CITY COUNCIL MEETING
MONDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2009
REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
PRESENT: Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith
Councilmember Carol Suter
Councilman Barry McCullough
City Manager Kirk Davis
Assistant City Manager Scott Wingerson
City Counselor David Ramsay
City Clerk Cathy Swenson
ABSENT: Mayor Carol Rudi
Councilman Mark Revenaugh
Item 2. on the Agenda. ROLL CALL
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith opened the Regular October 12, 2009, City Council Meeting at 7:30 PM in the Gladstone City Council Chambers, and noted that Mayor Carol Rudi and Councilman Mark Revenaugh were not present.
Item 3. on the Agenda. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith led the Pledge of Allegiance, in which all joined.
Item 4. on the Agenda. APPROVAL OF THE REGULAR SEPTEMBER 28, 2009, CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES.
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to approve the Regular September 28, 2009, City Council Meeting Minutes as presented. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Item 5. on the Agenda. CONSENT AGENDA
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to approve the Consent Agenda as presented. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The Vote All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to adopt RESOLUTION R-09-79, authorizing acceptance of work under contract with Insituform Technologies USA, Incorporated, for the Mill Creek Cured in Place Pipe Phase 3 Project; and authorizing final payment in the amount of $741.70. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The Vote All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to adopt RESOLUTION R-09-80, accepting a Temporary Construction and Permanent Easements from certain property owners in conjunction with the East Creek at North Main Gabion Repair Project. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The Vote All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to approve an ANNUAL LIQUOR LICENSE RENEWAL FOR: Tommy’s Restaurant, 6221 North Chestnut, Class A&B Liquor by the Drink License. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The Vote All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Item 6. on the Agenda. COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE.
Anita Newsom, 221 West 48th Street, #1504, Kansas City, MO 64112, said she was present on behalf of the Gladstone Area Chamber of Commerce, as Chair of Gladfest, to thank the City for their ongoing support. Ms. Newsom said four years ago, when she did this for the first time, there was some transition going on with the construction of the Community Center. It presented some challenges, but challenges that she believes have been overcome reasonably successfully. Things have grown and changed over the years, and hopefully they have evolved in a positive way.
Ms. Newsom thanked the City for their support, and she knows from sitting at the Council dais that it is a budgetary issue, as well as a community issue; but hopefully there are enough people brought into the community, who do not normally come into our city on a regular basis to see the positive face of Gladstone. Ms. Newsom stated she knew that Public Information Officer Richard King was not present at this meeting, and was on a well-deserved vacation. Richard King provides an invaluable assistance as the logistics and liaison between the City and the Chamber, and in getting things done, and doing whatever needs to be done to make Gladfest successful. Ms. Newsom said that without Richard’s support and guidance, we would probably have been in a puddle in the middle of the street at different times, either that, or hurting one another. Ms. Newsom said all the members of the Public Safety Department that she encountered have been exemplary professionals. They solved problems and worked to keep things safe and running smoothly. Their buy-in into the whole process, whether it was the parade, or set-up or traffic in general, has been above and beyond expectation – each year it grows better and better. Ms. Newsom said the help that is received from Parks and Public Works employees with the set-up, clean-up, and ongoing maintenance and their positive attitudes makes them a pleasure to work with, and she really appreciates that. Ms. Newsom offered kudos to the City’s Green Team, who decorated the stage this year; she believes they had fun doing it, and were able to exemplify the theme in a funny way.
Ms. Newsom offered thanks to the GEMA (Gladstone Emergency Management Agency) volunteers, who volunteered their time and expertise to help with all the ingress and egress of the site. That is something that is not always easy. Ms. Newsom said she gets very upset when people who are coming to the festival, or vendors want to take it out on the GEMA personnel or the other volunteers. She takes it personally, because everyone is working as a volunteer. There are very few paid staff people who put on Gladfest. The face time with the community is the volunteers. Ms. Newsom said she knows that all the City Council members had active parts in Gladfest, and she hopes they all had a good time and the time to enjoy it; even though it was a little cool and breezy at times. When the craft tents were blowing around like trash bags in Walmart’s parking lot on Thursday night and Friday morning, it was kind of scary. Ms. Newsom said it was kind of cool during the parade, but we did that, and the manpower, the finesse, the willingness to see the big picture and make things happen, and the leadership that the leadership team and department heads and those on the City Council provide makes the festival happen and it could not be done without them. Hopefully, it is beneficial for everyone, and they will continue to do so.
Ms. Newsom said she is resigning as Chair of Gladfest; she has done her four years and she is going to pass on the leadership, and jokingly said, “You pass the torch before you get scorched”. Ms. Newsom said she believes there are some good leaders stepping forward to take over, and she knows there will continue to be good Gladfests. Ms. Newsom said she wishes we would have had better weather this year, but she believes we had a fine festival. Things have evolved and changed. Ms. Newsom said we have the car show back, and she believes we are getting a good traffic flow of people. Ms. Newsom thanked everyone who participated in any way whatsoever. As a Chamber, this is appreciated. Ms. Newsom said she does not know if all the Chamber members are aware of the actual expense it does cost the City to support the Chamber in the way that they do. Ms. Newsom concluded by thanking the City Council members.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he does not believe that anyone who participates in this festival and the others gets the kudos that they deserve. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said it would be easy to just pull the same notes out of the can every year and do the same old thing. We do a lot of that, because it works, but Ms. Newsom has always been ready to embrace new ideas, new concepts, and she is always looking for ways to incorporate new concepts. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he hopes Ms. Newsom will change her mind, and jokingly said he does have “odds” on that.
Ms. Newsom stated she said she would support and help, and she probably will be staging the parade next year.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he hopes Ms. Newsom will encourage folks to embrace new ideas as we go along, because we need to and it needs to continue to evolve.
Ms. Newsom said she believes there is a culture now to try new things and just because we did it a way before, that is fine, but let’s look at some other ways, and there might be a better way.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith offered “good job” to Ms. Newsom and asked she pass along Council’s regard to the Chamber members and others in the community who volunteered. It really is a thankless position, especially, when the weather is bad and people get a little crabby and so forth.
Ms. Newsom commented that there was one vendor who wanted to sue them because the wind was blowing their display, and jokingly added that Public Works did not give them a switch to shut off the wind. One of the funny incidents of the weekend was when one of the Parade Marshals, former Mayor Wayne Beer, was slamming the doors of the portable toilets. When he was asked what he was doing, he replied there were little girls who were afraid to use the portable toilets, as they had in the past seen a snake in one, so he was assuring them they were safe to use. Ms. Newsom said that is the kind of public service we have in Gladstone.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith thanked Ms. Newsom again for a good job.
Item 7. on the Agenda. COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE CITY COUNCIL.
Councilman Barry McCullough thanked Ms. Newsom and said she did an excellent job Chairing the Gladfest, and putting everything together. It was great seeing everyone pull together and put together such a nice weekend, despite the wind and the cool weather, it was a fantastic event. It was great to be a part of it.
Councilmember Carol Suter said attending the Missouri Municipal League Conference last week was eye opening in some ways. It was sobering to sit in meetings and talk with people over lunch who are in municipalities that are in utter financial crisis. It is sobering, because you realize that it could be us one day, but it is also heartening to be in a city that is not in that kind of a situation. It is a reminder of the importance of doing long term conservative financial planning, and that has been a hallmark of Gladstone for some time, so people are quite envious of our situation. We are certainly not home free, but are vulnerable like everyone else. It is a scary time out there, and there is all kinds of money being thrown around at things from above, but apparently, it will not get down here very fast or very much. Councilmember Suter said she would like to note that we should be very cognizant of the importance of long range planning for our financial future. The conference was a fun event as a Councilmember, to get away and hear some new ideas, and meet different people with different resources.
Councilmember Suter said in the Kansas City Star magazine section yesterday, there was an article by George Nodler on the joys and benefits of living in Hamilton Heights. It was a nice article, and made Gladstone sound like a little heaven on earth, so it was good publicity.
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith asked City Manager Kirk Davis to pass on City Council’s appreciation to everyone on City staff. There are folks who work who are on the clock, but there are a lot of folks who are not on the clock and who participate for the good of the community, and Council appreciates that equally as much.
Item 8. on the Agenda. COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE CITY MANAGER.
City Manager Kirk Davis offered thanks to those employees and to members of the City Council who allow folks to participate in Gladfest. They enjoy it, and there were a significant number of employees who volunteered their time to be a part of the festivities. City Manager Davis offered his special thanks to them.
Item 9. on the Agenda. RESOLUTION R-09-81, in support of the renewal of the Clay County Law Enforcement Sales Tax.
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to adopt RESOLUTION R-09-81, in support of the renewal of the Clay County Law Enforcement Sales Tax. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded.
Councilmember Suter said there was conversation concerning this at the last Council meeting when the Clay County Sheriff was with us to talk about the importance of this action. Councilmember Suter said she strongly endorses the support of this initiative that will be coming on the ballot.
The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Item 10. on the Agenda. PUBLIC HEARING: for consideration of an Ordinance amending Title VII, “Zoning and Planning Ordinance” of the City Code by enacting a new Chapter 167, “Alternative Energy Systems” and other amendments relating to the siting, placement and approvals of such structures in the City.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith opened the Public Hearing and said first there will be a presentation by staff, and then comments will be invited from anyone who wishes to speak in favor of the Ordinance followed by comments from anyone who wishes to speak in opposition of the Ordinance. Anyone from the audience who wishes to speak, are asked to give their name and address for the record.
Planning Specialist Chris Helmer stated he would start his presentation by going back in time to the evolution of this process. The Planning Commission has held a couple of study sessions on this matter, as well as the City Council. Predominately, the study sessions really consisted of conceptual examples of what staff is talking about when they refer to alternative energy systems; specifically, being wind and solar energy harnessing devices. The presentation that was presented by staff showed the different types of models that are out there, more on the side of wind turbines, and also, there was briefly presented some of the main topics of discussions that are usually centered around these types of systems, and largely what Planning Commissioners and City Councils find to be of the largest impact to local communities. Staff talked about reasonable regulation on setbacks and looking at aesthetics, and appropriate regulation on issues of maintenance and abandonment.
Mr. Helmer said at the Planning Commission’s last meeting the Commission spoke in favor of reasonable regulation from the land use side. The Planning Commission did send a positive recommendation to the City Council for consideration this evening. Mr. Helmer said he believed he has spoken to the City Council and the Planning Commission about the fact that the Ordinance is essentially a tier system Ordinance. The provisions set forth in the beginning of the Ordinance are administrative in nature, meaning that the property owner, on the residential or commercial side, could come in, and upon meeting the provisions of the Ordinance, and with ultimate approval by City staff, would be issued a building permit. Anything that falls outside of those provisions, whether it is exceeding or desiring to exceed a height or setback, or any other issues set forth in the language of the Ordinance, would require a Special Use Permit application. This would require publication on City staff’s part, as well as a formal Public Hearing with the Planning Commission and City Council.
Mr. Helmer said at the Planning Commission’s last meeting, there was some concern with some of the language in the Ordinance. Mr. Helmer said after further internal review by staff, with Assistant City Manager Scott Wingerson, City Attorney David Ramsay, and himself, it is felt strongly that the Ordinance has set forth the intent that they have always had. Mr. Helmer said he would like to point to a minor edit on Page 7, Section 5, Number 2 – after “customer-owned”, the language “SWECS” has been added, which refers to “Small Wind Energy Conversion System”. That is the first edit, as well as that exact same edit on Page 8, Number 13, “Utility Notification”. Mr. Helmer said City staff is requesting that City Council consider taking action upon this matter, and offered to address any questions.
There was no one to speak in Favor of the Ordinance.
Comments from those in Opposition to the Ordinance:
Cathy Rinehart, 7400 NE Antioch Road, asked Council members to look at Page 13, Number 9. “Utility Notification”, it says “Off-grid systems shall not be permitted”. Ms. Rinehart said this is the language that she has a problem with; when it says “shall”, it means “never”. Shall is a very strong word – there are no exceptions here. Ms. Rinehart asked what would happen in the event of a tornado and a person is six weeks without electricity at their house. Ms. Rinehart said she believes this can be expounded upon to mean one cannot have a generator in their home. Ms. Rinehart said she is sure this is not the intent of the gentlemen and ladies in this audience, nor the intent of the Council, but there is nothing in the Ordinance that says a person can have a small generator in their home for an emergency. Ms. Rinehart said that is why she brings this up, and she believes this language is too strong, and she has discussed this with Mr. Helmer, and they went back and forth for 15 minutes. Ms. Rinehart said this is a boilerplate, and she believes this was written by a utility company. Ms. Rinehart said she knows that there is a wind panel that can be put on a house that is about the size of a desk front that can generate enough energy in a home, that a person would not need to be with Kansas City Power and Light; you really could be off the grid. Ms. Rinehart said she knows the City does not want people off the grid, because the minute they are off the grid, Gladstone doesn’t get any money, and she understands that – this language is just way too strong. Ms. Rinehart said this is her opinion and she would let Council think about it, and she thanked the City Council for their time.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith inquired into the rationale of the City’s interpretation.
Assistant City Manager Scott Wingerson replied that he believes Ms. Rinehart raises a good point. The rationale is two fold. For a home or business to go off the electric grid entirely raises a whole host of detailed and complicated questions revolving around health, safety and sanitation. We have to continue to make sure that at all times, not just during certain times, that emergency notification items work, such as smoke detectors and exit lighting and so forth, on the commercial side. The other thing is for sanitation, such as hot water heaters and those types of activities that occur in a home, those things have to be there all the time. Part of the justification for the tiered system that Mr. Helmer talked about is that certain things are allowed by right, and we want to encourage those things, and provide incentives for the people of Gladstone to install these devices through waiving permit fees; however, if you go outside of that box, where we are infinitely comfortable, we would like to come to a Public Hearing, so we have an opportunity to further study whatever the issue is, whether it is height, setback, or disconnection from the grid system.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he believes that Ms. Rinehart’s concern is that if it emphatically states that it shall not be permitted, is there a process to over-ride that?
Mr. Wingerson replied the process would be the special use permit that would be a separate Ordinance approved by a City Council, after Public Hearing, on a case-by-case basis.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith asked if there is any set of specifications that someone could check- list off. How would a property owner know if they met all of the requirements that staff would suggest to get the Special Use Permit, that they could get their system approved?
Mr. Wingerson replied as staff, they would strongly resist the urge to substitute their judgment for that of the Council – we would never do that.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said it seemed to him if you have these issues, the health, safety, and sanitation issues, or whatever the issues might be, and if someone performs all the things on the check-list that would bring staff to making a recommendation to Council to approve it, there is still no mechanism to guarantee that Council will approve it.
Mr. Wingerson agreed there is not.
Councilmember Suter said what she appreciates about the approach is that this feels like a conservative approach, as we are treading into untread waters with these alternate energy sources, so the choice is do we try to make it wide open and then try to reign it in later, or do we start with something that is more conservative, and as the situation allows, then we can ease restriction or expand use. Councilmember Suter said she would vote for being a bit more conservative, where we know what is happening and can control what is happening, rather than trying to resolve some rogue thing that wasn’t anticipated, but was allowed because the Ordinances are so broad, and then find out we have caused problems for our residents for public health.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he agreed, but his point is if a person has to do these three things to be permitted, and they do those three things, with a Special Use Permit, there is still no guarantee they will get it.
Councilmember Suter said that is when it would be coming before the City Council and Council members would be feeling the heat that it is time to look at the Ordinance and do something different or perhaps, not.
Mr. Wingerson stated that the Special Use Permit is designed to allow the staff, Planning Commission and Council to look at a particular issue, case by case. There is a broad classification that is allowed – “issue a permit and go” type of thing. For anything a little bit outside of that box, it is just a case by case review, and Council will make a similar or different decision based on the facts of the particular circumstance.
Councilman McCullough said he would not want to see, if we have a tornado again in four more years, someone not being able to fire up their generator and get by for a period of time.
Mr. Wingerson replied that is the reason for the additional language that Mr. Helmer suggested that was inserted, to clarify that we are not talking about a generator used for emergency purposes for a generally short period of time. Six weeks is a long period of time, but if it took six weeks, eight weeks or more for a tornado, that is how long it would take.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith asked for clarification that this does not preclude someone from using their emergency generator?
Mr. Wingerson replied that is correct – it is specifically related to alternative energy systems, which that would not be by definition.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith asked Ms. Rinehart if this answered her question.
Ms. Rinehart replied yes.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith suggested to Council that this Bill be given a first reading only, and not be approved all the way to Ordinance, so that Council may consider these issues, and maybe this can be addressed a bit. Councils can sometimes be arbitrary and he would not want to see someone who meets all the requirements that staff would place upon them, and then they would still come to Council and not be permitted.
As there were no further comments in Opposition to the Ordinance or from staff, Mayor Pro Tem Smith closed the Public Hearing.
Item 10a. on the Agenda. FIRST READING BILL 09-31, amending Title VII, “Zoning and Planning Ordinance” of the City Code by enacting a new Chapter 167, “Alternative Energy Systems” and other amendments relating to the siting, placement and approvals of such structures in the City.
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to place Bill 09-31 on its First Reading. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0). The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to accept the First Reading of Bill 09-31, Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Item 11. on the Agenda. PUBLIC HEARING: for consideration of an Ordinance amending Title VII of the Gladstone Municipal Code adopting Chapter 181 “Outdoor Lighting Ordinance” regulating outdoor lighting on public and private property.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith opened the Public Hearing and said it would be the same process as before.
Planning Specialist Chris Helmer began by saying that like the alternative energy systems Ordinance, this Ordinance provides a good opportunity for the City to look at ways of maximizing energy or being efficient with energy. Just like the alternative energy Ordinance, both of the Ordinances really follow at the heart of the City’s commitment to the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement by looking at ways of shaving energy costs, which is also associated with the economic benefits of saving money in the near future as well as in the long term. In this Ordinance, what is being looked at is two types of technology that would be required for new development and redevelopment projects. Mr. Helmer said that Council may recall from the presentations in the open study sessions that there are two types of technology that staff is suggesting that the City Council take under consideration; that being LED (light-emitting diodes) and induction lighting technology. Both lighting technologies have shown a tremendous amount in overall electrical savings, as well as in energy savings for local governments.
This has been a topic of discussion on a regional level, as well as nationally. Mr. Helmer said our City has been actively involved with the Mid-America Regional Council, as well as other experts in the field. Mr. Helmer said this Ordinance looks largely at the provisions of new development and redevelopment projects, as well as projects that our City would take on from the local municipal standpoint.
There was no one to speak in Favor or in Opposition to the Ordinance.
As there were no comments from the audience or further comments from staff, Mayor Pro Tem Smith closed the Public Hearing.
Item 11a. on the Agenda. FIRST READING BILL 09-32, amending Title VII of the Gladstone Municipal Code adopting Chapter 181 “Outdoor Lighting Ordinance” regulating outdoor lighting on public and private property.
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to place Bill 09-32 on its First Reading. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0). The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to accept the First Reading of Bill 09-32, Waive the Rule and place the Bill on its Second and Final Reading. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0). The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to accept the Second and Final Reading of Bill 09-32 and to enact the Bill as Ordinance 4.122. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded.
Roll call vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Item 12. on the Agenda. OTHER BUSINESS.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said Council has a recommendation to appoint Teresa Farley to a vacated position on the Theatre in the Park Advisory Board.
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to appoint Teresa Farley to the vacated position on the Theatre in the Park Advisory Board. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said this appointment would be to replace Jennifer Kessler, whose term expires December 2010.
The Vote All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, and Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith. (3-0).
Item 13. on the Agenda. QUESTIONS FROM THE NEWS MEDIA.
There were no questions from the News Media.
Item 14. on the Agenda. ADJOURNMENT.
There being no further business to come before the October 12, 2009, Regular City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith adjourned the Regular meeting.
Cathy Swenson, City Clerk
Approved as submitted: ___
Approved as corrected/amended: ___
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith