CITY COUNCIL MEETING
MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2010
ADJOURNMENT TO CLOSED EXECUTIVE SESSION
Mayor Carol Rudi opened the City Council Meeting to adjourn to a Closed Executive Session on March 8, 2010, at 6:45 PM. Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith made a motion to adjourn to Closed Executive Session pursuant to Missouri Open Meeting Act Exemption 610.021(1) for Litigation and Confidential or Privileged Communications with Legal Counsel, and 610.021(2) for Real Estate Acquisition Discussion, and 610.021(3) for Personnel Discussion. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded.
Roll Call Vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Councilman Mark Revenaugh, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (5-0).
Mayor Carol Rudi closed the Closed Executive Session at 7:00 PM.
REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
PRESENT: Mayor Carol Rudi
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith
Councilman Mark Revenaugh
Councilman Barry McCullough
Councilmember Carol Suter
Assistant City Manager Scott Wingerson
City Counselor David Ramsay
City Clerk Cathy Swenson
ABSENT: City Manager Kirk Davis
Item 2. on the Agenda. ROLL CALL
Mayor Carol Rudi opened the Regular March 8, 2010, City Council Meeting at 7:30 PM in the Gladstone City Council Chambers, and noted that all Council members were present.
Item 3. on the Agenda. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 247 presented the Colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance, in which all joined.
Mayor Rudi invited the Scouts and the Scout leaders to introduce themselves as follows:
Kody Copple, a 6th grade student at New Mark Middle School; Paul Brown, a 5th grade student at Faith Academy; Zack Ring, a 6th grade student at Plaza Middle School; Adrian Wallace, a 5th grade student at Faith Academy; Scout leader Gregory Copple, of Cameron, Missouri; Scout leader Laurinda Brown, of Gladstone, Missouri; and Scout leader Denise Wallace. Ms. Brown remarked that she has been with Troop 247 since her now 19-year-old son was a Tiger Cub, so she is now starting all over again!
Mayor Rudi thanked the Scouts and Scout leaders and said this Troop is sponsored by Gashland Presbyterian Church.
Item 4. on the Agenda. APPROVAL OF THE REGULAR FEBRUARY 22, 2010, CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES.
Councilman Mark Revenaugh moved to approve the Regular February 22, 2010, City Council Meeting Minutes as presented. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Councilman Mark Revenaugh, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (5-0)
Item 5. on the Agenda. PROCLAMATION: designating March 9, 2010, as “Tony Marrali Recognition Day” in Gladstone, Missouri, in tribute to Fire Division Chief Tony Marrali, on the occasion of his retirement, following thirty years of service to Gladstone.
Mayor Rudi read and presented the Proclamation to retiring Fire Division Chief Tony Marrali. The presentation was followed with a standing ovation from the audience. Chief Marrali thanked the Mayor and City Council for the honor.
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith congratulated Mr. Marrali on his retirement, and said he has known him for most of the 30 years he has worked for the City. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said our City is very fortunate to have people like Mr. Marrali in our community. He is a consummate professional.
Item 6. on the Agenda. CONSENT AGENDA
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to approve the Consent Agenda as presented. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded. The Vote: All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (4-0).
Note: Councilman Mark Revenaugh was out of the room during this vote.
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to adopt RESOLUTION R-10-14, declaring certain City property as surplus and authorizing the sale of such property to the highest bidder via an online auction. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded. The Vote: All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (4-0).
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to adopt RESOLUTION R-10-15, authorizing execution of a contract with SAK Construction, LLC, in the total amount not to exceed $211,988.20 for the 2010 Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded. The Vote: All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (4-0).
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to adopt RESOLUTION R-10-16, authorizing execution of a contract with McConnell and Associates Corporation, in the total amount not to exceed $78,739.00 for the Tennis Court Overlay and Resurfacing Project. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded. The Vote: All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (4-0).
Councilman Barry McCullough moved to approve a Temporary Liquor by the Drink License to St. Charles Borromeo Church for a School Fundraiser to be held on April 24, 2010 from 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM. Managing Officer: Lori Creek. Councilmember Carol Suter seconded. The Vote: All “aye” - Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (4-0).
Item 7. on the Agenda. Communications from the Audience.
There were no communications from the audience.
Item 8. on the Agenda. Communications from the City Council.
Councilman Barry McCullough reported that the team Up NeXT, a group of young people who were at the last City Council meeting, who do a technology oriented competition, placed First in competitions in Kansas City and in Jefferson City, and have been invited to an international competition in Taiwan. There is a lot of excitement for those young folks, as well as a lot of opportunities.
Councilmember Carol Suter stated that people are now out walking, which has made her appreciate even more the new sidewalks along M-1 Highway. Councilmember Suter said the sidewalks were left with lots of mud and debris on them, and are covered with stones and other things that make them unattractive and not so desirable for walking on, and asked if this is a City issue; if not, her question is if it is possible to organize some type of community event with young people like the Scouts, or maybe even business owners along M-1 Highway - perhaps, a “Clean Sweep” day. Clean sidewalks would encourage everyone to get out and walk.
Assistant City Manager Scott Wingerson replied that a community event is a good idea, and staff could look at that. There is a ribbon cutting planned for later in the spring to announce some other events having to do with community wellness. More information will be coming forward shortly on that. Short of that, the City wants to encourage people to use the sidewalks, and staff will investigate as to whether cleaning the sidewalks is the Missouri Department of Transportation’s responsibility, or the responsibility of the City, or probably the contractor’s responsibility, and make that request to get this moved forward.
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith said the nice new bus stop on M-1 Highway was blocked in from the very first snowfall. Some attention needs to be given to that next year, as well.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith commended Public Information Officer Richard King, Building Official Alan Napoli, and Community Center employees for the Home Show that was put on by our City. It was a good first year. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said this was a Council goal that was met, and Council members would like to commend the staff for that.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he would like to brag on the folks at Gladstone Bowl, where the annual Bowl for Life event was held this past Saturday to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This is done every year in conjunction with KFKF Radio Station. Since Gladstone Bowl began this annual event, they have raised nearly $75,000 for St. Jude’s. Mayor Pro Tem Smith jokingly said that perhaps some of his nosey staff will read the Minutes, and see that they were commended for their hard work with this event.
Councilman Mark Revenaugh had no comments at this time.
Mayor Carol Rudi had no comments at this time.
Item 9. on the Agenda. Communications from the City Manager.
Assistant City Manager Scott Wingerson had no comments at this time.
Item 10. on the Agenda. CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING: for consideration of a Site Plan Revision for Santerra at Shady Lane, First Plat. Applicant/Owner: Reveda of Gladstone, Inc. File #1343.
Mayor Rudi stated that a report would be heard from City staff, before the Public Hearing is opened.
Assistant City Manager Scott Wingerson began by saying he was debating as to whether or not to break the “cardinal rule” of public speaking, and that is to apologize up front, but he felt that was necessary. This is a complicated issue, and there are not necessarily right or wrong answers, so he would try to provide the information to the City Council, but also communicate to the public at the same time. Mr. Wingerson said the issue at this meeting is a Site Plan revision for Santerra. City Planner Chris Helmer will present the information when the Mayor opens the Public Hearing. As part of the normal process, the Site Plan Revision went to Public Hearing with the Planning Commission a few weeks ago. During that Public Hearing process, numerous issues were raised by the residents of Santerra, as well as by some of the adjoining property owners. Mr. Wingerson said his purpose at this time was to explain some of those issues, how they relate to the Public Hearing process, and in some cases, how they don’t. In some cases, staff has been successful in moving towards a solution, and in other cases they have not, so the goal is to explain those things to everyone involved. Mr. Wingerson said what we are doing tonight is outside of the Public Hearing, and the reason we do that is to preserve the actual Public Hearing record, so on the Site Plan Revision, itself, the main issue is one of density; however, he was going to blur that line in his presentation and refer back and forth.
Mr. Wingerson said there were three primary documents to which to draw the Council members’ attention. Mr. Wingerson said the first document was a memorandum from him, dated March 4, 2010, in reference to Santerra; the second document was the draft Ordinance, Bill Number 10-05; and the third was a document called “Response to Staff’s Questions”. Although it is called “Response to Staff’s Questions”, it could just as easily say “Response to Resident Questions”, because that is where they were generated – at the Public Hearing with the Planning Commission.
Mr. Wingerson stated a couple of people in the intervening weeks have asked him about the status of Gladstone Plaza, and how nice it would be to see Gladstone Plaza renovated, so the residents of Santerra and the general vicinity could take advantage of goods and services that could be available there in the future. Mr. Wingerson said the Council is certainly aware of this, but for the public’s benefit, the owner of Gladstone Plaza has committed to reinvest over $1 million dollars in the next year to 18 months to rehab Gladstone Plaza. What that will likely do is allow the shopping center to be re-tenanted, and again be an important part of our community. Mr. Wingerson said he hoped this information would be helpful on some level to the public.
Mr. Wingerson stated that in the document titled, “Response to Staff’s Questions”, there are five issues addressed, and the first section addresses “Retaining Walls and Construction Fencing”. The issue raised at the Public Hearing with the Planning Commission was that some of the retaining walls are bowing out or in danger of failing or in ill repair of some sort. Related to that question was the treatment of a retaining wall from the adjoining neighborhood into the Santerra property. The developer has agreed that in areas where there is active construction, the walls would be inspected by appropriate professionals. The owner has also agreed in those areas where construction fencing or some type of fencing is required and not yet present, that there would be temporary fencing installed. Staff has taken that commitment from the developer and reflected it in Condition Number 4. of the draft Bill as follows: All retaining walls adjacent to active construction sites shall be inspected as required and repaired prior to the issuance of adjoining certificates of occupancy. In the event any retaining wall is determined to require emergency repair or stabilization, an inspection and resulting repairs shall be immediately made. Mr. Wingerson said this is how staff tried to deal with that concern.
Mr. Wingerson said the second issue is a little bit more complicated, and is simply titled, “Driveway Water Flow”. It is important to note that there was an awful lot of discussion prior to the development of Santerra about stormwater, and the impact of this development within the property, but also the impact of this development downstream, which is the Village of Oakview. Prior to the development of Santerra, there was structural flooding and street flooding in the Village of Oakview. Mr. Wingerson said since the construction of the stormwater system in Santerra, he believes that the Village of Oakview would say that those problems are largely resolved downstream. Mr. Wingerson reported that there was a representative from the Village present at this meeting who may choose to speak to Council during the Public Hearing. The goal in the design of the drainage system for Santerra was to eliminate any downstream impact and improve those conditions if possible, and we were successful there. The goal was also to make sure that the water flowed to a central detention area, which is adjacent to Shady Lane to provide relief to the larger property, given the density of the development itself. One of the components of the stormwater plan is grading the lots and forming the driveways as to drain to the central location. That causes concern for the residents that live in those properties, and staff understands that. This is a conscious design condition to achieve the stormwater control guidelines.
Mr. Wingerson said it was his understanding that there has not been any structural flooding of any home in Santerra, so he thinks it was successful; although there are nuisances and maintenance concerns associated with that strategy. Overall, what staff primarily heard is a condition of brown water in certain areas. There are French drains installed around the exterior of the homes themselves, designed to keep the groundwater from going to the foundation drain of the unit itself, and shed that water before it actually gets to the structure. It is the groundwater that residents may talk about, and it is the water that flows two or three days after it actually rains, so what they are recognizing is that the groundwater is leaching into the French drains, and the French drains are then draining over a period of time after the actual rain event. In terms of response from the City’s perspective, Mr. Wingerson referred to Condition Number 6. in the draft Ordinance which says, In conjunction with future building permits issued, a berm shall be constructed north of buildings 14, 15, 16 and 17. The purpose of this berm is to redirect stormwater to an existing area inlet and reduce surface flow through driveways and reduce long term leaching of groundwater. Such berm shall be approved by the City and construction completed prior to issuance of any certificate of occupancy. Mr. Wingerson said this basically covers four buildings and the groundwater should be largely reduced due to redirecting the initial stormwater.
Mr. Wingerson continued discussion regarding the document titled, “Response to Staff’s Questions”, with the third section: “Status of Homes Association”. At the Planning Commission meeting, there was a suggestion from some of the residents that the homes association be granted back to the residents who currently live in Santerra. The Developer is very clear in his response. In general terms, the homes association covenant or deed restriction is a contract between the individual homeowner and the development company. It is for the protection of the developer during the development process. In most cases the developer is the manager or the majority owner of the homes association for a much shorter period of time than the current economy has allowed for this to move forward. In other words, the developer has no desire to maintain the homes association, but has to in order to protect the company’s investment in the infrastructure and the common areas of Santerra. As the managing majority owner of the homes association, a developer has a responsibility to the development company, as well as the residents, to provide the maintenance and upkeep in a way that complies with the contract that has been made between the development company and several homeowners. This basically means that the City has little or no jurisdiction in the discussion of the homes association and the relationship between the homeowners and the development company.
Mr. Wingerson pointed out that the fourth section is, “Construction Traffic on Shady Lane”, and said the Village of Oakview expressed a concern about this issue. The developer has indicated that he will encourage subcontractors to enter the community from the north. That would be the Gladstone side of Santerra. If Council should approve this request, staff will encourage construction trucks to enter Santerra from the north, and that will be placed on Building Permits and information that is given to the builder.
Mr. Wingerson continued discussion with the final issue, which is the “Community Pool”, and stated that outside of the common area clubhouse, is a small parcel of land that on the approved plan, is a community swimming pool. The developer is pretty clear, and states, “historically depressed market conditions have made the construction of a community pool economically unfeasible; therefore, no pool is projected to be constructed in the future”.
Mr. Wingerson pointed out Condition Number 5. in the proposed draft Ordinance has to do with privacy fencing. A majority of the existing condition is being carried over, and the condition suggests that Code will be complied with as required with the privacy fencing and construction fencing. There are two issues that are not referenced in the Council’s packet, and one has to do with sediment control. There was concern that there are tubes in front of curb inlets that cause ponding in front of the curb inlets, which is designed to let the sediment sink out. There are a couple of places where the residents believe that was not necessary. For the short term, they will continue to monitor them, and if they are no longer required by the City, DNR (Department of Natural Resources), or EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which is the chain of command here, then staff will suggest to the developer that those be removed, but for now they need to stay. There was concern about sinking driveways, and staff has looked at them, and certain panels are sinking and some have been replaced. The driveways are part of the homes association, and part of the contract between the residents of Santerra and the development company.
Mr. Wingerson said he has tried to highlight the concerns for everyone’s benefit, and said he would be happy to answer any questions, and when the Public Hearing is opened, Mr. Helmer will present the actual request.
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith asked how the neighborhood pool was promised to the neighborhood and how was it part of the initial application?
Mr. Wingerson replied that the neighborhood pool is part of the Site Plan. It was presented as an amenity to the community, when it was originally presented to the Planning Commission and City Council. As in most residential developments that include a pool, the pool is usually constructed when there is a critical mass, and enough members of the homes association to pay for the maintenance and upkeep. This development has not reached that tipping point as of yet; therefore there is not enough money in the association’s dues to maintain and care for a pool, and meet all the other obligations of the homes association.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said when Mr. Wingerson read, “no pool will be constructed in the future”, does that mean forever?
Mr. Wingerson replied that is what the developer is indicating.
There being no further questions, Mayor Rudi opened the Public Hearing.
Planning Specialist Chris Helmer began by saying the Planning Commission considered this application on January 19, 2010, and did unanimously approve the request by the applicant to move forward to the City Council. Within the Ordinance, of the first three Conditions, the first two have been carried over from discussions that were approved in 2003, by the Planning Commission and City Council. The third Condition was added for the Planning Commission Public Hearing on January 19, 2010. The remaining Conditions, Numbers 4., 5., and 6., that Mr. Wingerson elaborated on, are Conditions that were a result of discussions with area residents, City staff, as well as the Planning Commission members. The Staff Report included in the packet outlines the decision that was made by the Planning Commission. There was also included in the packet the Site Plan that was approved in 2003, by the Planning Commission and City Council.
Mr. Helmer stated that the request this evening, outside of the many complicated issues that Mr. Wingerson discussed, is rather simple with many other additional concerns that have occurred from the area residents. The applicant is asking for a Site Plan approval of a change to what was approved in 2003. That being a change in the Site Development layout from attached single-family units to that of detached single-family units. The overall layout of the building design is pretty much the same outside of the fact that the units will no longer be as close together. Mr. Wingerson also referenced the issue of density. The overall density for this development project is a slight reduction. In 2003, the overall number of units that were approved was 124 units, and with the overall change, there are 122 units proposed. The requested action this evening by the applicant and developer is a Site Plan revision from the 2003, approved plan - from attached single-family units to detached single-family units.
There were no questions from City Council members at this time.
The applicant was not present at this meeting.
There was no one to speak in favor of the application.
Comments from those in Opposition to the application.
William Fischer, 700 NE 65 Terrace, began by saying that he lives in what is commonly known as Santerra. His wife, Christine, and he have lived in Gladstone since 1970, and at their present address since May 2008. Mr. Fischer read and presented a written statement to the City Council, which he said represents his views, but not necessarily those of other residents of Santerra. Please see the attached copy of Mr. Fischer’s letter.
Donna Hunt, 6495 North Circle Drive, said she lives in the Santerra development, and has lived there for three years. Ms. Hunt said they are essentially stranded on some of the issues that Mr. Wingerson spoke about, which are the problems with the homeowners’ association. Ms. Hunt said she does not believe the residents are stranded on the pool issue. Ms. Hunt said she believes that there needs to be full and careful consideration of this man’s past performance and responsiveness, before he is allowed carte blanche in changing the plan. The current homeowners association is pretty much 100 percent at their mercy, and the residents have already had two increases in the dues. In other developments, the homeowners’ costs are going down, with the cost of gas going down over the past three years. They are using products that are inappropriate, and the residents have crumbling driveways from inappropriate products being used to melt snow. Ms. Hunt said she had photos of problem sites in the development for the Council. Ms. Hunt said the residents cannot talk to the head of their homeowners association, so the people providing maintenance are not responsible to the residents, and she knows that is not something the City can do anything about. Ms. Hunt said this speaks to their plight, as this man is 100 percent unresponsive. Ms. Hunt said her drain pipe was destroyed and she asked for that to be repaired, and when she asked again in February, they said they would be there, and now rains are coming and there is no way to remove the water from around the house.
Ms. Hunt pointed out in one of the pictures an area of land where he should have planted, between Gladstone and the street, and the photo shows where, literally, the hill pours down into the street. Ms. Hunt said he is changing the Site Plan, but the property is for sale. How do the residents have any good faith that he is really going to do new construction? Ms. Hunt said the homes that he is moving towards, she assumes are similar to the ones in Woodridge, and he is selling his models there. Why would anyone buy a home that they cannot see? Ms. Hunt said the residents bought their homes, because they could go to Lee’s Summit and the Courchevel development, and look at the homes there. Ms. Hunt said he is 100 percent unresponsive to any resident – he will not answer the phone, mail, or anything, and everything seems to say that he is going out of the development business. He presented a plan for the pool, advertised for the pool, and she has a contract with him that says there will be a pool, and now he says no pool. Ms. Hunt said he is a liar. He does not keep his word. Ms. Hunt said she does not understand why other home association dues are going down, because of the economy, and their dues are going up. Ms. Hunt said she cannot prove it, but she thinks he is somehow tied with the company to which the residents pay their homeowners’ dues. She cannot prove it, but why will he not at least allow open bidding? Why should the residents be managed by a company that is 45 miles away that does not know how much snow there was here, and whether we need snow removal or not? Ms. Hunt said she does not understand why this is not a more open process, and why everything he does is secretive. There is no transparency. Ms. Hunt encouraged the Council to make his past performance part of the decision making process, when it comes to what he will do in the future.
Nancy Walsh, 706 NE 65th Terrace, said she lives near where Mr. Eisner wants to build. Ms. Walsh said she sent him a certified letter and it came back. She is the one that has a sinking driveway. Ms. Walsh said she was in there one day – a pipe broke under the driveway. They dug it up and repaired it, not correctly, and it has been sinking. It goes up when there is ice, and she is not happy with him, and he does not respond. He will not fix anything and will not respond to anyone. Ms. Walsh gave the certified letter that was returned to her by the Post Office to Mr. Wingerson.
Alfred Whitman, 697 NE 65 Terrace, said he would like to ask why Richard Eisner has not come to either one of these meetings. Mr. Whitman said they moved into their home in December 2006, and they were told if there were any problems with their house at the end of the year, those problems would be fixed. Right away they discovered there was a problem with their driveway. The nickname around Santerra is that it is called Lake Santerra. Mr. Whitman said his wife has thought about putting fish in their driveway. Mr. Whitman said his biggest complaint is that his neighbor cannot walk out of her house to get her mail. She is at 701 NE 65 Terrace. Mr. Whitman said to get her mail during the winter, he and his wife have to take it out of the mailbox, put it into a plastic bag, put a rock in it and toss it up to her in the garage. Her driveway is a good five feet up in the air. Down below, at the bottom, is lake Santerra, and when it rains or snows, water will stick there. Her driveway is usually ice, and most of the time she cannot get her storm door open on her front patio. Even if she could get out, she would have to walk out her patio, walk down a sidewalk that is still at an angle into her driveway. She has no safe way. Mr. Whitman said this is an accident waiting to happen.
Mr. Whitman stated Ron Barnds of Barnds Brothers gave him his word not once, not twice, but three times that he would fix it. Back then there was a person that was hired who would coordinate with the homeowners and Richard. She is no longer there. She said it was not Ron Barnds’ fault - it was Richard’s. Mr. Whitman said they have sent Richard certified mail, and it was returned. They sent pictures, and even wrote a letter to Richard with the pictures, and took them over to Kansas City, Kansas, in his development in Woodridge. That is the type of person who is asking to build 40 or more homes. He does absolutely nothing for the homeowners. Most of the homeowners there are Senior Citizens, and they cannot get up on a roof. The homeowners were told that all they had to do was pay the maintenance, and they would do the maintenance. Mr. Whitman said yes, they do the maintenance – they come out and cut the grass and charge the homes association $6,000 each time or $5,000. At one time there was 23 homes sold in the homes association, which is really Richard, because he and his wife and another lady are on the Board. They are the ones who are supposed to oversee Barnds Brothers. Mr. Whitman said there are four homes in Santerra that have rock, thanks to his son, and his grandson’s ball team’s manager. They put rock around four homes. That means there is no mulch and no need for mulch, yet, they get very high priced, and very cheap mulch that has a ton of bugs in it. His neighbor has no ground to cut, except the front, by the street, because of the rock. She purchased the rock and they put it down.
Mr. Whitman said Courchevel was the other homes association. It took them four or five years for Richard to turn over the homes association to them. Mr. Whitman said there are 124 homes there. In theirs it was 95 percent or 90 percent….somewhere along the line, his wife and he agreed and signed a contract in 2003, and he almost would swear it was 90 percent or 95….he and his wife went through at least six to eight changes to the contracts to the time they finally signed the original one, and somewhere along the line that got to be 100 percent. Mr. Whitman said they have no say as to what Barnds Brothers charges. When he turned the homes association over to Courchevel, they put in a bid, and took the lowest bid, and hired another company. The first year they saved over $40,000 just by getting rid of Barnds Brothers. He built a clubhouse and pool before they started building all the other homes, so he could sell them at Courchevel. Barnds Brothers charged them over $8,200 to do maintenance on the pool for one year. The new company charged them $2,200; there was a leak that Barnds Brothers had to fix, but a lady told him that they saved over $5,000.
Mr. Whitman said he was at the other meeting, and he agreed that they need the other 40 homes built, because they will never get their homes association. If it took four years or three and one half years to sell 36 homes, and he is going to build another 40-44, he does not have to turn over the homes association then. It is actually 84 homes to be built and sold. Mr. Whitman said in the other meeting it was said that he would build two and sell two. Mr. Whitman said he did not believe Mr. Eisner would be alive in 20 some years, because it will take over that to build two and sell two. Right now you have a lot of Senior Citizens who cannot get stuff fixed. His driveway is crumbling, and he has had a leak in his house with the big snow. He did not file a claim, because their maintenance pays for an insurance policy through Barnds Brothers. That insurance policy sounds great - $300,000 – it has a $5,000 deductible. Mr. Whitman said the guys came out and took pictures of his house. There was just some leakage inside on the walls, so it did not really affect them.
Mr. Whitman said he knew there were five other homes in the addition that had water damage, and in his case he figured out that the water damage was because of shoddy….he put the two gutters together, and did not put the little thing that clamps them down, and did not seal it. The first chance he gets, he will get a ladder and get inside the gutter, and a friend is going to help in taking off the gutters. Mr. Whitman said he knows he is not supposed to do that, but it is the only way they can fix it, because the snow comes down, melts, and then once it goes…because of that gutter, it leaks through his gutter, and the overhang was not properly put in, and the gutter was not properly done on the inside, so the water leaks, and the wind blows it and it goes right back into his house. Mr. Whitman said the lady called him a liar, but he would like to call him a lot more than that. Mr. Whitman said they had to take their letter and pictures to his housing addition in Kansas, and when he drove up, and got out of the car, three of them surrounded him. That was the only way he would respond, and he said he never received it. If someone doesn’t pick up certified mail, it goes back. Mr. Whitman said it is all phony, and this guy cares nothing about the people who buy houses from him. He has the residents over a barrel until they can get the homes association and get rid of Barnds Brothers.
Mr. Whitman said if someone would ask each homeowner of the 36 homes, they would find out they are very dissatisfied with Barnds Brothers. Mr. Whitman said he had a guy cut the grass, and he came along the edge of the driveway, and he made a dent in the corner, because it was mud. He ran the lawnmower in – tried to push it out, and then pulled it back. Mr. Whitman said he found him by following the trail of mud that was out his driveway and down the sidewalk, and he was two houses down. Mr. Whitman said he asked him to come back and look at it, and he came back, and Mr. Whitman asked him if he had done that, and he said yes. Mr. Whitman asked if he was going to fix it, and he said no. Mr. Whitman said he and his wife fixed it. They ended up putting in three rocks, so people cannot cut up their driveway, and get into the mud, and they put in a couple of rose bushes, and a little rock around it, and fixed the problem. Mr. Whitman said there are a lot of worse things with other homeowners than what his wife and he…..this is not what they paid for.
Mr. Whitman said in 2003, they signed out in Courchevel, not here in Gladstone. They thought that is what they were getting. Mr. Whitman said they thought they were getting a reputable….he checked with the Better Business Bureau, and at that time they told him they did not have any complaints. The complaints were in Kansas. They had an addition before Courchevel that took him to court, and finally they could not get anywhere, and they had to drop it. The lady told him that basically they were bankrupting their association. Courchevel filed a lawsuit against Richard, but they could not find him. Mr. Whitman said he does not know the results of that, but assumes it is still in progress, because he built a wall against this hill. He owned the hill. The mud came underneath the wall, and was damaging two houses. His lawyer told them that Richard would fix it. A couple of weeks went by and the lady said they called the lawyer, who said Richard got another lawyer and was no longer his client. He got the information and found out the other lawyer. They set up a meeting. The other lawyer said, “Go ahead and take us to court; we have more money than you do”.
Assistant City Manager Wingerson apologized for interrupting Mr. Whitman, and said he might venture to say that Council members have had a lot of illustrative examples of the developer’s performance as part of the homes association. Mr. Wingerson said in deference to all of the residents that were present, it might be in the Council’s best interest to allow everyone to speak, and then allow the Council to ask follow up questions of the residents if they so desire.
Mr. Whitman said he was just telling the Council that if they do this, believe him, as a home owner, he would want the 40 houses built, and he would want them sold, so they can get a strong homes owners association. In this case, it will not do any good, because he would have to build another 84 houses. Mr. Whitman asked if Council members are asking that another 40 more families come in and buy the homes and be under the same mess that they are in? Mr. Whitman said he knows that Gladstone will make a lot of money off taxes and stuff, and he can understand why the City Council wants it built. Somebody talked about the fence; take a look at St. Charles. St. Charles had to write him two or three letters, because they had whole sections of the fence out. Another homeowner and he helped fix part of it, before somebody got in, and finally put the sections back and fixed the fence.
There being no further comments, Mayor Rudi closed the Public Hearing.
Item 11. on the Agenda. FIRST READING BILL 10-05, approving a Site Plan revision for property north of and adjacent to Shady Lane; east of and adjacent to Gladstone Plaza. Applicant/Owner: Reveda of Gladstone, Inc. File #1343.
Councilmember Carol Suter moved to place Bill 10-05 on its First Reading. Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith seconded.
Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith stated that the days that he does not like this job is because of days like this. We have people here who are helpless and they feel helpless, and they don’t know where to go and what to do, and they don’t know whom to turn to. That said, the City Council has certain things that they can address, and there are certain things they cannot address. Additionally, as Mr. Whitman said, the best thing that can happen for these folks is for the project to be built out. The worse thing that can happen is for it to be built out the way the first part was built out.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he would like to seek clarification from Mr. Wingerson regarding the pool. Does the City have any recourse to encourage the pool to be built, whether it would be this owner or a subsequent owner, because it was approved as part of the Site Plan.
Mr. Wingerson replied that he would have to check. It was part of the Site Plan, so it is a component of the Site Plan, itself. The City Council could, at this meeting, reapply the construction of the pool at some point prior to the completion of the development, and retain that portion of the Site Plan on to the new Site Plan. Basically, carry the swimming pool as a required part of the Site Plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he would like to keep that thought. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he is trying to work through certain ways that Council can tie promises of the first part with Council’s authority in the second part, and that might be one of them. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said generally, when we have a development that is going to require covenants, conditions, restrictions, and a homeowners’ association, the City retains the authority to sign off on those parts of the development, and if we did that, how can Council transfer or attain that same authority with this next Site Plan?
Mr. Wingerson replied when as part of a Plat or Site Plan we require the review and approval of the private restrictive covenants, we are simply confirming that there is nothing in the covenants that would be in direct opposition to existing Ordinances. So, those matters that are private, such as when the developer takes control, or who is responsible for ice control, or landscaping or roof repair, or any of those things, how that is taken care of is not part of the staff’s review in looking at the private restrictions. Many subdivision restrictions have things like, the front yard set-back shall be “X”. If “X” is less than is approved by the City Council or less than what is required by the City Code, then that is the thing that is highlighted, and sent back to the development lawyer, to say he does not have approval for that. What the City does not want is provisions that are in conflict on the private side and City Ordinances. Mr. Wingerson said if the Council desires to review any new restrictive covenants that become part of this Site Plan, that is a condition that the Council can make; however, please recognize that we still will not be reviewing the private contract part of that, but rather comparing the covenants to City Code.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith stated he understood that, but they can be somewhat tied, even informally. Kansas City is very efficient and effective at doing that. The developer may retain, for example, 150 votes per lot, so they can never be outvoted, as long as they own one lot in the subdivision. A lot of times what the developer will allow is the existing homeowners to actively manage the association, and in essence, what they have is veto power. If the developer has veto power, and the association can get something done for $5,000, instead of $20,000, why would the developer veto that? That would at least let these folks feel like they have some control over what is going on in their own neighborhood.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith pointed out Condition Number 3., in the proposed Bill, which reads, “Upon development of units 51-58, the developer shall install a temporary cul-de-sac at the end of NE 66th Street”. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he would suggest that should be lots 47-58; the reason for that being is that once there is construction in that area, there is a place to turn around, rather than a stub in which people have to back out of. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said based on the history of this developer, he would suggest that instead of the Condition reading, “upon development of the units”, that it read, “prior to the development, or prior to permits being issued for the development of units 47-58”, so there is not a promise to build a temporary cul-de-sac – there is a temporary cul-de-sac. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said these would be his suggestions at this time.
Councilman Mark Revenaugh said he would like to go on record as saying that he finds it outrageous that a group of Gladstone Senior Citizens can be treated this way by a developer that has come into our community. Councilman Revenaugh said he finds it extremely distasteful. City Council members are “between a rock and a hard place”, if he understands Council’s position correctly, because he is thinking why in the world would Council want to allow for the developer to have a Site Plan revision that will allow him to build more units, so that he can mistreat Gladstone residents. That part of it makes no sense. The other side of it is that if the City does not allow him to try to build out the community, then what would happen to the folks who have already bought into the property. Councilman Revenaugh said he was not sure that whomever the lender is that he is working with would be any better about addressing the residents’ problems. Councilman Revenaugh said he does not see a lot of “gray” area here, between what the City can do as far as the developer. The Council can stop his application for a Site Plan revision, but if Council does that, is that better than the developer not building anything else, and washing his hands of the deal and walking away. Councilman Revenaugh asked Mr. Wingerson for his input on this.
Mr. Wingerson replied he did not have any specific input other than he believes that Councilman Revenaugh summarized the issue very clearly. The question is how can the City be most beneficial in protecting the residents. Staff agrees this is a sad thing, and he hopes no one thinks Staff endorses Mr. Eisner’s practices with the residents, because that is not the case. Mr. Wingerson said he might suggest that Council consider continuing their vote on the first reading of the Bill for two weeks, and allow him to communicate in writing to the developer the things that Councilman Revenaugh and Mayor Pro Tem Smith have said about this application and possible conditions, and see if there is any likelihood that the developer would agree to them. Mr. Wingerson stated that if the developer does not agree to them, he would suggest that this application be withdrawn by the developer, and if the developer is agreeable to the conditions, he would suggest that the developer or he would be allowed to communicate that to the City Council in two weeks. Mr. Wingerson suggested that would be an option for the City Council in addition to the option moving forward this evening one way or the other.
Councilmember Carol Suter said this might be a situation similar to another in the City, where we are dealing with unresponsive landowners who refused to do improvements or even to maintain property to Code. The reality was that they want to sell the property, and by them negotiating with the City and arriving at a resolution of some of those disagreements, now actually enables them to make the improvements in order to sell. This landowner apparently has this property listed for sale. Perhaps, having the Site Plan revised may be an element that would help sell the property, and it would seem that the best thing that can happen here is that some other developer buys the property and finishes it. Councilmember Suter said that while we have been through this as a Council in negotiating with parties who we find distasteful around these same kinds of issues, one must keep looking at that end result; that is sometimes you have to do the short term thing in order to enhance the saleability of property, which is probably the best thing that can happen here. Clearly, the project needs to be finished, but as we all know, this is the worst economy ever faced for this; so, we are probably looking at a developer who is on his last legs, and could possibly be looking at forfeiture on the property, and that doesn’t put anyone in a better position than they are in now. Councilmember Suter said while it is uncomfortable for all of us and unpleasant to deal with people that we sometimes think are bad actors, sometimes, cooperation is the only thing you can do to try and get a better result at the end. Councilmember Suter said she really appreciates the suggestion from Mr. Wingerson that he be given the opportunity to work with the developer and get some more information that might help make it easer for the Council to arrive at a decision.
Mayor Pro Tem Smith said the newly proposed Site Plan in today’s market, with today’s trends, is probably a better Site Plan than the one currently approved. It tends to be the way that a project of this type is being designed now. Councilmember Suter has a good point. Mayor Pro Tem Smith suggested that if the developer is in this bad of shape, he is not going to be the final developer on this property, so it might behoove Council members to get some guarantee from the current developer that he is going to do right by the citizens of this community, which we expect of every developer and business person, and if not, it still might be in the community’s best interest to approve a new Site Plan as it is a more modern design. If that helps him move the property to a viable developer, then so be it. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he is confident these folks would like to “wash their hands” of this developer one way or another, and he cannot see that the new design has any negative impact on them. It seems to be a good design, with a couple of tweaks. Mayor Pro Tem Smith said he believes he likes the suggestions that are out there now, so, let’s get it on the table and leave it there, and see what Mr. Wingerson comes back with for the Council to consider.
Councilman McCullough stated he agreed with everything that has been said, and he thinks it would be extremely important for Mr. Eisner to be here for the next meeting, and get the benefit of this information in person.
Mayor Rudi stated information is definitely lacking all the way around. Mayor Rudi said her concern is that although it is only two units, when discussion has been held concerning the plan for Gladstone Plaza or the downtown area, we are talking about a higher density, not a lower density, and at this point that is her concern. Mayor Rudi asked Mr. Wingerson to share that concern with the developer, as well.
The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Councilman Mark Revenaugh, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (5-0).
Mayor Pro Tem Smith asked if the neighborhood would be advised of anything else that may come before the Council in a public meeting.
Mr. Wingerson replied yes, absolutely. Mr. Wingerson stated for clarification, he would like to summarize City Council’s direction to be certain he understood: staff will talk to Reveda about Condition Number 3. indicating that prior to permits being issued for units 47-58 language, and involves the temporary cul-de-sac; staff will talk to the developer about the pool remaining part of the new plan and a carry over from the first plan; and staff will talk to the developer about a covenant to review by staff in those areas where the City has jurisdiction, as well as have a very pointed discussion about the future management of the association itself. Mr. Wingerson said staff plans to come back in two weeks to finish this matter. If that were to change, notices will be hand delivered to the residents in Santerra and adjoining residents, as has been done in the past on continuations, if this is acceptable to the Council.
Mayor Rudi said this issue would be continued to the Regular City Council meeting to be held on March 22, 2010.
Item 12. on the Agenda. FIRST READING BILL 10-06, withdrawing the Designations of Blight previously applied to the Gladstone Plaza Shopping Center by repealing Ordinance numbers 3.865 and 3.866, and portions of Ordinance number 3.972.
Councilman Mark Revenaugh moved to place Bill 10-06 on its First Reading. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Councilman Mark Revenaugh, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (5-0). The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Mark Revenaugh moved to accept the First Reading of Bill 10-06, Waive the Rule and place the Bill on its Second and Final Reading. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Councilman Mark Revenaugh, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (5-0). The Clerk read the Bill.
Councilman Mark Revanugh moved to accept the Second and Final Reading of Bill 10-06 and to enact the Bill as Ordinance 4.134. Councilman Barry McCullough seconded.
Roll call vote: All “aye” – Councilman Barry McCullough, Councilmember Carol Suter, Councilman Mark Revenaugh, Mayor Pro Tem Les Smith, and Mayor Carol Rudi. (5-0).
Item 13. on the Agenda. Other Business.
There was no other business to discuss.
Item 14. on the Agenda. Questions from the News Media.
There was no News Media present.
Item 15. on the Agenda. Adjournment.
There being no further business to come before the March 8, 2010, Regular City Council meeting, Mayor Carol Rudi adjourned the Regular meeting, saying that the Council would return to the Open Study Session for continued discussion.
Cathy Swenson, City Clerk
Approved as submitted: ___
Approved as corrected/amended: ___
Mayor Carol A. Rudi