After a nearly month-long break from holding public hearings concerning educational rezoning ordinance 8851, the Webster Groves city council opened up the public hearing yet again on Nov. 4.
Audience members approached the podium and were given time to add their comments, questions and concerns about the ordinance to the public record. Individual speakers were allotted three minutes while group representatives were given six. Tyler Holman, speaking as an individual and a Webster University alum, presented his argument against the ordinance to the councilmembers. After the city council gave Holman over six minutes to speak, Welch informed Holman his time had expired. But Holman was persistent in keeping the floor.
“This is a due process issue,” Holman said.
“You’re right, this is a due process issue,” Welch said. “You’re done.”
City attorney Helmut Starr said the council would accept Holman’s documents as part of the public record. Holman asked the council what the policy was for allowing other individual speakers, who had not spoken yet, to yield their time to another individual.
“That is not permitted, sir,” Welch said.
After Holman stepped down from the podium and the next 14 individual speakers announced when their name was called by Welch, that they would yield their time to Holman. But none of their yielded time was transferred to Holman.
After three hours, Welch moved to keep the public hearing open on the zoning ordinance for institutions only, like Webster and Eden.
Starr added that exceptions be made to the council’s decision to individuals or groups who wish to provide new and specific information concerning the ordinance. Councilmember Greg Mueller also added that those who wish to make other comments they would like to have on public record, do so with written submissions to the city council.
The next public hearing concerning the ordinances will be on Nov. 18.