NewsPoliticsThe NorthSider

Hairstyles gain protected status; 2 developments lose tax breaks

CITY HALL — Mayor Tishaura Jones has banned race-based discrimination based on hairstyles. The new law prohibits job, housing and hiring discrimination “based upon an individual’s hairstyle, protective hair, or natural or cultural hair texture or style.”

Jones signed the bill Friday. A similar bill was recently introduced by the St. Louis County Council; Kansas City already had a similar ordinance. Several states also have passed the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair.

The St. Louis bill was sponsored by 26th Ward Alderwoman Shameem Clark Hubbard.

Clark Hubbard said in a statement that, as a licensed cosmetologist, “This is where my passion and purpose meets policy! The CROWN Act is a national mission.” She added that the local efforts “send a regional message of inclusion and the importance of dismantling all forms discrimination at all levels.”

Mayor vetoes tax breaks for 2 developments

Jones has vetoed property tax incentives for two developments, calling them too generous.

Jones said she wanted the developers to “come back to the table.” The tax incentives had been offered in two ordinances passed by the Board of Aldermen the day before Jones took office on April 20.

During her campaign, Jones said she wanted to de-emphasize tax breaks in areas such as the central corridor and steer more incentives to less well-off neighborhoods.

One of the developments is an $80 million apartment complex in the heart of Grand Center. The other is a $900,000 plan to renovate an old auto repair shop into commercial office space.

“The City of St. Louis needs to be an active, not passive, partner when it comes to equitably developing our neighborhoods,” Jones said in a press release.

Jones offered the following guidelines for developers who are interested in seeking financial incentives from the city:

  • Does your project meet the “but-for” test? In other words, “but for the offer of these incentives, would this development even happen?”
  • Will you consent to claw back provisions to ensure that the city gets its money back if the development winds up out-performing expectations?
  • Does your project generate significant public externalities for the city, as evidenced by a robust Community Benefits Agreement that includes affordable housing, green infrastructure, neighborhood amenities, new quality jobs, etc.?

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff

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