St. Louis Park City Council hears recommendations to change, repeal crime-free, drug-free ordinance

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During a city council study session Monday night in St. Louis Park, city leaders listened closely to the recommendations put forward by a workgroup that spent a year looking into the impacts and effectiveness of the city's crime-free, drug-free ordinance.

The group came up with two options to present to the city council: revise the current ordinance to get rid of compulsory eviction notices or repeal the policy entirely.

Despite growing calls for repeal, St. Louis Park has no plan to address controversial housing ordinance exposed by 5 INVESTIGATES

The ordinance was the focus of a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation that found more than 100 renters were forced from their homes under the policy, even though they were never charged with a crime.

Weeks after the 5 INVESTIGATES story aired, the city council voted to suspend enforcement of the ordinance, pending a study of the policy by the council-appointed group of citizens.

"I know we have a large audience that is interested in this issue," said council member Anne Mavity, addressing dozens of people that gathered to listen to the presentation.

The council did not allow public comment at its work session, but frustrated by the characterization of the workgroup's recommendations, one of its members stood up and confronted city staff.

"I spent nine months of my life and I'm really invested in this," Karl Gamradt said. "This is just a disgustingly inadequate representation of what our workgroup members actually recommended."

After nine months of meetings and gathering public input, a growing number of voices in the community have come out in favor of repealing the ordinance entirely.

Other groups within the city have also suggested changes to the policy as well.

5 INVESTIGATES obtained a recommendation approved by the City of St. Louis Park's Police Advisory Commission. The group wrote in its official statement about the policy that the ordinance should be reinstated, but not before considering several factors. One of those factors included removing police as the enforcement arm of the ordinance.

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