May 2019 ENA General Meeting Notes
Ellendale Neighborhood Association
Meeting Notes – May 13, 2019
Meeting started at 7pm
Approval of March 2019 Meeting Notes.
Motion to accept made by Mary Scanlon, seconded by Robert Morrissey. Approved by voice vote.
Alderman Bret Narayan (24th Ward)
Ald. Narayan re-introduced himself to those in attendance, though he had attended previous January 2019 and March 2019 ENA meetings, as there were many new persons attending this evening. Residents can contact Ald. Narayan through his official City of St. Louis e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
City Hall legislative updates
New aldermanic meeting procedures have no longer allow lobbyists on the floor of the Board of Alderman while in session. This is generally viewed as a positive & progressive step towards fair & impartial legislation.
Ward Capital Improvements are planned for Clifton Park (including retaining wall, lighting, benches and playground).
All streetlight replacement bulbs will now be replaced with LED bulbs.
Clarification question from Matt Sisul regarding whether varying brightness bulbs will be available for smaller neighborhood streets that need less brightness.
Answer: Yes, and you can always call Citizen Service Bureau if you need a different brightness of bulb.
Matt Sisul: 24th ward is comprised of six neighborhoods: Ellendale, Clifton Heights, Clayton-Tamm, Franz Park, Cheltenham, Hi Pointe. Last summer Steve Bassinger (President of Cheltenham Neighborhood Association) organized quarterly meetings of the officers of all six neighborhood associations. The representatives met with Ald. Narayan shortly after his election to update him on area needs and work the group has done in previous months. Matt Sisul provided an outline of service needs for the Ellendale neighborhood, including:
Angled parking for Canterbury Avenue, north side of street
Crosswalk improvements, with stop sign, for Canterbury Avenue
Speed bumps requested for 6800-6900 Magnolia Avenue
Problem Properties List
Matt Sisul offered Ald. Narayan a “drive-around” of the neighborhood for additional context of these items & issues.
Question: What is Scott Ogilvie doing now that he is no longer 24th Ward alderman?
: Answer: Scott now works for the City of St. Louis reviewing applications for 50/50 sidewalk program and creation of new bikepaths.
Wilkinson School Discussion
Some residents of the 7200-block of Arsenal Street expressed some of their concerns about the planned redevelopment of Wilkinson School by Advantes Group. These concerns include:
Belief that residents were not properly informed about the development plan before it was approved by the City
This was countered by several members in attendance who have participated in other ENA meetings where this topic was frequently discussed. Several parties have presented development plans at ENA meetings, all of which have been for conversion of building residential apartments. Advantes Group twice presented recently at previous ENA meetings. And members of the ENA housing committee personally flyered the street with information about Wilkinson School development plans, including meeting announcements and website & contact information where the plans could be viewed online. Also, the City twice posted notices about public hearings for the redevelopment plans. And two of these Arsenal St residents even attended one of these hearings to testify.
Concern that the creation of new apartments in area will create additional traffic on their street
Request that the mailing address of the building be changed to a Canterbury address
Concern that the installation of additional rooftop heating & cooling units will create too much ambient noise
Request that the City deny tax abatement unless the number of apartments be reduced to not more than 15 units
Matt Sisul explained that reducing the number of apartments would actually make the project less financially feasible, meaning that if that were to happen then the developer would likely need more tax abatement & additional public financial assistance
Concern that new apartments will bring too many young people to the neighborhood
Desire to install a privacy gate to block the 7200-block of Arsenal from the rest of the neighborhood
Overall belief that this project will lower their property values
Matt responded with a brief history of Wilkinson School status since its closing. Summary included:
Because of site’s close proximity to neighboring single-family residences, building’s redevelopment for residential use has always been the most likely outcome for the former school.
Matt shared frustration over the poor communication between ENA & SLPS regarding the sale of the building and whenever the SLPS board accepted an offer to purchase. It is clear to Matt that SLPS was mostly interested in selling the building to whomever was willing to pay the highest price for the building.
The building has been under contract previously to at least two different developers:
one proposal for senior housing, developer withdrew
one proposal for low-income housing for teachers, developer unable to secure financing
SLPS also rejected one offer for redevelopment for use as commercial space; this offer had been supported by ENA housing committee…no presentation to neighborhood was made because SLPS chose not to accept their offer
The building & parking lot (previously two separate parcels, now consolidated into one) sold to Advantes Group in December.
This proposal has the support of the ENA housing committee. Matt reminded that this is an open committee. Anyone interested in serving on this committee is invited to reach out to either him or to Linda Boyd-Shell (committee chairman) for more information.
Matt also expressed frustration over learning some of the misinformation that was being spread to many of these residents. He encouraged anyone with questions to contact him directly. He also stated that he emailed Advantes Group renderings directly to these Arsenal St residents attending this evening for their review.
Residents of 7200-Arsenal asked Matt to help coordinate a meeting with Advantes Group so that their concerns may be addressed with developer directly and so that additional restrictions could be placed on the development. Matt agreed to help and to participate, but only if their additional items were reasonable requests. He will followup with these residents directly by email to schedule.
Alan Arky asked Ald. Narayan for a traffic study to measure vehicle frequency on 7200-block of Arsenal St be made before & after development of Wilkinson School so that proper comparisons can be made with actual data sets.
KaJauna Thomas (NSO, 24th Ward)
Officer Don Veile (2nd District)
Explained how persistent problems often are related to undesirable activity going on nearby.
Encouraged to call 911 when you see suspicious activity.
Matt Sisul has requested extra patrols, especially for Hermitage Avenue and around Ellendale Slay Park
Question: Do personal surveillance devices help out the police?
Answer: Yes they do. If a crime happens in our area, citizens can provide photos or video to assist the police with their investigations.
Special Guest – Jack Seigel, Better Together STL
Did not attend meeting.
Treasurer’s Report: Matt Sisul, for Joe Nea (excused absence)
Starting balance (03/11/2019): $439.46
$200 private donation received to contribute towards neighborhood’s Easter Egg Hunt
$200 spent on Easter Egg Hunt supplies
$116 in dues received and donations for meeting announcement signs
Current balance (05/13/2019): $555.46
New meeting announcement signs recently purchased? (Matt Sisul)
Housing Committee Update: Matt Sisul, for Linda Boyd-Shell (excused absence)
No additional items to report. See above regarding Wilkinson School redevelopment plans.
Question about dead tree on homeowners “tree lawn” (the strip of grass between sidewalk and street).
Answer: those trees are technically owned by City; homeowners should report issue to Forestry Department
Two no-parking signs are missing on Hermitage Ave. Matt Sisul will report to City Streets Dept.
Matt Sisul reminded everyone that 2019 ENA dues started in January. He had with him an updated list of all members-in-good-standing if anyone needed to reference their dues payments.
Reminder that members must be in good-standing in order to vote on ENA issues. Also reminder that officer elections will be held in September. All positions are up for election.
Volunteers are needed for ENA pollinator garden. Please contact Matt Sisul if interested.
Motion to adjourn meeting made by Charlie White, seconded by Mary Scanlon. Approved by voice vote.
Meeting adjourned at 8:13pm