17 September 2019 / 6:45 PM / Missouri Foundation for Health
6:45 Meeting Called to order (Vincent Chewning)
- National Night Out
- Thanks to everybody and sponsors who came out. A lot of people came together to make that happen
- Halloween Carnival
- October 26th; 4 – 8pm-ish
- Every year we’ve done something for kids. Looking for people interested in volunteering. Potential volunteers talk with Clarissa after the meeting or reach out the Association.
Crime and Safety
6:45 – 6:55 pm Crime and Safety Report (Ed Slade, SLMPD Liaison)
- Robbery in front of Layla’s; started as a purse snatching and a gun was pulled on the husband of the initial victim
- Other crimes are car larceny
- Neighborhood is averaging two larcenies a day, which are spread across the neighborhood
- North end of Manchester near Chouteau is the location within the neighborhood is seeing the most
- Environmental Investigative Unit (aka the Trash Police) is looking for tips and installing cameras for illegal dumping
- Only pertains to large illegal dumping in and around alley dumpsters. At the moment it does not include illegally abandoned cars – those will be towed separately
- There are about 8 or 9 men in this unit
- It’s funded on a grant
- The City Finest shares crime reports at the CID Meetings
- They are the ones you see in the golf carts
- The Board will request TCF to share routes or report at association Meetings
Special Presentations and Discussions
6:55 – 7:15 pm Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative (Peter Hoffman) (https://www.stlvacancy.com/)
- If you have a civil legal need, they are available to provide services including: eviction defense, represent people against judgement creditors, orders of protection, foreclosure defense, helping people access the public safety net, a robust public benefits department
- Community Development Teams (they have two)
- 1) Have a micro-enterprise program for low income entrepreneurs and people who want to start nonprofits and small business
- Provide organizational assistance include getting you incorporated, get your bylaws, get you filed with the secretary of state, and get your tax exempt status
- 2) Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative: Represents CDCs and Neighborhood Associations
- Services focus on vacancy at the neighborhood level
- Primarily focused serving neighborhoods situated in low income census tracts to try to address vacant and problem property through civil litigation
- Funded in part by the City of St. Louis (SLDC) and a bank settlement.
- Their services supplement the city’s tools, which include:
- What they City does to address vacancy they use things lieke code enforcement, building division citations, unpaid taxes
- What the Vanancy Initiative tries to do is identify properties and cases that are several years away from tax foreclosure, or are owned by a dead person, an LLC or a shell company
- There are three private tools that can be used, which are available to the neighborhood organizations and to the individual residents:
- 1) A Private Nuisance Action: These are actions on behalf of neighboring property owners. They can ask for
- Injunctive relief – which is an order compelling that property owner to bring that property into compliance. Neighborhood Associations can also bring private nuisance actions, but only for injunctive relief. They can only ask a court to order that property owners to bring the property to minimum code compliance.
- Money damages – to the reduction in value to their property
- 2) Receivership – If a property owner is not keeping their property compliant with the code and the location of the property is owner is unknown, you can make the argument to court that the property is a nuisance and you ask the court to divest that owner of control of that property and give it to a third party to rehabilitate that property under court supervision. The receiver can collect rent, can manage the property, insure the property, pay the taxes… essentially act like they own. For the owner to get control of its property would need to compensate that receiver for their investment in that property. If they don’t do that within two years, the receiver is granted title to the court. The problem with receivership action is that two years is a very long time for anybody to manage and operate a property that you don’t have title to, but only legal control. So there’s an expedited action. When a property is vacant, tax delinquent, and in violation of code, that property can be declared abandoned. A Neighborhood Association can petition the court and if the property meets those qualifications, can ask the court to take away control of that property, give it to the neighborhood organization, to bring into code compliance. The owner has an opportunity to reimburse the neighborhood association for those improvements, but if they don’t by the time the property is brought up to code, the title is vested and the court orders a transfer of title from the property owner to the neighborhood association who acts as the receiver in those cases.
- 3) Tool Three: Help prevent vacancy. So a lot of properties in the City that become vacant are the result of debt, poverty and people dying without a plan for their property. They help provide:
- Free beneficiary deed services to help prevent vacancy. Beneficiary deed is essentially a transfer on death deed in which you can designate you your kid, church, or whoever you want… that property remains your name as long as you own it until death, when the title is transferred. It avoids a family having to hire a lawyer and go through a probate process. This is service is for seniors over the age of 65+ and priority clients for those up to the federal poverty line, which is about $37,000 a year for an individual.
- On minimal code compliance: If a property is boarded, if there aren’t any falling bricks or broken windows or those types of building code violations on that property, the law does not allow you to go any further. There is an argument that can be made that people are still suffering harm and that there’s a reduction of people’s property values caused by just the vacancy itself, but we don’t have case law yet in Missouri that helps us establish that.
- Some clarification was discussed: The Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative is not the city; they do not work for the City. They do not have cases on properties that are occupied. Their tools are not used on those types of clients. These are tools that you can use in the same way you see the City essentially trying to drive you or others out, you can hold them accountable in the same way. We need to go where the problem is the worst in the city; where the vacancy is highest and those vacant properties can be acquired and turned into affordable housing in a permanent way.
- Their restrictions on serving groups is tied to census data on who we can serve in the population of that area. But they can also serve low income individuals in potential nuisance cases.
- On if there is there anything citizens or a neighborhood can do to assist with policy or to help Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative to assist more people: There’s the Vacancy Collaborative comprised of neighborhood residents and leaders in which you can reach out to those on the chairs and engage with them. (stlvacacny.com)
- SLVC contracts with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri $50,000 a year which pays maybe 1/3 of their projects. They have no say in who they represent, what cases they handle, where they work. They set their own guidelines and client guidelines. Cases are not based on what they pick or what the City picks, but what on the client pick: the two dozen neighborhood associations they serve in the parts of town that have the highest vacancy. You can go search on casenet you can see in what neighbors they file suit and who they file suit against.
7:15 – 7:25 pm FPSE Parking Districts Discussion (Zen)
- No written policy to connect Treasurer’s Department, PCD, Treasurer’s Department and City Police.
- For example, PCD is in charge of managing parking tags and currently implement a mirror tag system, but is expected to go away. The Treasurer’s Department in charge of ticket enforcement. One of the biggest categories of complaints is that the Treasurer’s Department isn’t policing late at night, which in (informally) left the City Police Department. The Treasurer’s Department is also working on a new, more automated system for ticketing. There are concerns that the new system, which is only ‘on the table’ at the moment, may have a number of unnecessary and cumbersome requirements that can be oppressive to different classes of residents and burdensome for visitor of those residents. He notes that requirements to receive a tag include providing your car’s license plate number, proof of residency, car insurance, and a photo ID… which is overkill for a meter maid who only cares about license plate. He says these requirements are all Park Central and what they decided to do. He has relayed this information to the Treasurer’s Department in an effort to make the proposed new system less oppressive and cumbersome.
- It was noted by Zen that he met with Park Central to resolve ongoing parking issues along Chouteau. He noted that their resolution was for anybody with an issue to go solve their problem with the City or the Treasurer’s Department.
- It was noted by Joe Roddy that he texted Abdul and that Abdul was under the impression that this topic would come up in October. Zen noted that he was told that Lynda would be present in this meeting.
- Zen said he has talked with Abdul to get a new system established.
- Concerns that adding district pushes non-residential parking further into the neighborhood and causes more parking districts
- Joe Roddy note that fixing residential park, non-residential, and parking districts issues are going to go a big issue going forward with the growth Cortex and until we have autonomous vehicles
- Ron Coleman noted that parking districts are resident-driven
- Joe Roddy noted that parking districts came together due to the complaints from residents over the last 10-15 years, and this is what was negotiated with the Treasurer’s Department a few years ago. The requirements of all of this is having some entity administrates this stuff since it’s done on a volunteer basis
- It was noted by a general member that this issue is also about educating your neighbors.
- The Neighborhood Association noted that moving forward we ask neighbors to continue to provide updates and gather feedback on parking districts
- Zen’s idea is to have to what the Treasurer’s Department may propose is a digital system that allows a resident go through a portal to register their license plate
7:25 – 7:30 pm Treasurer’s Report (Adelina Mart)
- The Association is looking to reduce paper. Future meetings may be oral report updates that coincide with the publicly available treasurer’s report on the FPSE website: https://www.forestparksoutheast.com/about/treasurers-report/
- A short recap on the National Night Out event in August: There were many donations that come from neighborhood businesses and organizations. The donation money that come in as revenue left as expenses.
- If you need to pay dues, you can do that by check, cash or Venmo (Venmo:https://venmo.com/FPSE-NA )
7:30 – 7:35 pm Establish Election Committee (FPSE NA)
- Official call for nominations is in October. Be sure to be present at October’s meeting if you’d like to volunteer on the board. You need to be a paying dues member to be on the board.
- Michael, Phil and Sarah were elected to Election Committee
- Board Member positions up for election in October include President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer
7:35 – 7:44 pm FPSE Development and Infrastructure Committee Liaisons
No Development Committee Liaison
- 1234 Kingshighway will be satellite parking and WashU offices
- A general member had concerns that many neighborhood residents are not aware of developments, especially south of Kingsighway
- It was noted that the Forest Park Southeast Development committee meets every 4th Tuesday of the month to discuss proposal put forth by developers
- There were frustrations about the timing of the Forest Park Southeast Development Committee’s agenda. Agendas are not set and distributed until after the Neighborhood Association Meetings, which does makes communicating updates to residents difficult, and abbreviated time for Development members to properly review presentation materials.
- Board will continue to reach out to the Infrastructure and Development Committee representatives and ask for their attendance at meetings and to present updates
- The Neighborhood Association will continue to push and continue to make you aware of what we’re doing to get updates from Committees in timely manners
Vince (Infrastructure Committee Liaison)
- Workout equipment has been installed in Chouteau Park. The playground and basketball court were also recently approved.
- It was noted by general members that lights along Chouteau Park at the Taylor bridge have been out. Joe Roddy clarified that that Ameren UE is replacing the substation there.
- At Newstead and Swan, progress is being made with the parking lot.
7:45 – 7:55 pm Neighborhood Update (Ron Coleman, Alderman Roddy)
- Thanks to the Infrastructure Committee for planning and moving along the playground at Chouteau park. It should be installed this fall season.
- One Full-sized basketball court and two short hoops – should be installed in Spring. Will be installed behind the dog park. Looking to fix water drainage issues that are affecting that part of the park. There will be no fencing for the court.
- New street paving along 4400 Chouteau should be done by the end of October
- Parking Districts – signs will be going up in the next couple of weeks along the 4400 block of Gibson and wrapping around the east side of Taylor
- Bike lanes were painted on Tower Grove
- Lighting is a priority right now to get burnt out lights fixed. Report outs along streets to 311 and alley outs to Ameran
- Many jobs available in the City. You can look on the City website for openings: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/personnel/jobs/
- AirBnBs need to have an occupancy inspected every year and need to be up to code
- Added left turn lane to southbound Tower Grove Ave. This was because the City moved some of their operations to Industrial Drive
- General Member is requesting a sign for left turn only
Alderman Joe Roddy
- Parking is going to continue being a problem
- New 600,000sqft building at proposed at Duncan and Newstead
- At Sarah and Duncan will be a 300,000sqft at Cortex
- Anticipate 10,000 more people in Cortex and looking for alternatives to parking garages
- Development Committee and Infrastructure Committees are advisory committees to Joe Roddy. Ron Coleman is record keeper. Wants to work out kinks in the Development Committee process.
- South of Manchester developments with affordable housing elements are expected to come before the Development Committee soon
- The best way to remove vacancy is to build demand
- Handed out a sheet listing per ward building permits handed out. 38% of all city permits are within the 17th Ward.
- Worked on Incentive Reform based on revenue per square foot to encourage density.
- Economic Development Plan for city started about a year ago. October 17th there will be ward-wide meeting with consultants who have been developing the plan. They will be making a presentation to the neighborhood.
- The HUDs Committee is sending out an RFP to look for people to compare affordable housing situations in St. Louis compared to other cities. This is an effort to identify how to improve the well-being of residents.
7:55 – 8:00 pm Community Open Forum
Brian Phillips (WUMCRC)
- WashU shuttles are not allowed to make unscheduled stops. You can contact the 362-help to report if the shuttle is making undesignated stops.
- Recently renewed their partnership the Neighborhood Security Initiative. Organization is dedicated to reducing crime and provide three different services,
- Off duty mobile patrol services (those you see riding in carts and bikes)
- Court advocacy program
- Neighborhood camera security program, which is only available only in the Grove CID
- You can check the FPSE Security website for crime reports
- Annual Holiday Outreach program which helps families in need. Applicants will be available in their office and online
- On the availability of home repair assistance: There is one program in which they partner with in one of the other focus neighborhoods, Park Place.
- The RFQ for proposal along Kingshighway and 64 was terminated in the summer after looking at various proposals. No plans for the land right now and are looking internally for options to use it. If they do decided to sell and developer the developer will have to go through a detailed neighborhood community process.
- One of their goals was to fund a neighborhood assistance program (which is not part of the Neighborhood Association). He says he has verbally requested from Park Central to see funds that they are collecting. He is looking for a code violation moratorium. He is working on getting in contact with Abdul at Park Central. He would like to be part of the process to identify neighbors in need of home repair
- Vince Chewing noted that the Board has reached out to Abdul and Abdul has agreed to with the Board or come to a future Association meeting to give background of the program that Park Central has.
You can download this month’s meeting minutes below.