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U City Council Scrutinizes Olive/I-170 Agreement

The agreement would create a joint redevelopment commission with neighboring Olivette.

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
Marc Jacob February 01, 2013 at 03:53 PM
As Co-Chair of the Joint Redevelopment Implementation Committee (JRIC) and former Chair of the Joint Redevelopment Task Force (JRTF) for this project representing University City, I just wanted to publicly thank all the volunteer committee members and the city staffs for both U. City and Olivette for three years of hard work that has finally come to its culmination. This project is the first of its kind in the region, and I hope the City Councils will approve this project, with whatever modifications they see fit. I also look forward to the ongoing and very admirable efforts of the U. City Staff and U City Chamber of Commerce to promote growth and economic development in University City. We have much to be proud of!
George Lenard February 01, 2013 at 05:29 PM
A termination clause is always a good idea for a contractual document. The problem of what happens if there's a "divorce" mid-project would seem avoidable by making project-specific commitments that would not terminate upon a "divorce."
Billy Frank Thornton February 01, 2013 at 07:38 PM
...attended the joint U.City/Olivette meeting at Heman Park, I believe several years ago. As a 62 year resident of the area (Richard Court), I found out the good vision for the Olive St Rd/I-170 corridor. The ole neighborhood needs some refervishing...granted. But, the mosquito in the ointment is the proposed right of the Commission to "blight" several blocks north and south of Olive...leaving existing viable neighborhoods destroyed. This provision has obviously been unreported to the stake holders from the adjacent viable neighborhoods. This sleight of hand governess is why trust is not in my heart. The Olivette Mayor did state that the use of the blighting "tool" would only be used with great deliberation. Why has NOT the sunshine been shone to stakeholders while the Lawyers and Cities cloister themselves in their plot. Just saying... as a longtime taxpayer of University City and blight prone area 2 blocks north of Olive Street Road at Woodson Road.
Billy Frank Thornton February 01, 2013 at 07:52 PM
It is not too late for the joint commission to put their cards on the table...and be responsive to the effected viable neighborhoods. This should not have been an after thought...it is not too late to be decent and responsive to effected stakeholders.
Billy Frank Thornton February 01, 2013 at 11:49 PM
How far north and south of Olive St Rd does the Task Force have authorization to blight? These are viable neighborhoods...seems like a grand design to land grab for personal and political "profit". And why, as th former Chair of the Joint Redevelopment Task Force (JRTF)...members of the affected "blight zone" neighborhoods not been publically and clearly advised of such terms of this Redevelopment. Why has not the sunshine been allowed to be seen by the public.
Marc Jacob February 04, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Hi Mr. Thornton, Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments and questions! I invite you to sit down with me personally to go over the plan, and I applaud your involvement and look forward to the opportunity to work with you. You may email me at marcjacob1@gmail.com to set up our meeting. As Chair of the Joint Task Force and as co-Chair of the Joint Redevelpment Implementation Committee, I insisted at all times that the Sunshine Law be followed, and even on inviting the Trustees of the adjacent residential subdivisions to meetings. To my knowledge, all meetings have met the public notice provisions of the law, and the City staff announced publicly at the last open meeting on Olive development that all minutes are posted on the City's website. In addition, part of the budget request will be for the Public Engagement process so we can match the desires of the public with the economic realities of the market. The proposed redevelopment map is also posted on the City's website, and no residential subdivisions are subject to being blighted without specific City Counsel authorization, which is NOT being sought with this proposal. Please call me so we can sit down together to go over the plan. We need bright people like yourself who are willing to get involved to stand up and educate the masses about the merits of this plan!
Billy Frank Thornton February 06, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Thank you for your response, Mr Jacob...currently I am in a better place, San Pedro, Belize. While an individual meeting might be informative...the burning issue is the citizenship of both University City and Olivette who have not been informed of plans of the Joint Task Force. I am speaking specifically of map 2 or plan B...which could be implimented by the powers that be. A serious attempt is needed for us in the 2 or 2 block distance north and south of Olive to be put on notice of possible plans to blight and buyout our homes. It might be surprising to know how few residence in the Northwest Quadrant of University City has little or no relationship with the City of University City. We are, it must be stated, reside north of Olive Blvd...the ugly step child of University City.
Marc Jacob February 06, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Hi Mr. Thornton, Your passion and concern for the residents north of Olive is great, and I definitely want more of them to get involved with this process as well. I think the point I was trying to get across in my last post was that the map of the area you are referring to as "map 2 or plan B" does NOT give the new proposed joint body the power to blight or of eminent domain. The Intergovernmental Agreement maintains the status quo with regard to those single family residential areas and only the City Council can agree to blight such areas. This was done purposefully so that the residents would have the opportunity to to be fully informed and speak to the Council directly if any proposed development called for such blight. Of course, even that is speculative at this point, as there are no such proposals on the table. If you know people who do live in that are who would like to meet with either me and/or the City Staff to discuss the plan, please have them contact me. I agree with you that an informed citizenry is the best thing for U City. Also, if you have ideas for how to better in form the citizens about the proposal, please pass on your suggestions to the staff. My experience has been that they also want more people to know what is happening.

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