News Briefs – Oct. 10
AARP Driver Safety offered
The Ballwin Police Department is hosting the AARP’s Driver Safety seminar on Nov. 1 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. The event takes place at the Ballwin Golf Club located at 333 Holloway Road.
This safety course is geared toward drivers age 50 and older and focuses on a review of driving skills, defensive driving techniques, and learning to accommodate age-related physical changes. Attendance may qualify participants for lower insurance rates; however, participants should check with their insurance carriers before registering.
The cost to participate is $12 for AARP members, $14 for non-members and free to military veterans and their dependents.
Payment in the form of cash or check can be made at the seminar. To register, contact Michael Callahan at 394-5191.
Municipal court renovation
The city of Ballwin is taking steps to update meeting facilities used by the Board of Aldermen, but will delay a larger and more costly renovation of the community’s government center building.
In a motion approved Sept. 24, the Board authorized a contract with JEMA, a St. Louis design firm, for preparing detailed architectural plans for updating the Board’s meeting facilities in the Donald “Red” Loehr Police and Court Center on Park Drive.
At a meeting early last month, JEMA representatives said the meeting space renovation will cost about $328,000, or slightly less depending on the type of audiovisual equipment installed. The estimate includes furniture purchases.
JEMA has pegged the cost of renovating the government center building on Manchester Road at $1.19 million.
Robert Kuntz, city administrator, recommended a two-phase approach calling for the smaller project to be included in the 2013 budget. Delaying the government center project until 2014 will mean the city will be debt free and city officials should have a clearer view of future economic trends, he said.
The Board’s facilities also are used for Ballwin’s municipal court sessions and a variety of community meetings.
Gateway bike plan
Ballwin has joined other area communities endorsing the Gateway Bike Plan developed by the Great Rivers Greenway District.
The Ballwin Board of Aldermen approved a resolution at its Sept. 24 meeting adopting the Bike Plan and committing the city to implement its elements and facilities “as resources and regional/local neighborhood support become available.”
The plan envisions a community-wide network of trails, walking paths, sidewalks and on-street bicycle facilities, providing a bicycle friendly environment that will improve community health, reduce auto emissions and increase the quality of life for residents.
Property tax rate set
The Creve Coeur City Council established the 2012-2013 property tax at its Sept. 24 meeting, agreeing on a rate of $.070 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for residential property and $.075 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for commercial property. The final figures represent a decrease from the rates originally recommended by city staff of $.084 and $.079, respectively.
Ellisville denies citizen appeal
At its Oct. 3 meeting, the Ellisville City Council denied consideration of a citizen appeal of the Walmart conditional use permit. Councilmember Troy Pieper (District 2) made a motion to deny the citizen appeal prior to public comment based on the recommendation of City Manager Kevin Bookout. Councilmember Matt Pirrello (District 1) seconded the action; however, Mayor Adam Paul intervened, breaking protocol and saying “Nay” even before a call of the roll. Paul stated that he found the city manager’s answers to the citizen’s concerns to be “inadequate.”
Given Paul’s strong reaction, Pirrello made a motion to “postpone the call of the roll until after the first public comment.”
During public comments, Ellisville citizen Tom DeBold, who lives adjacent to the proposed Walmart site, expressed continued concern regarding the project.
He noted that the city’s response to the citizen appeal had reached him that same day (Oct. 3) and that he had not had adequate time to fully review its contents.
“When I filed this appeal I didn’t know that I would be required to add to it under these circumstances,” DeBold said. “So, I’m a little at a disadvantage.”
However, he said, “I do want to read a couple of things that caught my eye.”
He noted that the city’s remarks indicated that the proposed use of the property as a location for Walmart was in keeping with its C-3 commercial zoning.
“Yes, it is zoned C-3 commercial,” DeBold said. “There are apartment buildings on that property. I assumed that they would stay there or be replaced with new apartments. I did not anticipate a Walmart.”
He took exception at language in the city’s response that placed his home in a different neighborhood from the proposed Walmart due to zoning.
“I’m on this side (of a chain-link fence). They’re on that side. But we’re not all in the same neighborhood? I thought a neighborhood was an area, not defined by a fence,” DeBold said. “If the general consensus is that it does not have bearing on my side of the fence, I have to disagree with that because the Walmart lawyer stood here and said that the conditional use permit was a deal breaker.”
The appeal was denied on a vote of 5:1 with Mayor Paul opposed and Councilmember Michelle Murray (District 3) absent.
Alderman Mike Clement (Ward 2) has been appointed to the Legislative Affairs Committee for the St. Louis County Municipal League. Mayor David Willson at the Oct. 1 Board of Aldermen meeting congratulated Clement on his appointment.
TOWN & COUNTRY
Burglary suspect arrested
Jeffrey Schwartz, 24, of the 1200 block of Stillhouse Creek in Chesterfield, was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property in connection with a burglary that occurred in the 100 block of Bon Chateau near Ladue and Babler roads on June 27. He is being held at the county jail on a $30,000 cash only bond.
Over $14,000 in jewelry, an iPad, a Dell laptop, a MacBook Pro laptop and an iPhone were taken during the break-in. Entry was made via a rear sliding door that was pried open.
On Aug. 10, Schwartz pawned two laptops and an iPad at Southside Jewelry and Loan. The serial numbers on the pawned MacBook Pro laptop and iPad matched the ones stolen from the residence.
This was not the first time Schwartz was wanted in conjunction with robbery. In September of 2011, he was the primary suspect in the burglary of a home in the 1200 block of Timmor Court in Town & Country. He was arrested by Town & Country Police in January of 2012.
The case was reviewed by the St. Louis County Grand Jury where a “true bill” was issued for receiving stolen property after it was found that Schwartz sold over $13,300 of the victim’s jewelry at Missouri Gold Buyers.
If anyone has additional information concerning the June 27 burglary specifically or Schwartz in general, they can contact Det. Lt. Kranz at (314) 587-2860, or by email at email@example.com.
Tips may also be made through the anonymous tip line of the St. Louis Regional CrimeStoppers at (314) 725-8477 or (866) 371-8477.