The somewhat controversial plan to consolidate its 21-acre campus and either sell or lease land and buildings it does not plan to use has been postponed once again - this time because Eden officials were out of town.
The plan was first brought to in early June. At a recent city council meeting, attorneys from both Eden and Webster University requested that the council move the public hearing to its second August meeting. Both attorneys said language in the bill needs to be revised.
The seminary is seeking a conditional use permit from to amend its existing permit to allow for changes approved by Eden's Board of Trustees in the institution's 2012 master plan.
One of the biggest concerns among residents is the seminary's plan to lease or sell 7.5 acres at the southeast quadrant of the campus, which is located at Lockwood and Bompart avenues. Also of concern is that has some first-right of refusal of properties.
Residents at Tuesday's meeting spoke for and against the measure.
Frank Janoski, who lives off Bompart Avenue, said the bill gives Eden what it needs to move forward with its needs and to protect the character of the neighborhood.
"I just ask you to be sensitive to protect the investments of the residents," he said.
Maggie Sowash, who lives on Joy Avenue, said, "Webster Groves is a unique community, and if we allow Webster University to cross over Lockwood Avenue, there will be a negative impact. Eden is a business and Webster University is a revenue-generating machine. It's your responsibility to protect the residents and property owners in Webster."
Another resident, Dave Buck, said he toured the seminary, which had given him a much different perspective, and urged the council to take the time to do the same.
"I really like the master plan, and they are adapting to the situation at hand (declining enrollment), "he said. "We need to sit down with Eden and Webster University to figure out what we can do."
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