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Blogging From The Conditional Use Hearing On Energy Center

October 18, 2007 25th Ward, Events/Meetings, Politics/Policy, South City 7 Comments

This post is regarding the conditional use hearing for Larry Rice’s Energy Center in the Dutchtown Neighborhood (see prior post). I’m blogging from the meeting as it is underway. Updates will be added below in reverse order (oldest at the bottom).

10:10am: People are still talking outside the hearing room, reporters were getting quotes. I’m signing off now for a couple more meetings — I’ll have more later today.

9:55am: Post meeting notes. The opposition was strong. We all signed a sheet that we were hear to speak against the conditional use so it could be submitted since we were not all able to speak. The conditional use was only on the storefront & greenhouse — not the full property.

9:40am: Testimony is concluded. A decision will be reached later with the answer being mailed out.

9:33am: Ald Kirner withdrew her prior support.

9:31am: Only five people have been allowed to speak. The city’s staff person indicated that no further testimony will be taken. Many took off work to come to the meeting but they will not be heard. Ald. Kirner gets the last word before Rice.

9:26am: Downtown Dutchtown president Caya Aufiero spoke in opposition. I’ll provide a copy of their well-worded later.

9:21am: One person spoke in favor the energy center. Opposition is now beginning testimony starting with a neighbor across the street.

9:19am: City staff person raises issue about Rice’s sign for the business which has already been posted. He asks Rice if he has applied for a sign permit. Rice indicates he has not applied for a sign permit.

9:15am: Larry Rice indicates he has traveled all over the country taking classes on alternative energy. Has taken “8 courses” at the Solar Energy Institute.

9:10am: Larry Rice is now presenting his case.

9:05am: Representatives of both the Mayor’s office and the President of the Board of Aldermen are among the audience.

8:50am: Hearing is underway with other items on the agenda. The room is not full but there are more people here in opposition than in favor. Alderman Kirner is sitting among those opposed. The process is one person from the city asking questions of the applicant, the proceedings are audio recorded. Following the applicant there is a chance for anyone else supporting the application to speak. Then opposition gets to have a say. The applicant and one person from the opposition can speak briefly to close. The interesting thing is the opposition is not a collective group but simply a bunch a individual home owners — not sure how one person will be selected. More as it develops.


Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. progress says:

    This is a cool use of the internet, Steve. Bravo. Can you clear something up…is this hearing about the parking lot, the energy center, or both? It sounded like the energy center was already up and running. In fact is Rice just now trying to get a C-U-P for the whole project? And second, we’ve heard Rice’s threat that if he doesn’t get the permit for the energy center, then he’ll put up a homeless shelter. Isn’t that an empty threat? You can’t just put a homeless shelter whereever you want, can you?

  2. a.torch says:

    This is quite fantastic! I feel like I am at the meeting….thanks Steve for the service and live updates!……..

  3. progress says:

    An eleven minute presentation by an applicant for a conditional use permit doesn’t sound like a very thorough presentation. Sketchy on the details at best?

  4. Besides the parking lot size issue, I believe this is a good example of how NIMBY’ism may be acceptable in some instances. The purpose of land use control is to keep undesired uses away from the community. Thus if citizens define this as an undesired use then it should be kept away.

    However, when looking at the problem of homelessness at a regional level, when everyone takes a NIMBY position then the problem is isolated to the City, specifically Downtown. The same problem arises with public housing and the poor. They are isolated to the City through exclusionary zoning justified by the same NIMBY position.

    When should the needs of the region override NIMBY desires, that is the ultimate question.

  5. Bridgett says:

    So, no dancing bears? Trapeze artists?

    Having been in that room before, I can really picture how this went. Thanks Steve!

  6. Webby says:

    From stltoday.com:

    After the hearing Rice said he was dismayed at his opponents’ anger that’s built up over the last month. “I’m sensing a hostility directed at homeless people I haven’t seen in 35 years,” said Rice. “I grieve over the bitterness and fear I’m seeing in south St. Louis.”

    Hostility directed at homeless people? Don’t hide behind the homeless, Larry. The hostility is directed squarely at you. The homeless people aren’t trying to change the zoning and build that parking lot. You are.

  7. travis says:

    I will say this, yet again, Netti’s Florist building, which will shortly be empty, is zoned commercial, has plenty of space and has a greenhouse would make a good alternative to the densely residential block in which the MORE center is currently planned.


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