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Maplewood officials gave preliminary approval Tuesday to the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District’s request to change the zoning on a house it hopes to use for an after-school program. The action came despite some residents urging them to scuttle the plan.

The residents say rezoning the house at 2812 Laclede Station Road will further shrink the residential area when better options are available.

The school district says the property would be used for 20 additional children in the Early Childhood Center’s Discovery Club, a program that provides after-school care for young children.

Several council members, including Karen Wood and Sandi Phillips, both representing Ward 1, where the center and the house are located, spoke of traffic problems. 

One resident, Rumi Kato Price, who lives a few houses south of the house in question, called the request “spot zoning” and noted that the school district’s purchases in recent years have included several single-family houses.

Price also gave the council a petition signed by 19 residents who live near the center, all objecting to the plan. She urged officials to reject the rezoning proposal. 

In 2013 Maplewood officials denied the district’s request to rezone 2813 Burgess Ave. so it could operate a “parents’ day out” program for children ages 2 to kindergarten in the building. 

The City Council unanimously approved two readings of the ordinance. It is expected to approve a final reading when it meets again Sept. 10. The council is on a summer schedule and meets only once in August.

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