June 25, 2008

Post Dispatch Article - "Aldermen delay vote on high-rise"

Aldermen delay vote on high-rise
By Margaret Gillerman
Wednesday, Jun. 25 2008

CLAYTON — For Suzi Forsyth, her neighborhood battle in Old Town Clayton is deja vu.

In 1987 and 1988, Forsyth and some of her neighbors in the Old Town Association of Clayton succeeded in keeping out a hotel and parking garage on North Central Avenue just south of their neighborhood of luxury and costly condominiums, duplexes and homes. The idea is before the city again with a different developer and different hotel interests.

The $110 million project will require a rezoning that residents like Forsyth oppose.

"It's wrong to rezone for the sole benefit of the developer," Forsyth said Tuesday night before city aldermen voted to delay a vote on the issue.

Forsyth was among a standing-room-only crowd at City Hall for a hearing on the proposal by R.J. York Development at Central and Maryland avenues. The builder's Central Maryland Hotel project would include a 23-story hotel tower, with luxury condominiums and shops.

The project, designed by Core 10 Architecture, has gotten a favorable recommendation from the city's Plan Commission. Supporters say the county seat could use a new upscale hotel with boutiques, restaurants and more parking. The developer is hoping the hotel would be a Westin.

Architect Tyler Stephens said the plans for the project have already been altered. "We've had numerous meetings with the public, heard concerns and made changes to the plan each time," he said.

But some neighbors say they fear excessive traffic and worry about pedestrian safety.

And while some say they aren't opposed to the hotel per se or the development, they're upset that the city is considering rezoning residential lots just south of Old Town to allow the parking garage.

Resident Carolyn Jenkins said that neighbors want to protect Old Town. "Rezoning is the issue," Jenkins said. "This proposal threatens the entire neighborhood."

The Art Deco-style tower would be on the southwest corner of Maryland and Central avenues, replacing a five-story building. The six-level garage, with three levels below ground, would be on the north side of Maryland, west of Central. It would replace three lots, including one used by St. Joseph's Catholic Church and another owned by the city.

James Kerley Jr.'s father opposed the similar proposal 20 years ago. Now, Kerley and his wife, Terri, are fighting this one.

"It was a bad plan then and it's a bad plan now," he said.

mgillerman@post-dispatch.com 314-725-6758

June 19, 2008


Dear Old Town Clayton Neighbors,

1. Message from Alderman Alex Berger:

"Annually the Board of Alderman nominates citizens for membership to various Boards and Commissions. This year Steve Lichtenfeld and I are seeking citizens to apply for the Ecology and Environmental Awareness Committee and the Art Commission. June Waters, the Clayton City Clerk, can be contacted for applications. You can call her at (314) 290-8460 or email her at jwaters@ci.clayton.mo.us If you know of someone who might be interested in either the EEAC or Art Commission please urge them to apply. Thank you in advance for any help you can give us." - Alex Berger III, Ward III Alderman

2. Hanley House Fall Festival - October 11th, 2008:

Come and take part in an event filled with living history. Hanley Park will host a Fall Festival celebrating life in 19th century Missouri. Discover the fiber arts through live demonstrations, see Civil War re-enactors, and allow yourself to be transported back in time through the magic of storytelling.

The Historic Hanley House is proud to welcome guest of honor Dr. Edward L. Ayers, President of the University of Richmond. Dr. Ayers is one of the nation's leading scholars on the history of the American South and has written and edited 10 books including The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. A teacher, mentor and administrator of national renown, Dr. Ayers recently became the ninth president of the University of Richmond. The Historic Hanley House looks forward to hosting such a distinguished scholar as Dr. Edward Ayers.

You will not soon forget this wonderful event. Mark your calendars now! Be sure to check the Old Town website, http://oldtownclayton.org/ for the latest updates on the Hanley House Fall Festival.

3. Tuesday, June 24th, 7:00 pm - City Hall

The Board of Aldermen will conduct a public hearing that will consider the R. J. York hotel and parking garage project proposed for the northwest and southwest corners of Central Avenue at Maryland Avenue.

4. Annual Old Town Clayton Neighborhood Association Meeting - Wednesday, September 17th, 7:00 pm - St. Joseph Parish Hall - 106 N. Meramec

Mark your calendars now this annual event when you will hear about what's new in Clayton from our city officials. Guest speakers include Mayor Linda Goldstein, Alderman Berger and Alderman Lichtenfeld, Police and Fire Chiefs, and our new City Manager.

Cheryl Verde
President, Old Town Clayton Neighborhood Association

June 17, 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT: June 24th Public Hearing on York Hotel Project

DISCLOSURE: * This message is made in courtesy to Terri Kerley (727-2972), Kathy Beilein (863-2650), and Suzi Forsyth (863-0739), and does not reflect the views of the Old Town Clayton Neighborhood Association Board or other Old Town Clayton residents.

Open letter To the residents of Old Town,

On Tuesday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the Clayton City Hall, the Board of Aldermen will conduct a public hearing that will consider the R. J. York hotel and parking garage project proposed for the northwest and southwest corners of Central Avenue at Maryland Avenue.

We encourage you to attend this meeting so that you can consider some of the issues this project will raise:

*a precedent-setting change in the zoning of 2 of the 3 surface lots on North Central from Residential R-3 (One and Two Family Dwelling District) to C-3 (General Commercial District)

*encroachment on a residential neighborhood (mulit-level parking garage with 370+ spaces replaces 3 small surface parking lots)

*24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week activity, noise, safety, and traffic concerns

If you are cannot attend this meeting, we encourage you to send an e-mail to our aldermen, Steve Lichtenfeld at slichtenfeld@ci.clayton.mo.us and Alex Berger at aberger@ci.clayton.mo.us expressing your concerns about this project. You can also write to them at Clayton City Hall, 10 North Bemiston, Clayton, MO. 63105. It's important that we stand together as a neighborhood; our e-mails and letters will help us accomplish that.

- Concerned Citizens of Old Town