18 September 2014

Updated News for New Town Residents

New Town Residents, please read the following updates on the rezoning issue between the City of St. Charles and TR Hughes.  Please come to a meeting Sunday at the Town Hall to learn more about the next City Council meeting.  See you at 7:00!  Thank you, Sheila, for getting this in print!

Good day Newts!
The day is almost here, September 23rd, when the City of St Charles council members will vote on the rezoning of the 92 acres next to Boschertown Road and Island Harbor Drive.  This vote changes the property from mixed-use zoning to single family zoning. 
Come to the Town Hall on Sunday, the 21st, at 7 p.m., to hear progress reports and ask your questions.   
Here’s a brief synopsis on the progress to date:
1.      Created a petition to encourage the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) to vote against the zoning changes.  Signed by almost 900 resident Newts as well as the UCBA businesses in New Town!   Filled the auditorium at Lindenwood with Newts and passionate representatives who spoke eloquently against this zoning change.  The Planning and Zoning Commission sent the proposal to the City Council with a recommendation of non-approval!  SUCCESS!  Thanks to all who participated in that meeting.
2.     Encouraged Newts to attend the City Council meeting held on September 2nd.  Again, Newts rallied with huge support and filled the Chambers!  That evening instead of gaining support from the Council members, we lost support.  More Council members that night signed their name onto the document advocating passage, even though P&Z had recommended and voted to keep the original zoning!
3.     A group of Newts then regrouped to strategize on the next move(s).  Until this group could form a strategy, these Newts decided to keep the group small in numbers.   
4.     Searched for an attorney to guide concerning any legalities on affecting rezoning/new urbanism issues.  Mr Gary Feder, of Husch-Blackwell, was instrumental in winning a similar zoning issue in Dardenne Prairie.  A small group of Newts donated monies for his retainer. 
5.     We anticipated convincing the Orchard Farm School Board to ‘go it alone’ with asking for rezoning versus marrying the zoning with a new housing development.  The Board, while some members were sympathetic to the request, overall voted not to withdraw from the current zoning request. 
6.     One of the ‘finds’ after many hours of researching City documents is the City Comprehensive Plan of 2002, with an update in 2012.  This document speaks about ‘Smart Code’ being utilized in the New Town at St. Charles development and the Streets of St. Charles. Mentions that The City should continue to seek ways to incorporate form-based code in the Zoning Ordinance and encourage its use for major developments and redevelopments.
7.     Wide media coverage was vigorously discussed.  Two spokesmen were elected to speak and ensure our message was positive and we supported the city's commitment to planned development within New Town and the city of St. Charles. The message is we will be disappointed if the zoning is changed.
8.     A twitter and Facebook campaign has started and supplements our fliers. This Facebook page provides a repository of information to interested citizens of St. Charles.
9.     Newts developed a branding architecture that links New Town and the St. Charles community. This has resulted in merging our key messages into the flier we see today.
The flier on Benefits of Mixed-Use Zoning is posted on this web page.  We encourage you to forward to any friends in the City of St Charles.

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