University City officials on Wednesday went over a draft agreement with the City of Olivette with a fine toothed comb. The city council reviewed the intergovernmental agreement for the I-170/Olive Boulevard redevelopment area with James Mello of Armstrong Teasdale and Paul Martin, the city's attorney.
The agreement is a draft that still needs the approval of both city councils. Olivette passed an ordinance on the mixed use overlay district on Oct. 9.
With the approval of the agreement, the cities would create a Joint Development Commission (JDC). The JDC will:
- Oversee planning and development of the redevelopment area; facilitate consistent planning and development incentives.
- Be governed by a 10-member board
- Form an Urban Redevelopment Corporations under Chapter 353 RSMo (353 Corporation)
- Be granted specific powers and authorities.
The 353 Corporation would act as U City and Olivette's agent within the redevelopment area once both cities approve the mirroring zoning codes.
"As long as the proposed development meets the requirements of the joint development, the JDC has the authority to approve," Martin told the board. "Just like if someone comes in now and meets all the requirements, you allow the building permit. If there are any issue or the need for a conditional use permit, it goes back to the cities for approval."
Council members questioned the need for a 50-year agreement and asked how a city could extricate itself if the need arose. Mello said the planning committee had intentionally not spelled out how a city could void the agreement, but that the councils could add that provision if needed.
"You've got to come to grips with the idea of whether you share the values of having this area jointly developed," he said.
The joint agreement was likened to a marriage and the exit clause a prenuptial agreement.
Mello said extrication from the agreement early on could be difficult as the tax revenue from the entire redevelopment area could feasibly go to fund projects as they come on line.
"For instance, the intial project could be in U City and all the resources of the Corporation are directed to that first project and then you say, 'OK, I'm out,'" Mello said. "There are also land use issues—what if one city does its part and the other doesn't—then it isn't sustainable."
Mello told the council to think of the plan as a vision for the future. He cited the Chesterfield Valley after the Flood of 1993 — no one anticipated the growth that exists now in 1993, but the city prepared and planned for growth to come.
- U City to Discuss Joint Redevelopment with Olivette
- On the Road: Olivette and University City Drive Toward Development of the Olive and I-170 Corridor