Green Park aldermen oppose ‘reunification’ of city, county

Board gives preliminary OK to Aldi on Casa Gallardo site

By Mike Anthony

The Green Park Board of Aldermen voted unanimously last week to adopt a resolution opposing “any plan for reunification of the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County.”

The city of Green Park was incorporated in 1995 “by residents of St. Louis County who desired direct and local control of the future planning and redevelopment of their community,” the resolution states.

Today, Green Park provides its 2,622 residents and numerous businesses “a high level of service, including a street maintenance program that has successfully replaced all residential streets, Green Park Road and is currently undertaking replacement of its commercial street; no-cost residential trash/recycling pickup and snow removal; police services; and a trail linking the citizens to parks and other trails in the area …,” the resolution states.

The city provides all of these services without levying real estate or personal property taxes on residents, and businesses are not charged a license fee to operate within the city, according to the resolution.

The resolution also states, “… Certain special-interest groups and constituencies have supported in recent years and continue to support legislation and/or a constitutional amendment aimed at St. Louis City and County ‘unification’ or St. Louis City ‘re-entry,’ but have offered no clear evidence of either financial or efficiency benefits to the St. Louis region that would be realized by such action.”

The resolution concludes that the Board of Aldermen “formally stands in favor of all the accomplishments of the city of Green Park and other municipalities in St. Louis County that, through their elected officials and citizen volunteers, have worked tirelessly to make the St. Louis region an exceptional place to live and work, and, therefore, hereby opposes any actions that would seek to eliminate or consolidate any municipalities without a vote of the residents of each affected municipality.”

At the April 21 meeting, Ward 1 Alderman Tony Pousosa, who is seeking the Republican nomination for county executive in the August primary, thanked City Attorney Paul Rost for drafting the resolution.

“… I think it’s important now to make a statement while we’re early in the game and not later on when it’s too late. And I think a lot of the language is really not negative. It says a lot of the positive things we’ve achieved here in Green Park since 1995,” he said.

“… I know a lot of the residents moved here because we have good police protection. We have two good school districts … We have a park and we have a lot of things that we provide our residents that unfortunately are being called duplicate services, and it is my belief that we provide those duplicate services better than St. Louis County. And having many family and friends that live in unincorporated areas, they agree.

“So I fully support this measure, and I would encourage all the aldermen to do the same,” Pousosa added.

Mayor Bob Reinagel said, “And just to flesh out what Tony said just a little bit, there’s an organization called Better Together that is pushing for information for some reason — Better Together to bring the city and county together to do what? We’re not sure.

“No one is really sure, and they won’t answer any of the questions as to what really their goal is. The city of St. Louis wants to become part of the county, and there are a lot of issues with that,” Reinagel said.

“… The term ‘duplicate services’ could mean street repairs, making streets. We do our own. We pay for our own. The county does not pay any part of it,” the mayor continued. “So it’s a very interesting little situation. We just wanted to get out ahead of it a little bit …”

Pousosa said, “… A little bit with Better Together, if you go to their website and pull up their information about how they wanted to obtain this, they made it sound like municipalities were jumping for joy to provide this information, and they didn’t mention the fact that we have a Sunshine Law, where if they make a request, we have to respond to it.

“I think that’s a little bit misleading, if you go to their website. I just think, like Bob said, there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered and we just need to stay on top of it …”

In a separate matter, the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to give preliminary approval to a new Aldi grocery store to be constructed on the site of the former Casa Gallardo at 11185 South Towne Square.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted April 1 to recommend approval of the proposal.

As proposed, the old Casa Gallardo building will be razed and a new 17,000-square-foot Aldi store will be constructed, according to John Sawyer, president of Sawyer Engineering Inc., who represented Aldi at the Board of Aldermen meeting. Aldi currently has a 14,900-square-foot store at 11158 Lindbergh Business Court.

Alderman adopted an ordinance approving a boundary adjustment plat for the site.

Regarding the boundary adjustment plat, Sawyer said, “… The original acreage is 3.442 acres and the new acreage, as proposed, is 2.6 acres. Part of that is the purchase of property from the adjoining Jim Butler property, and Butler would take property from the existing subdivision property the Aldi wishes to acquire …”

In addition, the board voted to adopt a resolution approving a preliminary development plan for the new store.

The Board of Aldermen also voted 5-0 to adopt an ordinance approving a final subdivision plat for Clydesdale Manors, a subdivision of 18 single-family, detached homes at 10995 Kohrs Lane.

The subdivision will be built on nearly 6 acres owned by Ward 2 Alderman Tim Thuston, who recused himself from the issue at the April 21 meeting, as he has done at prior meetings.

J.H. Berra is the developer, and the homes will be built by McBride & Son.

The 18 single-family homes will range in space from 1,487 square feet to 3,197 square feet, while lots will range in size from 7,000 square feet to 10,654 square feet. The cost of the homes will range from roughly $250,000 to the “high” $300,000s.

In September, the board rejected the Arbors at Clydesdale Park, a subdivision with 41 attached homes proposed for the same site.

Aldermen voted 3-2 to reject a change in zoning from RS-1, single-family, to RS-1 with a planned residential development.

Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Wilson, board President Fred Baras of Ward 3 and Ward 3 Alderman Joe Monteleone opposed the rezoning request.

Ward 1 Alderman Carol Hamilton and Pousosa voted in favor of the request.