23 Aug 2014
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Meeting Highlights: Council Size and Yale Avenue Alley-Naming Discussed in Richmond Heights

The Richmond Heights City Council on Tuesday also heard the first reading of a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Meeting Highlights: Council Size and Yale Avenue Alley-Naming Discussed in Richmond Heights

A bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is among items the Richmond Heights City Council will consider at its meeting Tuesday.

To learn more, download a PDF of the complete agenda from the city's website. A discussion session about the size of the council is set to begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall, followed by the regular meeting at 7:30.

The following are highlights from the meeting as it happened. Want more information about a particular discussion topic? Email nate.birt@patch.com and we'll follow up.


8 P.M.: The council is voting to move into closed session.


7:58 P.M.: The council has adopted a resolution supporting a grant application that would help fund planning and design of a gazebo honoring veterans near The Heights community center.


7:55 P.M.: Beck said Greenwald also supported him in the decision to pursue the legislation.

"I do feel like it's something that fits our society at this point," he said. The bill will be considered for approval at a later date.

Notter indicated he wants to ensure the city isn't reacting to every group that presents its "issue of the week."

7:52 P.M.: Heinz said he will look at the legislation a little more closely to address questions about age.

He said he was asked to prepare legislation similar to that passed in Clayton recently.

"Are we creating another law to create another law?" Notter said.

Hamilton said a group has been going around the St. Louis area asking cities to consider such legislation.

Notter asked whether these are Richmond Heights residents.

"I was fine with it, Ed," Beck said. "I do think it's 21st century." He spoke in response to comments from Hamilton, who said members of the group also spoke with council representatives to ask for their support.

7:50 P.M.: The council is discussing a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Several council members are discussing whether the bill would affect age-specific housing.


7:46 P.M.: A 2011 tax rebate benefit for some Hadley Township property owners has been approved.

7:45 P.M.: A land adjustment has been approved unanimously in the area of Westmoor Park subdivision, Warner Avenue and Woodland Drive.

7:42 P.M.: Amendments to the city's fire prevention and protection codes have been approved unanimously.

7:41 P.M.: Mitten said she would like to bring up an issue for discussion with City Attorney Kenneth Heinz in a brief closed session with the council after the regular meeting.


7:39 P.M.: Thomson noted that development proposals for Hadley Township are due to the city this week. He said residents can check the city's website Friday for a list of people who have submitted proposals.


7:38 P.M.: At the time, nobody was unhappy with the renaming of West Richmond Field to A.B. Athletic Complex, Beck said.

Hamilton said Assistant City Manager David Gipson will be contacting other nearby cities Wednesday to see if they have parameters for naming alleys.

7:34 P.M.: Notter said another requirement for naming an alley should be that a background check of the person be performed. He and other council members expressed desire that nominees be vetted to avoid a revelation about negative past behavior after a naming takes place.

7:29 P.M.: Some Yale Avenue residents are seeking to rename an alley south of Oakland Avenue, Mayor James Beck said. The resident passed away last year and was active in the community. The city recognized him in a resolution before his death.

Mitten said a resident approached her several months ago about the possibility. Since that time, she has spoken with City Manager Amy Hamilton about the proposition.

Thomson suggested there be a nominating petition for the proposal, in addition to a collection of signatures.

Beck asked for feedback on parameters. To the knowledge of city staff, no alleys in the city have been named previously.


7:26 P.M.: The council has authorized staff to move forward with issuance of a liquor license for In & Out Market, 1133 Bellevue Ave.


7:22 P.M.: The regular meeting has begun. Thomson thanked two District 2 residents for attending Tuesday's meeting and city staff. One of the residents, Christina Theodore, is a new block captain on West Bruno Avenue.

Jones said residents interested in attending centennial meetings but unable to get out are asked to call 314-655-0667 to arrange for a ride from the city.

Additionally, a meeting of Richmond Heights block captains is planned at 6:30 p.m. March 9 at The Heights.


The council previously has discussed whether to reduce the number of districts in the city. One such discussion happened at a September meeting. Some council members' districts already have changed in size as a result of 2010 Census data.

7:20 P.M.: Mitten said one of the "wonderful" things about Richmond Heights is its diversity. That makes it important to have adequate representation.

Earlier, Jones spoke about residents' interest in the past in ensuring that the city's African-American community is represented.

7:17 P.M.: Thomson said he attended a recent meeting where residents discussed a variety of alternatives for council size.

"It was 100 percent for leaving it like it is," he said.

District 3 Councilwoman Gina Mitten said she agrees, and she said discussion of compensation should probably be set aside for another time.

7:16 P.M.: "To cut the council down in size I just think is ridiculous," Jones said. He said he and his counterpart in District 2, Jim Thomson, are both retired and still can't keep up with all of the requests for assistance from constituents.

He also said that until recently, he didn't know he was supposed to receive compensation for his service.

Mayor James Beck said one possibility has been to increase compensation to council members in order to encourage other people to seek office.

"If the city needs the money, cancel my check," Jones said.

District 3 Councilman Ed Notter agreed.

He said if council members are serving for money, "we're up here for the wrong reasons."

7:09 P.M.: District 2 Councilman Mike Jones is speaking. He referenced a meeting that occurred Jan. 26, 1984. At the time, several residents discussed the future of the city. Four council members and a mayor comprised City Council at the time.

"And we weren't getting true representation," Jones said. "That's what we thought at that time."

Jones said perhaps the economy or another issue resulted this year in no competitive council races.

7:08 P.M.: District 4 Councilwoman Connie Williams: "We feel like it takes two people to address a lot of the concerns that we have," said Williams, referring to conversation she's had with fellow Councilwoman Camille Greenwald.

At issue is whether the number of representatives on the council should be reduced.

Greenwald agreed, saying she thinks council representatives might not feel as close to their constituents were the council to be reduced.

Both said they are happy with four districts.

7:05 P.M.: The meeting is underway. Mayor James Beck said the status of the discussion about council size is in doubt because the council members most affected, District 1 representatives Paul Lore and Matt Casey, could not be present.

He said those in attendance will discuss the issue briefly and decide whether to move forward with additional conversation about the issue.

7:03 P.M.: The meeting is set to begin momentarily.

5:03 P.M.: Come back at 7 p.m. for live updates from the meeting.

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