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Meeting Highlights: Council Discusses Chicken Permits, Tower Signage

The meeting happened at Richmond Heights City Hall.

The Richmond Heights City Council met Monday starting at 7:30 p.m. at to discuss chicken permits, signage at University Club Tower and other issues.

The following is a look at highlights from the discussion. ran earlier.

8:31 P.M.: Beck said he has no more citizen comment cards. The council is now considering a resolution appointing Sandra Schwarztrauber to the library's Board of Trustees.

The council is moving into closed session.

8:29 P.M.: Jan Niehaus, who is on the board of directors of the , is addressing the council. She said raising chickens is one way of respecting resources. She said that on average, it takes 1,500 miles to get food from the field to the table. She characterized some of the activity depicted at  factory farms as "repugnant." She said there are data indicating that communities that invest more and pay more attention to sustainable lifestyles are more successful at attracting residents and businesses, "especially the younger generation."

8:23 P.M.: is addressing the council. She said she is speaking as someone who witnessed the same discussion happen in her home city.

"The positive tenor has colored all my chicken-keeping experience," said Martin, describing the attitude of her aldermen toward the discussion in Clayton.

8:21 P.M.: Another person is telling the council he's opposed to putting the issue to a vote. "Both sides ... desire safe and clean neighborhoods," he said.

8:19 P.M.: Another speaker invited council members to attend a showing of the movie Mad City Chickens at on Aug. 22. Mitten said it's her understanding the also is ordering a copy of the film.

8:16 P.M.: In part, Skolnick's letter states that she is concerned resistance to considering what has worked well in cities such as Clayton and Ladue stems from "distrust" that people in Richmond Heights can follow the example of the people who live in those neighboring cities.

8:14 P.M.: Henry Skolnick is now addressing the council. He is reading a statement on behalf of his wife, Rochelle, who is not available to be at the meeting.

8:13 P.M.: Lieb is asking whether the council would be interested in arranging for tours of homes that have backyard chickens. District 1 Councilman Matt Casey and District 4 Councilwoman Camille Greenwald are among those who responded they would be interested in going on such a tour.

8:10 P.M.: Public comment on the issue of backyard chickens has begun. is the first person to address the council.

8:07 P.M.: The council has agreed to act so that the city can receive a $10,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to go toward rubber safety surface work at .

The council also has approved a liquor license for . The restaurant had to reapply for the license because of a change of ownership.

8:02 P.M.: Reary is presenting a request by a leasing company for a one-year extension on a for-lease sign at University Club Tower. He said the company stated in a letter that its occupancy rate is about 20 percent below the norm for the area and that the sign has been yielding several calls each week.

The council has agreed to extend the sign variance to Cassidy Turley for another year.

8:01 P.M.: District 3 Councilman Ed Notter said he empathizes with MSD, commenting that the utility has had to cut staff and its budget.

7:57 P.M.: District 2 Councilman Mike Jones asked whether MSD and other agencies realize the difficulties senior residents will face because of such rate hikes. It could leave them trying to decide whether to "take their medicine or flush their toilet," he said.

LeComb responded that MSD has a fixed-income program available to both owners and renters.

7:55 P.M.: Side note: David Reary, the city's building and zoning commissioner, is leading the meeting on behalf of City Manager Amy Hamilton, who is out on maternity leave.

7:52 P.M.: Lance LeComb of the . He also weighed in on the chicken discussion, the majority of which he sat through at the last meeting. He had been scheduled to speak at that time. "Everybody who came up had a thoughtful opinion," LeComb said. He later added: "It was just a great example of how government should operate, and I think it speaks to the city of Richmond Heights, the citizens and the council."

He said MSD needs to get on a regular cycle of maintenance for its sewer system. The St. Louis sewer system is the fourth largest in the nation and is comparable to that found in Los Angeles, he said.

7:46 P.M.: District 2 Councilman Jim Thomson commended city staff who moved the city's National Night Out event from Tuesday to September. District 3 Councilwoman Gina Mitten echoed him, saying the city likely would have received cancellations because of the hot temperatures that are expected.

7:44 P.M.: Beck said the city will be proactive in trying to enforce proper speeds on Dale.

7:41 P.M.: A former Richmond Heights councilwoman has expressed concerns about the speed at which people travel down Dale Avenue—"Dale is like the 500 freeway"—and an alley near Telle Tire. She said the auto company maintains its section of the alley well but that the remaining portion, whose maintenance responsibilities are unclear, is overgrown with weeds and trees and contains trash. Beck said the city will look into the alley issue. A councilman said he suggested putting a stop sign at Claytonia Terrace and Dale in the past.

7:37 P.M.: The city has just recognized a 4-year-old boy for calling emergency officials in Richmond Heights when his grandfather became pinned against a wall while moving a piece of furniture. presented him with a fire hat and other goodies. He also said in Kirkwood has given his family a pass for free visits.

7:32 P.M.: Mayor James Beck said the city will compile citizens' comments and emails about "Everything will be put into this spreadsheet and then sent out to the council" to facilitate ordered discussion

7:31 P.M.: Not quite as packed as the previous council meeting, but only about a dozen empty seats. The meeting is coming to order.

7:19 P.M.: The council chambers is filling up, and more public comment is expected regarding chickens.

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