District Flats lawsuit settled by federal court in favor of city
ST. LOUIS — The City of Columbia did not violate residents' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by allowing a student apartment developer to build downtown, a federal appeals court said.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued permits for Opus Development to build District Flats downtown. Residents filed two petitions to repeal two agreements between Columbia City Council and Opus and then sued.
Residents, with lawsuit petitioners Michael MacMann and Betty Wilson, argued that the second development deal was a city "scheme" to deny residents their rights to oppose it, since they had to gather signatures a second time. They submitted the referendum nearly three weeks after city council approved the first plan in March 2014.
The court wrote that actions must be "suspended" when a referendum petition is certified by the city clerk. However, this does not apply to the July 7 resolution to close sidewalks and lanes around Locust Street because this rule doesn't apply to building permits or resolutions.