City Council Meeting Summary for August 9, 2022

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Public Comments:

Gerry Noll spoke, stating that the Civilian Review Board (CRB) had been unable to meet in July because they could not get a quorum. With current vacancies, all members must be able to attend. Noll asked the council to please appoint members to the multiple vacant positions.

Jackie Lewis-Harris spoke and asserted that she believed the Neighborhood Policing Steering Committee had the authority to make recommendations to council about any municipal code. Alan Mueller also spoke about his belief that in the earlier council discussion for lawn services should have had the City Attorney cite the city’s charter instead of state law. Mueller also complained about electioneering and cited the proposed resolution concerning Michael Person several years ago.

Erica Brooks spoke about being the campaign manager for Michael Person and thanked those who voted. She spoke of engaging with the community and criticized those who are only for a select few. Her connection deteriorated and she could not be heard to complete her statement. She rejoined the meeting later to finish and spoke about whether state district 73 would be used for personal gain or move forward without grudges.

Nick Kasoff spoke on the redistricting proposal and offered a “tweak” to the Redistricting Commission’s proposal. He suggested that neighborhoods, whenever possible, be kept within a single ward. This way, council representatives would focus on fewer neighborhoods and be able to be more familiar with the neighborhoods within their wards.

Adrian Shropshire spoke about his work with Jobs and More. He also spoke about his concerns about displaced citizens from the flooding and their mental health. He suggested the city offer a care stipend for therapy to flood victims.

City Manager Report

A formal declaration of disaster was made yesterday so that now several types of aid will be rolling out for flood recovery. He noted that information can also be found on the city website by clicking on the Emergency Alert banner at the top of the page. With the FEMA declaration, public and individual assistance is becoming available. We are still awaiting a declaration from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that is anticipated. FEMA will be going door to door and passing out information.

Parks Director Dave Musgrave reported on the progress of demolition of the car wash on West Florissant. He also gave a summary of cost increases anticipated for the work. Initial cost estimates were made five years ago, and costs have increased since that time. They are looking at what project costs can be cut and will propose a budget amendment this fall or early winter when the construction phase of work is closer.

Chief Hampton gave an update on COVID rates, which have been going slightly down. However, as school starts he anticipates a slight uptick. He also spoke about monkey pox which has flu-like symptoms and blistering. It can be spread by skin contact or by respiratory exposure such as sneezing. Vaccines are limited for monkey pox. Once a person is infected the Department of Health will contact others who had exposure and determine vaccine administration.

City Manager Osterberg stated that flood debris should be picked up by Friday August 12th.

Special Presentation by Ferguson Redistricting Commission

Tim Larson presented with a PowerPoint that can be viewed here. Using the Census data the commission reviewed the total inhabitants in each ward and found that current population levels would require moving about 647 voters from Ward 1 to Ward 3 and about 40 voters from Ward 1 to Ward 2. The commission recommended that 14 census blocks along the West Florissant corridor be moved to Ward 3 and one census block in Robert Superior be moved to Ward 2. A public hearing will be the next step in considering changes to the wards.

Public Hearing for Special Use Permit

Marceo Haywood applied for a special use permit for an adult daycare at 15 S. Florissant, in the building last used as offices of Haywood-Hoosman Realty. This use is not permissible in the DT-1 district zoning the building is in, but the application was brought to the Board of Adjustment for consideration. Council, led by Mike Palmer and Heather Robinett, questioned whether this was appropriately brought to council because of the prohibited use in the DT-1 district. Linda Lipka and Toni Burrow also expressed concerns. In the public comment period Nick Kasoff spoke against setting a precedent for spot zoning and abandoning the form-based code. State Representative Raychel Proudie spoke, stating that she had questions about what the procedure was for variances, and whether the applicant went to the city manager and received an adverse response before going to the board. Proudie especially wanted to know how frequently a variance is given for a prohibited use, and she stated she would send Sunshine requests for both of these. Adrian Shropshire spoke and stated he believed the business was being misinterpreted and asserted that this was not a daycare but adult recreation.

Annual Liquor License Renewals

Elite Liquor at 9101 W. Florissant was denied renewal of their liquor license with a vote of 6 against and one abstention from Michael Palmer. They have a court date in October for citations made after police seized about $8000 worth of illegal fireworks from the store. There have been 86 calls for service and three shots fired.

BP at 1032 S. Florissant also failed to have their liquor license renewed in a vote of 3 for, 3 against, and one abstention. There were 91 calls for service to this business, including one shooting and two robbery calls.

Bill for First Reading

A motion was made by Robinett to remove the bill granting a conditional use permit to Marceo Haywood for an adult daycare because it is a prohibited use. The motion passed and the bill was removed.

Bills for Second Reading

An ordinance amending sections relating to the regulation of boards, committees, and commissions was read. Naquittia Noah proposed amendments to give “a little more grace” to the requirement that taxes be current. Linda Lipka made a motion to approve the bill without the amendments. The motion passed.

An ordinance for disclosing conflicts of interest with two amendments: in section (a) of Disclosure Reports removal of the word “if” as it follows RSMo. and in section 3 (a) (3) of Filing of Reports removal of the word “if” and replacement with the word “are” so that it reads Candidates for elective office are required to file.

New Business

Mayor Ella Jones made an assertion for the record that a “private city personnel matter concerning me has been shared with outside individuals who ultimately published the information.” She claimed this was illegal and requested the city manager to investigate and take corrective action. See this editorial concerning the mayor’s claims.