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Judge rules St. Louis can spend tax money on stadium without public vote

In this artist’s rendering provided by HOK and 360 Architecture, an aerial view of a proposed stadium looking southwest toward downtown St. Louis is depicted. St. Louis upped its bid Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, to either keep the Rams or lure a new NFL team, unveiling plans for a new open-air football stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River, not far from the Gateway Arch. (AP Photo/HOK and 360 Architecture via The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

AP

A judge in St. Louis has ruled that the city does not need a public vote in order to spend city tax dollars for the construction of a proposed stadium to replace the Edward Jones Dome.

Judge Thomas Frawley agreed with the argument made by the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority that the ordinance requiring a vote is invalid because it is too vaguely worded. One point of vagueness was that a new stadium was required to be “adjacent” to an existing convention center, which opponents argued did not apply to the current stadium proposal. Frawley ruled that the two sites did not need to be contiguous to qualify as adjacent.

“‘Adjacent’ has commonly been interpreted by Missouri courts to mean ‘near or close at hand’ and as ‘not necessarily meaning contiguous,’ i.e. not necessarily meaning touching each other or immediately next to each other,” Frawley wrote in his ruling, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The ruling opens the door for the use of city money for a new stadium, although that may not be enough to stop the Rams from pursuing a move to the Inglewood, California stadium proposed by owner Stan Kroenke. It would allow the possibility of landing another team in the event the Rams did depart without hurting the chances of keeping them in town and the league will be holding a meeting next week to discuss stadium issues in St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland and Los Angeles.