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CITY OF WEBSTER GROVES

September 5, 2006

 

The City Council met this date in a regular session in the Council Chambers at City Hall at #4 E. Lockwood at 7:34 p.m.

 

Present at Roll Call:                              Mayor Gerry Welch

                                                            Councilmember Edward Robinson

                                                            Councilmember Randy Jotte

                                                            Councilmember Kathy Hart

Councilmember Kevin Gunn    

Councilmember Jeanne Kirkton

Councilmember Joan Esserman            

A quorum was present.            

           

Also present:                                        Mr. Steve Wylie, City Manager

                                                            Mr. Helmut Starr, City Attorney

                                                            Ms. Katie Nakazono, City Clerk

RECOGNITION

Mayor Welch stated that Councilmember Jotte has been selected as the Mayor Pro-Tem, and stated that he is the new President of the Missouri Chapter of the American College of Emergency Room Physicians. 

 

Mayor Welch introduced Edie Good, Daughters of the American Revolution, who accepted a proclamation for Constitution Week.  

 

REMARKS OF VISITORS

Henry Hoener, 1412 Selma Ave., dispersed a handout and addressed the spending of proceeds from the sale of the Water Department.

 

Melinda Bier, 500 Kirkham, stated that she owns a home near Larson Park and the Parks crew recently cut down bamboo on their property.  She stated that she was not aware that they were going to be cutting down the bamboo, and it has created a safety hazard and a liability.  She passed around photos of the area, and stated that all their windows were now exposed to the tennis courts, and the koi pond is no longer shaded. 

 

Mike Oppermann, Director of Parks and Recreation, stated that they removed the bamboo that was planted on City property, and are in anticipation of improvements to the Park.  He stated that they made a lot of effort to get in touch with the homeowner, but the owner they were dealing with died suddenly, and the property was put into an estate, and sold.  We tried to track it, and placed business cards in the door of the residence, and received no response.  As a result, we felt the bamboo needed to come down.  We hope to begin construction by the end of this month.  Bamboo is considered to be very invasive, and the plan is to work with the homeowner in terms of putting improved landscaping in, native species.  We have every intention of being a good neighbor. 

 

Jenna Rinck, 406 Glen Rd., stated there has been a reduction in available parking spaces for Nerinx Hall High School, and asked the Council if they could address this problem.  

 

Councilmember Jotte stated that the Nerinx Hall administration should check all avenues for additional parking.  

 

Mr. Wylie stated that there have been many meetings to try and generate ideas for parking between Nerinx Hall, Webster Groves High School, and Webster University in order to alleviate the parking problems. 

 

NEW BUSINESS, MAYOR, COUNCILMEMBERS, CITY ATTORNEY, CITY MANAGER 

No New Business. 

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

BILL # 8514 – THIRD READING

On motion of Councilmember Esserman, seconded by Councilmember Hart, BILL #8514 ENTITLED: AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 60, “TRAFFIC CODE” SECTIONS 60.640 “USE OF SAFETY BELTS” AND 60.685 “USE OF CHILD RESTRAINT DEVICES” TO INCREASE REQUIREMENTS FOR CHILD RESTRAINT DEVICES, having been introduced and read twice on August 15, 2006, was taken up its title read a third time and placed upon its passage to become Ordinance #8514.

Mayor Welch called for the vote on Bill #8514. 

MEMBERS VOTING:

AYES: ROBINSON, JOTTE, HART, GUNN, KIRKTON, ESSERMAN, WELCH

NOES: NONE

Mayor Welch stated that Bill #8514 was approved. 

 

BILL # 8515 – THIRD READING

On motion of Councilmember Hart, seconded by Councilmember Jotte, BILL #8515 ENTITLED: AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE TRAFFIC CODE, CHAPTER 60, BY AMENDING SCHEDULE H TO ELIMINATE THE PROVISION FOR NO PARKING ON POLK AVENUE (PRIVATE STREET), having been introduced and read twice on August 15, 2006, was taken up its title read a third time and placed upon its passage to become Ordinance #8515.

Mayor Welch called for the vote on Bill #8515. 

MEMBERS VOTING:

AYES: JOTTE, HART, GUNN, KIRKTON, ESSERMAN, WELCH, ROBINSON

NOES: NONE

Mayor Welch stated that Bill #8515 was approved. 

 

BILL # 8516 – THIRD READING

On motion of Councilmember Jotte, seconded by Councilmember Hart, BILL #8516 ENTITLED: AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE TRAFFIC CODE, CHAPTER 60, BY AMENDING SCHEDULE H TO CREATE A NO PARKING ZONE ON THE NORTH SIDE OF WAYMIRE AVENUE, having been introduced and read twice on August 15, 2006, was taken up its title read a third time and placed upon its passage to become Ordinance #8516.

Mayor Welch called for the vote on Bill #8516. 

MEMBERS VOTING:

AYES: HART, GUNN, KIRKTON, ESSERMAN, WELCH, ROBINSON, JOTTE

NOES: NONE

Mayor Welch stated that Bill #8516 was approved. 

 

NEW BUSINESS

BILL #8517 – FIRST AND SECOND READING

Councilmember Robinson introduced BILL #8517 ENTITLED: AN ORDINANCE PERMITTING THE SUBDIVISION OF CERTAIN PROPERTY AT 755 CATALPA AVENUE, and at the Councilmember’s request, the Bill was read twice, first and second times by title only, and placed on the agenda for future consideration of the Council.  

 

Roger Grow, Director of Planning and Development, gave a brief presentation on the proposed subdivision.  He stated that the Plan Commission voted 7-0 to recommend approval as submitted. 

 

Mr. Starr stated that when it meets the regulations specified in the subdivision code, the law specifies that you have an administrative function requiring you to pass that subdivision. 

 

BILL #8518 – FIRST AND SECOND READING

Councilmember Gunn introduced BILL #8518 ENTITLED: AN ORDINANCE PERMITTING THE SUBDIVISION OF CERTAIN PROPERTY AT 35 & 37 OAK TREE AVENUE, and at the Councilmember’s request, the Bill was read twice, first and second times by title only, and placed on the agenda for future consideration of the Council. 

 

Mr. Grow gave a brief presentation on the application, and stated that both lots are substandard.  They meet the buildable lot criteria because they were listed as separate lots in 1956, and there were separate houses on each lot.  Under normal procedures, we would administratively handle a boundary adjustment plat. Because the proposal is to shift some land from the larger lot to the smaller lot, we cannot approve the boundary adjustment plat administratively, because we are increasing the sub-standardness of a lot.  Their only option is to seek a resubdivision of the property.  Their proposal is to shift about 8 feet from the larger, 50-foot lot, to the smaller, 37 ½ foot lot, so that each resulting lot is 43.75 feet and the lot size for each lot is 7,000 square feet.  Currently it is 6,000 and 8,000.  This can be considered by the Plan Commission, and they can recommend that the City Council grant a variance for a subdivision that is substandard if it protects the interest of the community, as well as a couple of other factors.  The Plan Commission considered this at the August 21, 2006 meeting and voted 7-0 to recommend approval subject to conditions dealing with the redevelopment of the property, as well as the condition that any new house built would be subject to the new proposed regulations for floor area ratio and front-entry garages being considered the same night by the Plan Commission. 

 

Councilmember Gunn asked why we are requiring them to do something that has not yet been approved? 

 

Mr. Grow stated that the belief is that the potential to build oversized houses there is substantial and as a condition of making the resulting development compatible with the neighborhood, that it should be subject to the standards for infill housing that they are recommending to the Council. 

 

Councilmember Gunn asked what authority the Plan Commission has to add a condition that has not been authorized by the Council.

 

Mr. Starr stated that the authority is in 50.070, which says that you have to, at the same time you are granting a variance, protect the public welfare and interest of the municipality, and that the general spirit of the regulations are preserved.  I think it is not inappropriate to put restrictions on that variance. 

 

Councilmember Gunn stated that the restrictions are on the building, not on the lot. 

 

Mr. Starr said that, as a Council, you can modify conditions.  It is not inappropriate to impose conditions. 

 

Mr. Grow mentioned other subdivisions where the design of the building was a part of the conditions for the granting of the variance. 

 

Councilmember Gunn stated that he doesn’t have a problem putting conditions on the building or the lots.  What he does find somewhat troublesome is that the conditions that are put on, are specifically the ones that are under consideration by the Council, but have not yet been adopted by the Council. 

 

Councilmember Jotte asked if this would comply with previous height regulations.

 

Mr. Grow stated that it would. 

 

Councilmember Hart stated that she doesn’t think the applicant was upset with the fourth condition. 

 

Councilmember Gunn stated that his was a much more general comment than it was specific to this property.  He stated that he understands the need to make these lots comply with the current neighborhood.  It is an issue he has with the Plan Commission imposing conditions that have not yet been decided on. 

 

Mr. Starr stated that they never impose, they recommend to the Council, and Council always has the right to change them. 

 

Councilmember Esserman asked what would be changed if that condition was removed. 

 

Mr. Grow stated that they would be able to build to the setback lines and to the height, and you could conceivably have a building that is 4,000 square feet. 

 

RESOLUTION #2006-38

AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO LARSON PARK

A motion was made by Councilmember Kirkton, seconded by Councilmember Robinson, to approve Resolution #2006-38.

 

Mr. Oppermann stated that he made a commitment to Ms. Bier to bring in wood chips to top off the bamboo, and it would be placed in the area as soon as it was available. He stated that they measured where they cut, and there may have been a piece or two on the other property.  Clearly the bamboo was originally planted on City property, without City approval.  There may have been a stalk or two on private property, but 99% of it was on City property. 

 

Mr. Oppermann stated that the scope of the project is the complete renovation of the tennis courts, which will look similar to those at Blackburn, a new ADA accessible path leading to the tennis courts, a new retaining wall, new furnishings, and a new sign at Kirkham.  Landscape improvements will come in over time.  Funding for the project is from a Municipal Park Grant.  Mr. Oppermann reviewed the budget adjustments made in order to accommodate this project that was a bit over budget.  Other improvements at Larson Park include the replacement of a bridge, cleaning up a collapsed retaining walls, and the biostabilization of the creek bed.  Great Rivers Greenway has committed $45,000 to creek bed restoration. 

 

Mr. Oppermann noted that there is a water line below the bridge, and it is our desire to move that line, and they are currently in discussions with Missouri-American Water Company. We look for this project to be completed by the end of this calendar year, weather permitting. 

 

Mr. Wylie emphasized that the items that the Parks and Recreation Department are giving up in order to complete this project are still needed. 

 

Councilmember Jotte asked about the possibility of continuing the bamboo and if there was an estimate of the cost of relocating the water line. 

 

Mr. Oppermann stated that it will come back, it is not easily gotten rid of.  Being a non-native plant, Staff does not recommend allowing it to come back, but that would certainly be an option.  The estimate from Missouri-American Water is $27,000. Mr. Wylie clarified that we have not ended our discussions with the Water Company. 

 

Councilmember Gunn stated that the Parks Department does a good job in creating a great environment, and once the improvements are done, Ms. Bier will think they are great.  Mr. Oppermann and the staff will work with you to try to solve the issue, and if they don’t, you can always come back to the Council. 

 

Mayor Welch called for the vote on Resolution #2006-38.

MEMBERS VOTING:

AYES: GUNN, KIRKTON, ESSERMAN, WELCH, ROBINSON, JOTTE, HART

NOES: NONE

Mayor Welch stated that Resolution #2006-38 was approved. 

 

CONSENT AGENDA

A motion was made by Councilmember Esserman, seconded by Councilmember Hart, to approve the Consent Agenda. 

Mayor Welch called for the vote on the Consent Agenda.

MEMBERS VOTING:

AYES: KIRKTON, ESSERMAN, WELCH, ROBINSON, JOTTE, HART, GUNN

NOES: NONE

Mayor Welch stated that the Consent Agenda was approved. 

 

The following Consent Agenda was approved:

·        Approval of Minutes – August 15, 2006

·        Resolution #2006-39 – Authorizing the City Manager to Purchase a Vehicle for the Park Maintenance Division

 

APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Peter Ruger was appointed to the Library Board.

Kevin Loida was appointed to the Old Webster Special Taxing District Commission. 

 

EXECUTIVE (CLOSED) SESSION

No Executive (Closed) Session. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 8:20 P.M. on motion of the Mayor, duly seconded.

 

PASSED AND APPROVED this 19th day of September, 2006.