NorthSide Petition Unsuccessful
SAINT LOUIS — A petition drive to put a recently approved large-scale development of the city’s north side up for city vote to failed to gather enough signatures.
The backers of the petition, critics of the 1,500-acre development put forward by NorthSide Regeneration LLC and developer Paul McKee, had gathered more than 3,000 signatures, said Jim Roos, an anti–eminent domain activist.
But that number wasn’t enough. The Saint Louis Board of Elections required at least 4,400 signatures of city voters, and the deadline was 5 p.m. Thursday. As a result, the group sponsoring the petition, Citizens for a More Responsible Saint Louis City Government, didn’t turn in any of the gathered signatures.
The effort was driven by volunteers and donations, Roos said. About 20 people had given donations for a total of close to $4,000, he said.
Roos, who said he was exhausted from the effort and in a somber mood, said the city’s deadline for signature gathering was too difficult to meet.
“The ordinance gives us 30 days from when the mayor signs the bill,” he said. “It took us a while to develop a form that would pass the test.”
He continued, “We had less than two weeks to actually gather signatures once we figured out what form to use.”
Bob Williams, another activist involved with the petition drive, said Thursday before the deadline that he didn’t think the group would make it. But, he said, if nothing else, the drive had helped educate the community about the referendum process.
Roos voiced a similar sentiment on Friday.
“I think it was a great idea both in terms of participatory democracy and to challenge 23 years of blighting and eminent domain, and I think the waste — I really mean that — the waste of future tax subsidy for one developer,” he said.