Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert finds himself between some angry residents, including one who already beat City Hall, and the deep, benevolent pockets of Lindenwood University-Belleville.
The city that wants to peer into your bedroom to see who you are sleeping with or know when your adult child returns home is just fine with allowing Lindenwood to put groups of students in 36 houses and apartments that are not zoned for that many residents. Eckert said students were allowed into the homes in August despite the special-use permits not being considered until Sept. 24.
He said the homes were inspected: “Safety is first.”
Can you imagine Belleville cutting this kind of slack to Joe Average? Hard to imagine.
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And we guess the permits are a formal step on a done deal: Can you see the city telling Lindenwood “no” and booting students out mid-semester?
Dianne Rogge is leading the charge of residents upset about concentrating so many students, their trash, their cars and their noise in what had been mainly single-family residential areas. She has seven students on one side, and eight on the other.
She’s also the woman who got $30,000 from Belleville when they tried to silence her sign criticizing the city for not giving her business a tax increment financing boost.
Lindenwood has been a benefit to Belleville. We imagine the residents’ problems can be resolved.
But wouldn’t all of this have gone so much smoother had Belleville just followed its own rules?