Charter Commission eyes boroughs, municipal governance reform

The St. Louis County Charter Commission is moving toward development of an entirely new county charter, commissioners indicated during their March 28 meeting. Commission Chairman Gene McNary told the meeting he wants to use a new charter to restructure the county and its existing municipalities into a borough system. At a minimum, he hopes the commission will propose new standards for municipal functions, such as law enforcement, that will effectively require some municipalities to consolidate. While Commissioner Maxine Schumacher initially suggested the commission should focus on an in-depth review of the county’s existing governing document and revisions to specific provisions, Chairman McNary called for a more all-encompassing approach – specifically development of an entirely new charter to implement a borough system.

Richmond Heights would face $5.5 million deficit under merger

A proposed merger of St. Louis city and county would result in a $5.5 million annual budget deficit for the City of Richmond Heights, according to an analysis prepared for the Missouri State Auditor’s Office. In addition, Richmond Heights would be left without funding for services such as trash pickup or road maintenance, the analysis emphasizes. The analysis was prepared for use in developing the fiscal note that would accompany a merger ballot initiative, which the lobbying firm Pelopidas, LLC, (working under name “Better Together”) hopes to have on the November 2020 statewide general election ballot. See also: Maplewood city manager hunt possibly impacted by merger talk

All St.

Board of Freeholders drive underway to circumvent statewide merger vote

The Municipal League of Metro St. Louis has begun circulating petitions to convene a Board of Freeholders, in response to what the league considers an “unamerican” attempt to force a merger of St. Louis and St. Louis County through a statewide vote. The Municipal League’s petition drive comes a week after the Richmond Heights-based lobbying firm Pelopidas, LLC, — working under the name “Better Together” –  proposed formation of a regional “Metro City” government structure encompassing St.

SSM Health St. Mary’s gets a “B”

SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital received a “B” grade in the Spring 2018 Leapfrog Group national hospital safety ratings.  While a B rating is obviously good, detailed finding show below-average performance with respect to deaths from serious treatable complications, collapsed lung, and surgical wound splits opening. 

The report also gives the hospital below average ratings for communication on medications and patient release (which is considered an important factor in successful patient recovery and avoidance of re-hospitalization. The hospital scored below average in four of the six physician and staffing measures considered in the report:  Effective leadership to prevent errors, enough qualified nurses, communications with doctors and responsiveness of hospital staff. Despite its unusual name, The Leapfrog Group is one of the most respected healthcare safety research organizations in the nation. Details on SSM St.

RH Council approves townhouse development

The Richmond Heights City Council Monday night (March 21) gave final approval for the new Central Park Townes residential development, near the Metro-Link tracks in the Lavina Terrace subdivision. The 42-unit townhouse complex, on the former grounds of the Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel Congregation at 1107 East Linden, will offer units priced from the upper $300,000s to low $400,000s, according to Pulte Homes, the project developer. Construction is set to begin during the second half of this year. The city council gave second gave second reading to an ordinance subdividing Lot 12 and part of Lot 13 of Lavina Terrace into 42 separate lots to accommodate the townhouse complex. Final approval came on a motion by Councilman Rick Vilcek, a second by Councilwoman Camille Greenwald, and a unanimous vote.

Public-private partnership eyed for Hanley/I-64 development

The planned new Crossings at Richmond Heights hotel, restaurant and retail complex on the southeast corner of I-64/U.S. 40 and Hanley Road would be developed through a public-private partnership with the City of Richmond Heights, under a proposal outlined by the Summit Development Group during Monday’s Richmond Heights city council meeting. Touted as “St. Louis’ Premier New Mixed-User Development” by listing agent Colliers International, the proposed $50 million, 30,000 square-foot complex, on the currently vacant six-acre tract at the eastern terminus of Eager Road, is to include a five-story hotel, two restaurants, and a 16,000-square-foot “big box” retail building, as well as 1,600 feet of adjacent space for smaller retailers. Most of the site is currently owned by the City of Richmond Heights with a portioned owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation. Summit Development representatives detailed the public-private partnership proposal for the council during an executive session Monday night.  Terms of the proposed arrangement were not publically announced.

Townhouse complex nears approval, Menards out-lot businesses OK’d

Development of the planned new Central Park Townes residential complex, in the Lavina Terrace subdivision, drew another step closer Monday night (March 7), as the Richmond Heights City Council introduced the final legislation required for approval of the project. Atlanta-based Pulte Homes is proposing the 42-unit townhouse development for the former grounds of the Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel Congregation, just north of the Metro-Link tacks at 1107 East Linden. The publicly-traded development firm has a portfolio of residential properties in more than 50 markets around the nation, including Del Webb communities for active older adults in 19 states, DiVosta luxury communities throughout Florida, and a group of single-family and townhome communities, developed in 13 states under the Centex brand. Through its St. Louis County offices in Chesterfield, the company in January opened its Creekside at Mason development in Creve Coeur and last week officially opened Wildwood Trail subdivision in Wildwood.

Richmond Heights Council tables Boulevard TIF

The Richmond Heights City Council Monday night tabled redevelopment plans and a tax-increment financing (TIF) package for the proposed Boulevard South commercial-residential development, to give developer Pace Properties additional time to find new funding for the project. A previously arranged financing agreement expired after the project was postponed in 2008, due to the collapse of the real estate market, Pace representatives told the council earlier this month. The planned $78.9 million development, along Brentwood Boulevard across from the St. Louis Galleria, would extend the present Boulevard complex south, replacing an existing strip mall and Mattress Giant store. The TIF proposal has drawn criticism from Clayton School District officials who fear the development would not immediately provide additional revenues for the district but might mean additional students.

Boland Place apartments approved

The Richmond Heights City Council Monday night (Feb. 1) gave final approval to a rezoning request and development plan for the Residences at Boland Place luxury apartment complex on the former site of the A.B. Green School and Richmond Heights Church of God and Christ. Developer Joe Cyr assured council members the three-story, $34 million building, at the intersection of Boland Place and Dale Avenue, will become a “legacy asset” attracting a new breed of affluent “renters by choice” to Richmond Heights and ultimately spurring additional high-end real estate developments in the city. However, as during recent hearings on the project, a majority of the approximately 100 area residents who turned out for Monday night’s council meeting at the Heights expressed objections, citing the size of the complex as well as potential traffic congestion and parking problems.

The development proposal reviewed and ultimately approved at the meeting essentially represented a fourth generation of revised and scaled-back plans for the building, developed through extensive consultations with area residents to address concerns, Cyr said. In final form, the development plan calls for:

187 apartment units – compared to an originally proposed 213,
A maximum building height of 52 feet – down from 62 feet in the original plans – along Dale Ave.

Plan for “Ritz-Carlton” grade apartments continues to raise ire in second public hearing

The Richmond Heights City Council Tuesday night gave a formal first reading to a rezoning request and development plan for a proposed 203-unit, upscale apartment complex at the corner of Boland and Dale. Developer Joe Cyr, who has developed more than $300 million in properties around St. Louis, told the council that the planned $34 million, four-story complex would be typical of a new breed of “class A” boutique apartment properties, designed to attract long-term, upper-income residents with amenities – such as a swimming pool, onsite parking, and a clubhouse with outside kitchen – as well as “Ritz Carlton”-grade services. However, the council, for the second time, heard more than 90 minutes of objections from residents who say the project is too large for the site, incompatible with surrounding single-family houses and would add to already growing traffic congestion. “To use an old county expression, it’s like a 10 lb.

Boland Place again on RH City Council agenda

Richmond Heights City Council will hear a presentation by I.L.I., LLC on a proposed 203-unit apartment complex at Boland and Dale – as well as public comment on the project – Tuesday (Jan. 19), 7:30 p.m. at The Heights. The proposed $34 million Boland Place apartment complex is proposed for the present site of the Richmond Heights Church of God in Christ and the vacant A.B. Green School, according to developer Joe Cyr. Residents at the council’s Jan. 4 meeting expressed concern that the development would clash with the single-family residential character of neighborhood and overburden streets with traffic.

Richmond Heights residents voice concern over apartment plans

An overflow crowd of Boland Place/Arch Terrace-area residents turned out to express concern Monday night (Jan. 4) as the Richmond Heights City Council prepared to consider a site plan and rezoning ordinance for a proposed 203-unit apartment complex on Boland between Dale Avenue and I-64/U.S.40. Developer Joe Cyr, of ILI, LLC, and architect Bob Koch, of Fugleberg Koch Architects are not scheduled to present their proposal to the council until its Jan. 19 meeting. However, about 40 residents came out for Monday’s council meeting after learning the site plan appeared on the agenda; prompting Mayor James Beck and the council to begin taking public comment on the project.

Survey gives Richmond Heights high marks

Richmond Heights residents continue to rate their city favorably as a place to live, work, shop, and raise families, according to municipality’s 2015 National Citizens Survey (NCS). “Almost all Richmond Heights residents (96 percent) gave excellent or good ratings to the overall quality of life in Richmond Heights,” the NCS summary notes. The city ranks above national benchmarks for factors such as ease of travel, availability of housing options, a vibrant shopping/commercial district and as a good place to work, City Manager Amy Hamilton noted, presenting the survey results to the city council earlier this month. Nearly all respondents ranked Richmond Heights, and their neighborhoods, as a good or excellent place to live, according to the survey results.  At least 8 in 10 were pleased with the overall image and appearance of the city, with a similar percentage calling Richmond Heights as a good or excellent place to raise children. “Additionally, nearly all residents would recommend living in Richmond Heights to someone who asked and nearly 9 in 10 planned to remain in Richmond Heights for the next five years,” the survey results note.

Richmond Heights approves liquor license for new comedy club

The Richmond Heights City Council, Monday night (Nov. 16), approved issuance of a liquor license for a comedy club, currently under construction at the St. Louis Galleria. Helium Comedy Club is scheduled to open before the holidays, City Manager Amy Hamilton told the council. The nightclub is to be located on the lower level of the shopping mall, in space formerly occupied by Black Finn Restaurant, at 1151 Saint Louis Galleria, near the Clayton Road entrance.

Richmond Heights municipal election, April 5, 2016: Mayor to run again

Richmond Heights voters will select a mayor, as well a city council member in each of four districts, during the April 2016 municipal elections. Filing for the April 2016 ballot opens Nov. 23 in Richmond Heights. Election packets are now available for prospective candidates at the front desk of City Hall. Mayor James Beck has indicated his desire to serve another term.

Richmond Heights voters OK tax: $260,000 in new revenue for city

Richmond Heights voters approved an online sales tax but rejected a tax on out-of-state vehicle purchases during Tuesday’s (Nov. 3) elections, according to unofficial results posted by the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners. Proposition U — narrowly passed on a 265-259 (51 – 49 percent) vote — asked voters to approve a local ‘use’ tax on out­ of­ state purchases over the amount of $2,000 per year. “This is not double taxation: sales tax is for retail purchases in the state of Missouri; use tax is for purchases from out­ of­ state vendors which are exempt from sales tax,” the city stated.

Props U, V on Richmond Heights ballot today

Two tax issues are being proposed to voters today (Nov. 3) in Richmond Heights. Proposition U, would assess a sales tax – commonly known as “use tax” — on purchases over $2,000 made out-of-state that are exempt from in-state sales tax. In-state purchases are taxed at a rate of 8.613%, of which 1.00% is the Countywide Point of sale (POS) tax that is shared countywide, 1.50% is local sales tax that Richmond Heights collects and also shares a portion of countywide. Should the voters of Richmond Heights approve the local use tax, 1.50% will be added to Missouri’s 4.225% use tax on purchases over $2,000 that are exempt from sales tax.

Temporary Richmond Heights Post Office opens on Dale

The Richmond Heights Post Office begins operating at temporary quarters in a trailer at 8501 Dale Ave. on Monday, July 27. The post office building at 1201 Big Bend Boulevard is now closed, according to a notice on the front door. The building is scheduled to be converted into retail space. The post office plans to re-open in the spring of 2016.

Richmond Heights City Council to consider $21 million senior living center Monday night

The Richmond Heights City Council will consider a development plan for a new senior living center – The Bellevue at St. Mary’s – during its regular meeting tonight (April 20), 7:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers. TLG Bellevue Partners plans to build the four-story, $21 million assisted living center along Bellevue Avenue, between Ethel and Hoover avenues, across from the SSM St. Mary’s Health Center grounds. SSM is among the participants in the development group and already owns the land proposed for the project.

Report praises county’s “fragmented” cities, calls for “carrots, sticks” to encourage inter-city partnerships

A state-commissioned report by a coalition of universities praises St. Louis County’s system of multiple municipalities as efficient, responsive, and resistant to the corrupting influence of special interests. Instead of municipal mergers, the report suggests Missouri attempt to enhance the efficiency of local governmental by encouraging “inter-city partnerships” for purchasing or infrastructure development. The report – “Best Practices: An Overview of Current Policies and Strategies for Improving Municipal Efficiencies,” by Mark Tranel, director of the University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL) Public Policy Research Center (PPRC), and research assistant Bradley DiMariano – appears to mark a major victory for opponents of a much publicized effort to merge the City of St.