Maplewood Planning and Zoning on Monday considered a request by Maplewood Richmond Heights School District to rezone a residence near the ECC (2812 Laclede Station Road) from Single Family to Public Activity, to use as a before- and after-school care facility.
About a dozen residents showed up, some to oppose the rezoning, citing ongoing traffic problems on the small streets around the entrance to the ECC; and a fewer number who supported the program, in spite of the traffic issues.
The residents’ comments and the committee’s responses took up the first hour of the meeting.
Tommas Ledbetter, who lives near the entrance to the ECC, on Burgess Avenue, said she’s recorded 65 cars in 20 minutes, and 200 in a day going down the street. She said parents don’t use the new parking lot (constructed since the passage of Prop K) because they don’t want to get caught in the crush, and parking on Burgess gets them closer to the entrance.
Rumi Price, at 2824 Laclede Station Road, said traffic has gotten worse and worse over 10 years. “I didn’t buy that property to get congested streets,” she said. “The residents’ safety needs to be considered.” She said she feared that the school district is taking over the neighborhood one property at a time.
One parent who came to support the rezoning said her son has learned to play chess in the Discover Club, and that he becoming a better person because of the program.
Another said her daughters have flourished in the ECC. She said she missed signing up for the program by one minute, and one of her daughters sobbed. Chris Hoelzer, with MRH, said 25 were wait-listed.
Several times during the session members of the plan and zoning committee said traffic and parking issues on Burgess and Comfort avenues and Laclede Station Road are part of a larger issue, beyond rezoning one property, and beyond the scope of the committee. Commenters were advised to take the issues to school board meetings.
“We got sucked into the larger picture,” Chairman Dan Noonan said just before the vote.
The committee voted 5-1 to recommend rezoning to the city council. Mike Hummert was the single ‘no’ vote.