Krueger faces a challenger in Ward 3 race

Cathy+Friedmann%2C+left%2C+defeated+Kurt+Krueger%2C+right%2C+in+last+Tuesday%27s+elections+to+become+Sunset+Hill%27s+Ward+3+alderman.+

Cathy Friedmann, left, defeated Kurt Krueger, right, in last Tuesday’s elections to become Sunset Hill’s Ward 3 alderman.

Incumbent Sunset Hills Ward 3 Alderman Kurt Krueger will face challenger and newcomer to public office Cathy Friedmann for his seat on the Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen in the election Tuesday, April 7.

Attorney Friedmann, 9515 Country Club Green Drive, is married to Tom Jansberg. This is her first time running for public office.

When asked why she was running for office, Friedmann said, “To retain the residential character of Sunset Hills and to give the residents a voice at City Hall.”

Architect Krueger, 57, 12421 Cinema Lane, and his wife, Peggy, have two children — Alexis, who attends Goldfarb School of Nursing, and Colin, who attends the University of Tulsa. Both children are Lindbergh High School graduates.

When asked why he was seeking another term, Krueger said, “I was asked by a supermajority of the board.”

The candidates gave the following responses to The Call’s questionnaire:

What issue do you consider the single most important issue in this race?

Friedmann said, “Maintaining the residential character of Sunset Hills as we know it. Recent policies have been more pro-developer than pro-resident.”

Krueger said, “An election that results in a board that can work together and prepare the city for a future of success.”

Other issues you perceive in your race:

Friedmann said, “Accountability to residents. Residents’ interests and opinions are too often ignored. As alderman I will be guided by residents’ interests.”

Krueger said, “Zoning — the zoning update needs to be completed so future development has a clear direction.

“Public relations — the city needs to get the facts on issues out early to avoid the impression of improprieties and unnecessary conflict with residents.

“Fiscal security — new sources of tax revenue need to be approved with an emphasis on those generated by non-residents such as tourist/room taxes.

“Economic development — promote our community, solicit assistance from professionals from within the community.”

In your opinion, have the Board of Aldermen and other city officials complied fully with the Sunshine Law? What will you do as an elected official to ensure compliance with the Sunshine Law?

Friedmann said, “I believe the board has complied with the Sunshine Law. As alderman I will conduct city business only at properly noticed meetings and hearings.”

Krueger said, “I believe the majority of the board and all the city officials have a well-calibrated moral compass. To my knowledge and under the direction of the current board, city staff has 100 percent complied with all Sunshine Law requests.”

Should the city charge for Sunshine Law requests?

Friedmann said, “Nominal charges such as those for copies are fine. Extraordinary charges which would deter residents are not.”

Krueger said, “This is covered under state law and I am not aware of any suggested or required changes.”

What is your position on the use of tax-increment financing and other tax tools?

Friedmann said, “I am opposed to TIFs and other forms of corporate welfare.”

Krueger said, “I would have to see the development plan and the proposed tax tool to form a position.”

What do you think of aldermen attending meetings by videoconferencing?

Friedmann said, “Attendance in person is preferable.”

Krueger said, “We have a policy that encourages personal attendance at meetings. I feel that the commitment we make to our constituents is personal representation.”

Do you support eminent domain?

Friedmann said, “I am opposed to the use of eminent domain for private uses. It must be strictly limited to public uses. The city should not favor one private entity’s use or interest over another’s.”

Krueger said, “Eminent domain is a strong tool. The individual merits of the redevelopment plan would have to far outweigh any negative implications of the unpopular power of eminent domain.”

Do you agree with the direction the city is moving under Mayor Pat Fribis?

Friedmann said, “The mayor is a nice person and a good ambassador for Sunset Hills. However, her lack of leadership on key issues such as the new zoning code and recent developments are taking the city in the wrong direction.”

Krueger said, “Yes.”

If elected, do you plan to physically attend Board of Aldermen meetings?

Friedmann said, “Yes.”

Krueger said, “Yes.”

Is the city of Sunset Hills business friendly? What do you propose to keep the current businesses in the city and attract new economic development?

Friedmann said, “Business owners have complained about the new sign ordinance and delays in permitting. Businesses should be consulted on the new zoning code to ensure that the city is an attractive option for investment.”

Krueger said, “Yes, I believe clear and consistent codes and zoning ordinances can give developers a strong positive message.”

Should the city be more bicycle friendly?

Friedmann said, “It would be great for the city to be more bicycle friendly but I think the city’s resources can be better used for other purposes. In knocking on doors more residents have commented on the need for improved street maintenance than on the need for expanded bicycle use.”

Krueger said, “Yes. Our participation in certain federal grant programs for street projects allow us the opportunity to develop streets with dedicated bike lanes.”

Would you consider it unethical to tape-record someone without their knowledge? Please elaborate.

Friedmann said, “Yes. I would not do it.”

Krueger said, “Yes. Entrapment is (not a) very moral or ethical behavior.”

Are you satisfied with the performance of City Attorney and City Prosecutor Robert E. Jones?

Friedmann said, “I have agreed with some of Mr. Jones’ positions but disagreed with others. I do not believe this is an issue in the election.”

Krueger said, “Yes.”

What are your thoughts on commercial encroachment of residential areas?

Friedmann said, “I am opposed to commercial encroachments of residential areas unless neighboring residents approve.”

Krueger said, “I am not aware of any, and I am in favor of any zoning code updates that support buffers between commercial and residential development.”

Should the Court Drive neighborhood bordering South Lindbergh Boulevard be residential or commercial? What about attached villas?

Friedmann said, “Court Drive is a private street. It is zoned R2 and should remain so unless its residents approve a change.”

Krueger said, “I probably shouldn’t comment on properties currently in litigation with the city.”

What should the city do to help residents impacted by flooding?

Friedmann said, “The city should avoid permitting any developments which would make the flooding worse for residents and business.”

Krueger said, “We currently provide support to property owners in protection against flood waters with our sandbagging efforts. We are also looking at a bill that would raise the minimum standards for development in our flood plains which will surpass the surrounding communities’ standards. Stormwater would be another source of flooding that may require tighter control under city codes and ordinances.”

Do you feel that town home or “cluster home” developments have a place in the city? Why/why not? 

Friedmann said, “Yes – but only in those areas and under those standards currently permitted by city ordinances and the city’s comprehensive plan which emphasizes a location in transitional areas with maximum density requirements and common ground standards. This comports with the city’s character for low-density green neighborhoods.  The new zoning code would radically change this to permit planned developments (including multifamily apartments) anywhere in the city without maximum density standards.”

Krueger said, “Our current town home, condominium, attached villa developments like Courtyards, Sunset Groves, Friendship Village and Laumeier Place are highly sought after gems within our community. Forest Ridge and Tapawingo, also examples of planned developments with homes clustered on the most buildable portions of the property, also seem to maintain high resale value.”

Should the city’s Police Department be retained or should police services be outsourced?

Friedmann said, “Our officers are great. Our residents appreciate and want their services. The department must be retained.”

Krueger said, “We have an excellent police department and it would be a disservice to the residents to eliminate or outsource an organization that provides such a valuable protection and service.”

Traditionally, Sunset Hills has had a close relationship with Lindbergh Schools. Do you believe the city should maintain a positive relationship with the school district?

Friedmann said, “Of course. Lindbergh is a great school district — a real asset to Sunset Hills. Residents rightly expect the city to have a good relationship with it.”

Krueger said, “Yes.”

Should the city collaborate with Lindbergh Schools when undertaking a development that would impact the school district?

Friedmann said, “Yes. The city and residents want to ensure the continued success and status of the Lindbergh school district.”

Krueger said, “I believe that has always been the policy and should continue.”

Do you support the performance of City Administrator Eric Sterman?

Friedmann said, “Mr. Sterman is responsive and conscientious. His performance is not an election issue.”

Krueger said, “Absolutely. He is an invaluable resource and asset.”

Do you have a job that may take you out of town during the upcoming two-year aldermanic term?

Friedmann said, “No.”

Krueger said, “No.”

What do you think of the city leasing part of Bander Park for a rugby field?

Friedmann said, “The lease is an example of terrible stewardship of a city asset. It is one-sided in favor of the team. The city gets very little revenue and is captive to the rugby team for potentially 50 years.”

Krueger said, “Diversion of maintenance and development costs of a property within a flood prone area is a positive measure and fiscally responsible.”

What do you think of Days Inn owner HR Sheevam’s proposal with Helen’s to build a hotel/parking garage with tax incentives?

Friedmann said, “It’s off that Mr. Sheevam asked for more height to build additional rooms and then is surprised that his taxes went up. I do not think the city should rush to adopt an ordinance to meet his time frame for additional projects or for the existing development. This is an issue that will have long-term consequences beyond this project and should be carefully thought out.”

Krueger said, “Neither a complete plan nor enough information has been presented to formulate an opinion. What has been presented has simply been a conversation starter between the city and a longtime business within our community.’

Do you believe the city should have increased the height limits for hotels?

Friedmann said, “The city should not make changes to its ordinances at the request of a single developer.  Such changes should only be made after careful consideration of long term consequences.”

Krueger said, “It depends on the development plan. There is no yes or no answer to this question without weighing all the factors.”

Do you support efforts for a city-county merger?

Friedmann said, “I do not support Better Together. Residents want to retain control of their services and amenities.”

Krueger said, “Although no details were available at the time, the board voted to reject a city-county merger.”

Do you believe the city is in a strong financial position?

Friedmann said, “The city operates at a slight deficit. While the situation is not dire, the city should work to reduce overhead in addition to its focus on economic development.”

Krueger said, “We have an unstable sales tax base as seen by the loss of key retail like Toys ‘R’ Us, the potential loss of utility tax from Senate Bill 256 and the growing popularity of internet sales. As a board, we have ideas, but we don’t have guaranteed replacement for that lost income.”

The city’s zoning code is currently being rewritten. How would you change it?

Friedmann said, “Eliminate provisions for multifamily apartments; confine cluster homes to proper transitional areas with appropriate and objective requirements for density, setbacks and common ground such as those that currently exist; retain resident protections such as a requirement for a supermajority vote on the BOA in the event Planning and Zoning recommends against a development in the event that residents protest that development; remove the ability of the city administrator to waive requirements for planned developments; require that a development not diminish or impair neighboring property values (currently the proposal permits an impairment or diminution as long as it is not ‘substantial’).

Krueger said, “The city’s zoning code is being updated, and architectural guidelines should be written in for all future development.”

You can reach Erin at @eachenbach@callnewspapers.com or at 314-843-0102.