, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map and in City Block 3209, from “B” Two-Family Dwelling District to the “E” Multiple- Family Dwelling District, at 8201 and 8221 Minnesota Avenue, so as to include the described parcels of land in City Block 3209; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#213 – Bosley – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan dated January 21, 2020 (“Plan”) for the 4101 North Grand Blvd. Area.
  • B.B.#214 – Roddy – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on February 3, 2020, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the Forest Park Southeast Form-Based District Map, from “NG2” Neighborhood General Type 2 Zone to the “NC2” Neighborhood Center Type 2 Zone in City Block 3981 4478 & 4484 Vista Avenue containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#215– Pres. Reed/Ingrassia – An Ordinance approving the Soccer Stadium Redevelopment Plan; making certain findings relating thereto, including that the redevelopment area described therein is a blighted area; authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller to execute certain documents related thereto, including a Master Redevelopment Agreement; and authorizing and directing the taking of other actions and approval and execution of other documents as are necessary or desirable to carry out and comply with the intent hereof.
  • B.B.#216 – Pres. Reed/Ingrassia – An Ordinance approving the Soccer Stadium Redevelopment Plan in accordance with Sections 99.300 to 99.715 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri; making certain findings relating thereto, including that the redevelopment area described therein is a blighted area; and pledging the cooperation of the Board of Aldermen.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

 

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