U City parents sue city after proposal to turn playground into p - KMOV.com

U City parents sue city after proposal to turn playground into parking lot

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(KMOV.com) – It’s just an empty lot behind University City hall, but for the University Heights subdivision, it's always been something else – a playground.

“If you look at this area, you'll see that the only thing it's striped for is kickball,” said Eileen Pheiffer, a resident and neighborhood trustee.

It’s why neighbors are suing the city, a developer and the University City school district.

They feel left out of discussions to turn the former playground of the Harvard Delmar Elementary School into a commercial, paid parking lot with space for over 100 cars.

“We have tried to meet with the city, we have asked to come to the table and when they did finally meet with us, it was a week after the land was sold. It was already a done deal,” Pheiffer said.

Neighbors felt they had no other choice but to sue, in order to to avoid everything a commercial parking lot would bring.

"Lighting, noise,” Pheiffer listed, “We’d like to have neighbors here.”

The lawsuit alleges the city worked behind closed doors with the developer, and avoided re-zoning the property in order to skirt public input.

"That was not right,” said Mark Levison, an attorney for University Heights neighbors, “They should really be embarrassed about that. They really should be.”

News 4 reached out to city officials but only received this emailed statement: The city of university city does not comment on pending litigation.’

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