Creve Coeur voters head to the polls Tuesday to end what has been more than a year of campaigning in the race to be the city's next Mayor.
This past Thursday, Barry Glantz and Laura Bryant took part in their last joint appearance as opponents in this election cycle, at a candidate forum co-sponsored by Creve Coeur Patch and the .
As promised, we're sharing more about what the pair had to say about the Mayor's role, zoning concerns in the city and where they see the city at the end of their potential first term.
How Do You Define The Mayor's Role As An Ambassador?
The Mayor does run the city council meetings. The city council does the heavy lifting in the city. The mayor is an ambassador and needs to be able to reach out to all stakeholders in the community, the business community and th residents to make sure that we’re making our city, we’re constantly seeking to improve the quality of life, maintaining the basic city services that the city provides, trash pickup, recycling and environment and very importantly the police services. The mayor needs to reach out to all community stakeholders and make sure everybody’s engaged in promoting the city to improve the quality of life for all of us.
Most people don’t realize that the city charter specifically limits the role of the mayor, and that’s for a very good reason. There’s sort of a separation between church and state. The Mayor cannot order or direct any employees, whether they’re police or roadwork or even indirectly, the trash. As a result, the role is certainly symbolic and doing the right thing, advocating on behalf of residents as well as businesses and making sure that you have lines of communication that are not only open but transparent…I think that one of the big issues for the mayors role is to advocate openly as opposed to having meetings behind closed doors. I think that would go a long way to redefine the role of mayor in a positive way for the long term.
Questions About Conflicts Of Interest
I have one very clear conflict of interest, and that is my employer (Enterprise Holdings). If my employer would bring before any sort of application concerning some sort of land development project or zoning request like that, even though the mayor would not vote, you would need to recuse yourself and go sit in the audience so that there is absolutely no confusion about where your conflicts lie. Part of the process is not only announcing that you have a conflict but also explaining why. Short of that, I think that I’m able to do a very comprehensive and compelling job of advocating for our city with all stakeholders.
As president of my own , I deal with developers and homebuilders all day long. I’m fortunate that as the owner of my company that I have a great deal of flexibility in my time and I feel very fortunate to have that so that I can devote the time and attention necessary to being the mayor of Creve Coeur . That said, I know there is some concern about the relationship with developers and builders. While serving on the city council and serving on the planning and zoning commission, I have always stated publicly whether I had a conflict of interest with anybody proposing a project in Creve Coeur. I would intend to always maintain and publicly disclose that as well. If I would have a client that would come before the city, I would absolutely recuse myself, and I did that when I was on city council and planning and zoning commission. As mayor that policy wouldn’t change.
Does that extend to business relationships as well?
I would always disclose that publicly, making sure to over, to even over-communicate that so there is no even appearance of conflict of interest.
That’s obviously correct, but the fundamental difference here is that my conflict is tied directly to a car rental facility and indirectly to any sort of dealerships we have relationships with. However, my conflicts don’t lie with the people who come before the city and ask for rezoning requests or development proposals and I think that’s a critical difference and I think that sort of advocacy is the heart and soul of local government.
What's The Overriding Factor In Balancing Business Growth With Residential Neighborhood Concerns?
I think our business corridors, the commercially zoned district on Olive Blvd, commercially zoned district on Lindbergh are critically important to the quality of life that we enjoy in Creve Coeur and help provide a solid tax base, a solid foundation for the quality of life we enjoy residentially. Our residential neighborhoods are of paramount importance to the city of Creve Coeur. I would like to promote a commercial base that compliments our residential neighborhoods, provides services that our residents need so that we don’t have to travel outside the city. The perfect example, and we have a lot of a fair number of vacancies on Olive Blvd. Is we would love to have a hardware store. So services, boutique services that compliment our residential neighborhoods are of paramount importance to me and making sure that our storefronts on Olive Boulevard, Lindbergh don’t remain empty for very long.
To me the overriding factor is the comprehensive land use plan That is the document that was put together over a period of years, the city spent 100K to make sure it provided the balance and transparent account of what the city’s long term wishes are. I think that if you make some sort of decision either as a planning and zoning commissioner or as a city council member and you defy the land use plan then you ought to have a really really good reason why to do it and you need to explain what that reason is. And short of that, I think we need to follow the state statutes we need to follow the ordinances and we need to follow the land use plan and make it very clear to our constituents.
What do you think about the CC Master Plan As It Applies To Land On Ladue Road?
I’ve been astounded at how passionate people feel about that and I feel equally compelled to say and I’ve stated to the residents, I’ll continue to state publicly that I believe that should remain residentially zoned ground. It is zoned for one acre and I believe that the density should remain at 1 acre, I believe it should remain residential and while I would like to give someone the flexibility on how they develop that. I don’t want to limit somebody in what they can do as far as I’m concerned, when I’m Mayor it will remain residential and it will remain at the same density that it is currently zoned at now
The 28 acre parcel on Ladue Road that you referred to is directly tied to a parcel on Oive. I think that everyone in our community would agree that has been a very well respected longtime part of our community and a great asset. The process though of how these projects got proposed is very problematic and not in accordance with the land use plan. I think it is directly attributed to the fact that too many elected officials got involved in the process instead of the city staff. As Mayor I would continue to advocate the land use plan guides all such decision-making regardless and I think that that fundamental point helps you get to the right place every time and particularly when it comes to zoning and the density. It’s very, very clear.
Where Do You See Creve Coeur At The End Of Your Potential First Term?
I’m not at all concerned in thinking about re-election or what happens 3 or 6 years from now but I will do everything within my power to maintain and improve the quality of life. One of my top priorities as my opponent mentioned is that the comprehensive plan is a guiding document for our city... its been years since that was updated and I think its high time the city took that task on again, make sure we update our comprehensive plan and make sure that we offer the best quality and level of services to our citizens
I promise I will work very hard so that 3 years from now this is a more inclusive city so that more people and more personalities and more points of view are part of the process and that is the best way to level the playing field and make sure that everybody’s opinions are taken into account, people are treated fairly and openly.
Shameless Plug #1: Patch asked the candidates if they would blog on Patch no matter what happens on Tuesday. Glantz described himself as "technologically challenged" but was open to the idea. Bryant gave us a "big fat maybe." Patch will work with anyone who wants to blog.
Shameless Plug #2: , with candidate information, polling places, and more. And be sure to vote.