Maplewood city council candidate on economics, race, LGBT, education

Scott Criscione has filed to run for Maplewood City Council, Ward 3. He sent his thoughts on economics, race, LGBT and education. He’ll be running against incumbent Jennifer Schmidt in the April 2019 municipal election. From Criscione:

Economics: We spend more in taxes than in food and clothing combined in the US. We have record high taxes and even worse, record high spending.

Ballot is set for Maplewood council election: challenger in every ward

The incumbent in each of Maplewood’s three wards will be running for their seats April 2, 2019 General Municipal Election, and each will have a challenger. Filing to run for Maplewood City Council closed on November 20. The incumbents and challengers for each ward:

Ward 1 — Karen Wood (incumbent), Jason Goldkamp
Ward 2 — Eleanor Pardini, Tim Dunn (incumbent)

Ward 3 — Jenny Schmidt (incumbent), Nicholas (Scott) Criscione

Jason Goldcamp announced his run in April 2018. Eleanor Pardini filed to run in October. Scott Criscione announced earlier this week that he had obtained the needed signatures.

Burgess Avenue residents complain about parking: city manager proposes restrictions

Maplewood City Manager Marty Corcoran proposed Tuesday night at the city council meeting that several parking spaces on Burgess Avenue be reserved for residents only, in response to several complaints from residents of Burgess. Corcoran told the council, “There are a couple of residents there [Burgess Ave.] that do not have driveways, and they’ve become fed up with school parents leaving them no place to park.” In response to the complaints, Corcoran initially inspected the school to see if there was, in fact, adequate parking for parents picking up their children and stated both times he visited there were at least thirty spaces left unused while the parents opted to park on Burgess Avenue instead to avoid the line. “The only solution we can think of is to create resident-only parking within certain periods of time,” Corcoran said. Mayor Barry Greenberg suggested an alternate plan in response, proposing only the residents without driveways be given two reserved parking spots each.

Citizens voice concerns over newly amended nuisance ordinance

On Tuesday evening, three Maplewood residents voiced their objections to the updated wording of the Maplewood nuisance ordinance, saying they didn’t believe the city was doing enough to resolve the issues. In a public forum held during the city council meeting, Maplewood residents Kyle Oberle, Jim Breihan, and Jason Goldkamp addressed the council, commending them for taking the first step in amending the broken ordinance, but saying they did not believe the proposed amendments would resolve the fundamental problems with the ordinance. “I am distressed by the proposed nuisance ordinance. We are not facing the fullness of the problematic nature of our ordinance,” Oberle, the first to raise an objection, said. “I simply do not see the justice of forcing someone out of our community.

Maplewood officials move to amend nuisance ordinance; approve settlement with Rosetta Watson

On Tuesday evening the city council unanimously approved a resolution to execute a $137,000 release and settlement agreement with Rosetta Watson, the woman who was declared a nuisance and had her occupancy permit revoked. In addition to approving the settlement, the council also moved through the second reading of an ordinance to revise the Maplewood nuisance ordinance, which was cited in Watson’s case. The council is scheduled for a third reading and a final vote at the next meeting on September 25. If approved, the ordinance will take effect on October 10, and will prevent officials from taking action against anyone who was a victim in the incident which prompted the nuisance enforcement action. “It’s not necessarily an admission of guilt…

Maplewood officials set to vote to change nuisance law; settle with woman who lost occupancy permit

Maplewood officials are set to vote on Tuesday on a ‘release and settlement agreement’ between the city and Rosetta Watson, who had her city occupancy permit stripped after being declared a nuisance under the city’s nuisance ordinance. The ACLU filed a suit against the city in her behalf. City officials are also set to vote on an amendment to the city’s nuisance ordinance, cited in denying Watson her permit to live in the city. Per the ACLU: “Between September 2011 and February 2012, Rosetta Watson’s former boyfriend punched her, shoved her, choked her, and refused to leave her property, resulting in calls to the police on four occasions. Based on these four incidents, and even though city officials were aware that Ms. Watson was the victim of repeated domestic violence, Maplewood found that Ms. Watson was a nuisance, revoked her occupancy permit, denied her a new permit for 180 days, effectively banishing her from the city.”

Maplewood street to get speed bumps; and more from council meeting

After a discussion of traffic calming measures on various streets, Maplewood officials on Tuesday approved the city manager purchasing speed bumps for Marietta Avenue. Residents of Marietta have said that the number of children on the block has increased from one to 17 in the past 12 years. They’re concerned about speeding drivers, especially during morning rush hour. The city’s traffic study showed that it qualified for speed bumps, both in the number of cars going over the limit, and total number of cars. See also: Parents on Marietta concerned about speeding drivers

City Manager Marty Corcoran said after the meeting that he knew of only one resident of the street who didn’t want speed bumps — she favored narrowing the street with planters to slow traffic instead.

In the press: Law allowing eviction for multiple 911 calls

Fox 2, KMOX, KSDK, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio were among the outlets reporting on a meeting on Maplewood’s nuisance ordinance. 

Fox 2 – Maplewood residents learn making too many calls to 911 can lead to eviction
KMOX – Maplewood Evictions, Smoking Bans & Snuff
KSDK — Police: Treasurer confesses to stealing from PTO bank account
KSDK – Ordinance allows Maplewood to evict for calls to 911
KSDK – Fight against Maplewood nuisance ordinance
St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Community meeting set on Maplewood nuisance ordinance that prompted ACLU lawsuit
St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Maplewood officials say Shop N Save departure left budget hole

Maplewood nuisance law meeting pulls a crowd

On Wednesday the ACLU Missouri and Equal Housing and Opportunity Council hosted a discussion on on Maplewood’s nuisance ordinance laws at the Salvation Army in Maplewood. The law allows the city to revoke a tenant’s occupancy permit for “more than two instances within a 180-day period of incidents of peace disturbance or domestic violence resulting in calls to the police,” according to the ordinance, in part. St. Louis Public Radio, KSDK, KMOV, 550 KTRS and Fox 2 were among the outlets covering the meeting.

Maplewood officials hear more from proponents of community policing

In a meeting with less on the agenda than two weeks ago, Maplewood city officials on Tuesday heard from members of the Maplewood Community Builders group about community policing and from one Marietta Avenue resident about slowing traffic on the street. They also OK’d a tattoo studio (parking was the only issue discussed) and filled the last vacant position on the city’s commissions. With many Marietta Avenue residents at the previous meeting, several Maplewood Community Builders group took the opportunity on Tuesday to speak in the public forum. About a dozen came and five spoke. They’re hoping to influence decisions about next year’s budget on how to spend the city’s Proposition P funds — more with the community’s needs in mind, rather than just hiring more officers.

Loss of Shop ‘n Save costing Maplewood thousands in tax revenue

According to the city manager, the loss of Shop ‘n Save in Maplewood is causing an adjustment to the city’s budget, currently being worked on by the city staff. Maplewood City Manager Marty Corcoran told 40 South that when all sources of revenue related to Shop ‘n Save are considered, the loss to the city is estimated at over $500,000. That amount will be taken into consideration in the city’s 2017-18 budget. City officials have planned a work session at the beginning of the next city council meeting to discuss the budget. To put that in some perspective, the total property tax revenue for the city (estimated) for 2016-17 is $3,450,000, and for 2014-15 it was $3,126,274 (actual).

Maplewood officials consider tattoo studio, Prop P funds

Maplewood city officials on Tuesday in a voice vote in the first readings, unanimously approve a proposed tattoo studio at 2801- 2803 S. Big Bend Boulevard. The third and final vote will take place at the next council meeting. Council member Ray Crader asked owner asked about age restrictions, and owner, Alan Thompson, said state regulations allow no one under 18 to get a tattoo without parental consent. He said 16 is the minimum age; also that minors aren’t allowed in the shop. Council member Sandi Phillips said she was at the planning and zoning meeting where it first approved, and that parking was the number one issue there.

Maplewood City Council discusses how to control traffic on block with 15 kids

About a dozen of approximately 30 in the audience at the Maplewood City Council meeting on Tuesday came from Marietta Avenue. Their block carries higher than average traffic for a residential street according to a city study, and a percentage of those are speeding. The residents who are also parents see it at the bus stop on Marshall Avenue.  They said drivers don’t yield to pedestrians, cut through a parking lot on the corner, exhibit road rage, and swipe parked cars as they come north on Marshall and turn left on Marietta. The city had sent a letter to the residents with a suggestion from a traffic consultant to allow parking on the north side of the street to discourage the cut-through traffic. Not one resident or council member liked the idea.

Maplewood officials discuss problem traffic areas; new council member sworn in

In addition to approving Great Rivers Greenway  implementing a new greenway through Maplewood, city officials on Tuesday discussed car and bus traffic, and a new council member was sworn in. A resident who spoke in favor of the greenway, also said it’s almost impossible for residents taking their children to the Maplewood Richmond Heights ECC to cross Big Bend Boulevard at Flora Avenue because rush hour often traffic blocks the intersection. Councilman Ray Crader said some residents on Blendon Place had complained about cars from the used car lot at the corner at Manchester Avenue speeding and blocking parking. City Manager Marty Corcoran said the car lot is in St. Louis City and part of Blendon is in Maplewood.

Maplewood officials OK new greenway work through Greenwood neighborhood

Maplewood officials have agreed to move forward with Great Rivers Greenway to implement a greenway through the Greenwood neighborhood, connecting Francis R. Slay Park to the east with the Deer Creek Greenway to the west. The route is to go along Oxford and Sussex avenues and Greenwood Boulevard. City officials voted (5-1) on Tuesday to approve GRG spending $103,000 to study three intersection on the route: Canterbury and Greenwood avenues, Sutton Boulevard at the rail road crossing, and Oxford and Big Bend. With Ward 1 council member Sandi Phillips seated — she was sworn in that night, the council agreed (other than Tim Dunn, the only no vote) that that GRG had addressed the city’s concerns and any further delays would likely kill the project. See also: Great Rivers Greenway rejects Maplewood proposal, Great Rivers Greenway giving Maplewood a 2nd chance

This is after the city originally gave GRG a list of stipulations, which eventually caused caused the loss of a federal grant — missing the deadline, GRG said.

Maplewood Ward 1 candidates take questions in League of Women Voters forum

Close to 30 Maplewood residents attended a candidates forum moderated by the League of Women Voters on Tuesday in the Salvation Army gym. Candidates Owen Skoler, Kyle Oberle and Sandi Phillips (ballot order) took questions from the audience, who submitted questions on cards. A LWV volunteer moderated. On the role Planning and Zoning could play in encouraging business development, Phillips, who is on the commission, said they are now reviewing zoning codes, changing business definitions, which eventually could be less restrictive; Skoler said if a business meets the code it should simply be allowed — not on a case by case basis; Oberle said it goes back to updating the city’s comprehensive plan. All three said if residents don’t vote for them, vote for trash, meaning that they support Maplewood’s Proposition T, a tax to cover the increased cost of trash and recycling pickup in Maplewood.

Maplewood bike trail still on the table

Maplewood Mayor Barry Greenberg said at the council meeting Tuesday that there’s still hope for the proposed Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) trail through the city. He said he and City Manager Marty Corcoran have a meeting with GRG on March 6 to discuss the biking and hiking trail through Maplewood, to run along Greenwood Boulevard. Greenberg said probably everyone knows that GRG had declined the federal funding (of $1.6 million) and the project is canceled for the time, and that there could be a solution at a future date. See also: Great Rivers Greenway rejects Maplewood proposal, Great Rivers Greenway giving Maplewood a 2nd chance

“There’s no hope of resurrecting the current project in its current form, however GRG has expressed desire to move forward with (the Maplewood) portion of the network. We’ll explore the possibility with them, letting them know there are certain stipulations to be acceptable to the city,” he said.

Timing could influence trail vote

Great River Greenway (GRG) has given the city of Maplewood until April 30 to decide if it wants to be a part of its trail system in St. Louis. The election to fill the vacant Ward 1 seat is April 3. After Maplewood told GRG it would proceed with the group’s plan for a trail along Greenwood Boulevard, with stipulations, and GRG said the city’s demands forced them to pull the plug on a $1.6 million federal grant — GRG gave Maplewood until April 30 to agree to the plan, for next year’s budget. See Maplewood’s letter to GRG
See the GRG letter to Mayor Greenberg and the city council

If the council considers GRG’s proposal after the election — if it does at all — the new council member could swing the vote.

Great Rivers Greenway giving Maplewood a 2nd chance

Great Rivers Greenway is giving Maplewood a second shot at a trail through the city down Greenwood Boulevard, but there’s a deadline. After Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) determined that the list of stipulations Maplewood wanted for a trail crossing Big Bend at Oxford Avenue and down Greenwood Boulevard were outside the scope of the $1.6 million grant from the East West Gateway, they withdrew the grant request so the funds could be used for another project. See Maplewood’s letter to Great Rivers Greenway (Feb. 16)
See Great Rivers letter responding to Maplewood (Feb. 20)

GRG Communications Manager Seth Treptow said Friday that GRG asked the city of Maplewood, in its letter to Mayor Barry Greenberg and the city council, to let them know if they would like to work  together, “so we can look at what’s actually part of the greenway, what other funding sources might be, what’s feasible, and then if they’re interested in doing that — and we want them to let us know by April 30 — we’ll have time to incorporate those revisions into our budget for next year.”

Great Rivers Greenway rejects Maplewood proposal

The Deer Creek Trail extension, through Maplewood, has been effectively cancelled by Great Rivers Greenway after delays by Maplewood’s city council in approving the project jeopardized a federal grant of $1.5 million awarded to GRG to build the trail. This month, GRG was already beyond a federal deadline to show progress on the project, waiting for Maplewood’s decision to OK the route alignment, according to St. Louis 24th Ward Alderman Scott Ogilvie. GRG’s preferred route was along Greenwood Boulevard. Maplewood council members at a meeting on Feb.