Webster Groves City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday evening to pass Ordinance 8753. Council member Ken Burns voted no on the ordinance. Council member Debi Salberg was not present at the meeting.
The decision means Eden will have restrictions on who it can sell or lease property to. Any lessee or tenant would be prohibited from employing more than 15 individuals on the property. Also, future tenants or lessees would not be able to occupy more than 5,000 square feet. Any entity seeking more than 5,000 square feet would be required to get city approval before expansion. Webster University would be unable to purchase property under the ordinance.
Ordinance 8753 outlined Eden Theological Seminary’s master plan and the possible sale or lease of 11.8 acres of property to 10 vendors, including Webster University.
An agreement for the sale or lease of 4.3 acres of Eden’s property to Webster University was outlined in Eden’s master plan and the ordinance. Eden also wished to sell 7.5 acres of green space, located at the corner of Bompart Avenue and Lockwood Avenue. Webster University and Eden have a right of first refusal agreement. This means Eden is obligated to offer the land for sale or lease to Webster University before offering to other buyers.
Webster University lobbied council members through a petition to vote “no” on Ordinance 8753. The university also placed an ad in the Aug. 31 edition of the Webster-Kirkwood Times. The ad asked residents to contact their council members and express their disapproval of the ordinance.
The ordinance made it through three readings at Webster Groves City Council meetings before being passed.
For in-depth coverage of Ordinance 8753: