An emergency vote called by the Sept. 22 approved a proposal to buy the old Mel Bay Music Center of the Kirkwood Building at 113 West Jefferson Ave. and property at 107 West Jefforson to develop additional parking in Downtown Kirkwood, city council member Gerry Biedenstein told Kirkwood Patch.
But the proposal never received a review or recommendation from the Kirkwood Planning and Zoning Commission.
Several commissioners expressed concerns about being left out of the loop on the purchase that would cost the city $1.25 million and have a significant impact on parking in Downtown Kirkwood.
The purchase was something that should have been reviewed and approved by their commission before the city council called a vote, planning and zoning commissioner Greg Frick said at the commission's regular meeting Wednesday night.
"I feel we were totally passed over in the process," Frick said. "This lot is a part of a larger plan to address a supposed parking problem, and I would think that falls under the purview of this body."
Frick went on to call the planned parking endeavor a "band-aid on a gushing wound." Commissioner Nancy Luetzow told the commission she sent a letter to all city council members expressing her concerns.
"Do we have a parking problem? Is there information out there?" Luetzow asked the commission. "I have sent a letter to the council about this. I think there hasn't been an appropriate study into this issue. Let's not just throw together these things for no reason."
Frick told the commission there were studies done, but that little input had been requested by council before they made the decision. "The information is certainly there, we have it, but it feels like there was a rush to get things done."
Commissioner Joe Roeser said there was a concern the space would eventually be used to construct a city parking lot, and that too much of the process has ignored Planning and Zoning.
"If, as some rumors I've heard might suggest, there is a bigger plan here especially, I think we need to be included," Roeser said. "It hasn't been brought to us as it should be."
Biedenstein, city council liaison to the commission, was not present at the Sept. 22 emergency vote, and told commissioners he would be relaying "every word" of their concerns to the council.
Biedenstein said the emergency vote was held at 7:30 p.m. on Sept 22 and that he requested it be moved to 7 p.m., so that he could attend. The meeting was held as scheduled. Biedenstein and council member Bob Sears both missed the vote.
City council has approved the purchasing contracts, but has not yet voted on allocating funds for the purchase. A vote on funding for the purchase will take place Thursday night at the regular meeting of the Kirkwood City Council at 7 p.m. in council chambers. If funding is not approved the purchase, contracts will be void, according to councilwoman Gina Jaksetic.
Jaksetic said she applauded the concerns of the Planning and Zoning Commission and told Kirkwood Patch there would be an "active discussion" at the city council meeting.