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Crestwood to debate parking

Executive Editor

An ordinance restricting the parking of recreational vehicles in some fashion tentatively is scheduled to be discussed Tuesday, Oct. 28, by the Crestwood Board of Al-dermen.

After a nearly hourlong work session last week, aldermen indicated they wished to pursue restricting the parking of recreational vehicles in the city and directed city staff to draft an ordinance.

However, what form that ordinance takes remains to be seen as aldermen did not arrive at any clear consensus on the issue.

While some aldermen questioned whether the parking of recreational vehicles in the city is even a problem, others expressed concerns that the parking of recreational vehicles could negatively impact property values.

In response to complaints she said she had received from residents, Ward 3 Alderman "Bernie'' Alexander had first raised the issue of recreational vehicle parking during the "future issues'' part of a meeting of the Board of Aldermen in February. After briefly discussing the issue Feb. 25, aldermen decided a work session would be the appropriate avenue to determine if legislation should be drafted.

During the Sept. 23 work session, Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding asked if a log was kept showing how many complaints the city received about the parking of recreational vehicles.

City Administrator Don Greer replied that no log was kept, but on "rare occasion,'' a complaint would be made to the city about a parked recreational vehicle.

Breeding later asked Alexander about the complaints she has received.

"... Are they complaints about RVs that are in the yard, in the street, in the back yard?'' he asked.

Alexander replied that the complaints she has received were about recreational vehicles parked in driveways.

During her tenure as an alderman, Alexander said she has received a dozen complaints from residents, and about four or five those complaints were related to recreational vehicle parking.

Breeding said, "Personally, if I have to put my two cents in, the only thing I'm concerned about might be long-term parking on the street itself for safety reasons.''

Alexander later noted that the indentures of some of the city's subdivisions prohibit recreational vehicle parking.

Furthermore, she said that of such nearby cities as Sunset Hills, Webster Groves, Shrewsbury, Kirkwood, Warson Woods and Des Peres, only Crestwood allows unrestricted recreational vehicle parking on city streets and on private property.

Alexander also noted that the last time city officials discussed restricting the parking of recreational vehicles, the ordinance that was proposed also included trucks — something she believes does not need to be addressed.

"That ordinance was very restrictive ...'' she said of the measure that was proposed some years ago.

At one point during the discussion, Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood proposed the idea of "grandfathering'' residents who currently own recreational vehicles for the life of the vehicle.

"Until the time they move out, they're not subject to any law we pass, but new folks moving into the city would be obliged to obey the new law,'' he said. "That way you don't disrupt those who have already bought these (vehicles) and you limit the increase if that's a concern ...''

Mayor Jim Robertson said, "Well, there's no question that ordinance would change the rules ...''

Aldermen viewed Trueblood's grandfathering suggestion favorably, but after further discussion, contemplated grandfathering the property owner in case he or she wanted to purchase a new recreational vehicle.

Breeding said, "If we're going to do it, give it to the homeowner ... If they want to buy a new one, let them buy a new one.''

As suggested, once the homeowner moves, that address no longer would be exempt for any recreational vehicle ordinance the city would pass.

Trueblood later noted the downside of his original proposal would be not having a mechanism to replace an aging and deteriorating recreational vehicle that could become a neighborhood eyesore.

Ward 2 Alderman Gary Vincent later advocated moving forward with some type of measure.

"I think it's something that we should move forward on in some fashion. I would not like to see it dropped here,'' he said. "I'm not saying that I would vote in favor of it. I don't even know what I would be voting on right now. But I think just ... what appears to be a consensus of other communities, of many other communities in St. Louis County, particularly in this area, indicates that it is something we should consider seriously (as) part of what we want to make our city be in the future.''

At the end of the work session, Greer said, "... What I got from the board tonight was their desire to see the staff draft some type of an ordinance — and I can't tell you what that's going to look like; I'm going to try to take some reaction from the minutes and the notes that I had in that discussion — and draft some form of an ordinance that would restrict parking of RV vehicles.''

That ordinance, he said, would be discussed Tuesday, Oct. 28, by aldermen. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall, 1 Detjen Drive.

"... I can't tell you whether something will pass or be approved, but it will be debated that night,'' Greer said.

In other action Sept. 23, the Board of Aldermen met in closed session to discuss legal and personnel matters and took two votes related to the city administrator.

Board members voted 6-2 to approve a motion granting an $830 monthly automobile stipend for Greer as long as he is employed by the city. The agreement is subject to modification, amendment or termination at any time by the board.

As a result of the motion, the city no longer will provide an automobile to the city administrator for his use and Greer will be responsible for gas, insurance and maintenance of his vehicle.

The motion made by Maddox was seconded by Ward 1 Alderman Richard LaBore. Besides Maddox and LaBore, Trueblood, Vincent, Ward 4 Alderman Tom Fagan and Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe voted in favor of the motion. Opposed were Alexander and Breeding.

The board also voted 5-3 to "convey'' to Greer the title to the automobile the city currently provides him to be used as a trade-in toward the purchase of his personal vehicle. In exchange, Greer will forfeit 159 hours of accrued vacation valued at $7,245.

The motion made by Vincent was seconded by Fagan. Be-sides Vincent and Fagan, Duwe, Maddox and Trueblood voted in favor of the motion. Opposed were Alexander, Breeding and LaBore.

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