by Michael R. Allen
Judge Robert Dierker Jr.’s decision to not allow a new trial in the Northside Regeneration case puts us no further behind than July 2, when the judge issued his ruling in the case that struck down the project’s redevelopment ordinances. Then and now, it remains clear that the redevelopment ordinances need further legislative attendance.
After the ruling, Northside Regeneration attorney Paul Puricelli told Tim Logan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company might appeal. The City Counselor’s office seems to favor an appeal. But Puricelli also said “One of the things we’d be looking at is to enter into a project agreement with the city.” That’s the track his client should take.
In recent weeks, rumors of settlement discussions in the case suggested a very unlikely end to a complaint made on the lack of transparency: a clandestine agreement among lawyers far from the residents affected by the outcome of the case. Dierker’s ruling could preclude that outcome, which contradicts both the original plaintiff’s motivation and the need of residents to have binding protection against condemnation. The “settlement” should be made openly through public ordinance. I realize that wish is far too innocent for a process now in the hands of attorneys — but it is what the judge’s rulings compel.