Conditional use permit for Walmart, moratorium on other development
By: Sarah Wilson
The Ellisville City Council at its Sept. 5 meeting approved the conditional use permit and final plats for the Walmart plan, located on RPA 1, to move forward. And on a special meeting Sept. 7, Ellisville approved a moratorium on any development of the plat adjacent to the proposed Walmart development.
Before approving the conditional use permit, it was amended to include additional traffic studies and safety concerns. The Council also reiterated their concerns for dioxins and other chemicals on the property, and Walmart representatives said they are looking further into the matter and are having more testing done by the end of September.
The conditional use permit was required because the store would exceed 50,000 square feet, would have multiple tenant space, would have a structure of more than 30 feet in height with a drive-thru and because it includes a liquor license.
Councilmember Linda Reel (District 2) and Mayor Adam Paul were the only councilmembers who voted against the conditional use permit.
Many Ellisville residents have spoken out in opposition to the Walmart plan, which includes tax increment financing.
Ed O’Reilly, Ellisville resident and former mayor, at the meeting on Sept. 5, thanked Paul for being opposed to using public money for private use; for representing the residents, tenants being kicked out of their homes and 550 small businesses in Ellisville; and for never changing his position.
But resident Steven Amant said the negative attention the Council has received from citizens regarding their decision is “ridiculous” and compared the empty parking lot next to where the Walmart will be to a World War II airfield, “with weeds growing up and cracks everywhere.”
“When you talk about your property values going up or down, just look at what everyone sees on that parking lot,” Amant said. “I don’t like the TIF idea of giving free money away, but a bird in a hand is worth two in the bush, and if you don’t have a better suggestion … let’s let our elected officials do the job that we elected them to do. If you don’t like it, throw them out next time.”
Paul said the decisions the Council was making that night would shape the city’s future and that he will always be a “liaison to the people.”
“You have lost what is important, and that is representing the people,” Paul said. “Our jobs are not to look at the best interests of the city but to look at the best interests of the people in the city, and this is a cut and dry case in my opinion. … I am going to sleep tonight knowing that I followed the wishes of the people.”
On Sept. 7, the Council approved a bill to impose a 180-day temporary moratorium and cessation on the redevelopment lot next to Walmart plat.
Ada Hood, director of planning and community development, said the moratorium is for the city to create a plan that complies with the city’s vision of a town center. The moratorium applies to any property on RPA2, located at the southwest corner of Manchester and Kiefer Creek roads, and prohibits any proposal requests from being developed.