May 5, 2003
Item 1 on the Agenda: Meeting called to order – Roll Call.
Present: Ms. Abbott Council & Staff Present:
Ms. Alexander Scott Wingerson, Assist. City Manager
Mr. Bone David Ramsay, City Counselor
Chairman Hill Councilman Carol Rudi
Absent: Mr. Dillingham
Item 2 on the Agenda: Pledge of Allegiance.
Chairman Hill led the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Item 3 on the Agenda: Approval of April 7, 2003 Minutes.
Ms. Abbott had a correction to page 3, second paragraph from the bottom, the word “City” should have been “Builder”. On page 6, second paragraph, last line, it should read “would apply” rather than “with apply”. In the next paragraph, third line, “their” should be “there”. She also noted some corrections to her memo dated April 7, 2003 regarding detached buildings. In the fourth paragraph, “Dogwatch” should be “Dogpatch” and in the fifth paragraph the word “that” appears twice.
The minutes were approved as corrected.
Item 4 on the Agenda: Communications from the Audience.
Item 5 on the Agenda: PUBLIC HEARING: Consideration of a request to rezone from
R-1, Residential to CP-0, Non-Retail Planned District at property legally described as Lots 3 & 4, Old Pike Subdivision. Applicant: City of Gladstone. (#1190) City Council Public Hearing May 26, 2003.
Chairman Hill called on Assistant City Manager Scott Wingerson for the staff report.
Mr. Wingerson reported that this is a request brought forward by City staff. It is a request to rezone property that is owned by the City of Gladstone at the location indicated on the agenda. It is currently zoned R-1 and proposed for a zoning change to CP-0 for professional office use. This application also comes with a request for a site plan approval. Since it is a City application, Mr. Wingerson said he would like to take a few minutes to explain the rough site plan. He asked the Commission to please understand that additional engineering and architectural services would be required before anything could be developed on this property, staff just wanted to get a concept in front of the Commission for review. Should a proposed buyer desire to change the site plan, a site plan revision would come to the Commission for recommendation and then to the City Council for final approval. Should a proposed buyer chose to construct this site plan, then it would go to full engineering and architectural review and the permit would be reviewed for approval by the City Council. There are several options for the Commission to choose from, should they choose to move forward with this application.
Mr. Wingerson reported that the property is located at the northwest corner of 55th Terrace and Old Pike Road. To the north of the property is an existing professional building. To the south and to the east is a planned and approved professional office building. Directly to the east and south is single-family and directly to the west is a multi-family apartment complex in Kansas City, Missouri. The City originally acquired this property for construction of a fire station that would serve the west side of town. Approximately two or three years ago the City did a feasibility study and a site selection analysis to determine the best location for services to all west parts of the City and have selected a location on North Oak that will begin construction later this summer. Based on that decision and construction moving forward and being funded, it was determined that this property may be considered as surplus to be put back on City tax roll and developed accordingly.
Mr. Wingerson continued by saying that the site plan itself is additionally flexible. It provides for a single-story building with the associated parking to the south. The Commission should take into account protection of the adjacent property owners by significantly increasing the required side yard setback of 25’ to 45’. Also, the site plan has a very large green space at the intersection corner to provide flexibility in use but also provide a good visual appeal for the surrounding neighborhood. The other possibility is a two-story office building. If that were to occur, it would require a shared parking agreement with the property owner to the north and would require joint access onto Old Pike Road. Looking at the property from a topography standpoint, it lends itself well to a joint use facility sharing with the office building to the north. Certainly, the City is not proposing to make that decision for a buyer, but should the Commission agree, the City will move forward in encouraging a future buyer to work that out with the current property owner to the north.
Mr. Wingerson added that staff is recommending approval. The conditions are rather typical of any development of this scale. The hours of the facility will be from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. It limits truck delivery traffic from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Trash pickup shall be limited to the hours of 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Mr. Wingerson drew the Commission’s attention to a couple of different conditions, numbers 14 and 15 of the draft ordinance. A sidewalk is required to be installed on 55th Terrace. Several years ago the City reconstructed Old Pike Road through that area; sidewalks currently exist on Old Pike. Condition number 15 states that the architectural design of the structure shall be residential in nature with an emphasis on compatibility with surrounding properties; the design shall be approved by the City Council as part of the building permit approval process. That would apply to either option, but primarily applies to the second option for a two-story office building. Mr. Wingerson added that it is very important that the structure be consistent with what has been approved to the north and east as well as to the south. Again, Mr. Wingerson continued, relating to the topography, looking from 55th Terrace north the property would layout to appear as a single-story office building with the second story visible and accessible traveling south. Mr. Wingerson said he would be glad to answer any questions the Commission may have.
Ms. Abbott commented that on the “Analysis” section, second paragraph, second line it states that “This determination is based on the existence of a professional office building to the south…”. She asked if that should be north instead.
Mr. Wingerson said that is correct, it should have been north.
Ms. Alexander asked if she was correct in understanding that the City is just rezoning the property so that a buyer can come in and develop it.
Mr. Wingerson answered that the City is asking the Commission to make a recommendation on the rezoning from R1 to CP0 and a recommendation on a site plan. That will be done in a single action at the Commission level and two actions at the City Council.
Mr. Revenaugh asked if the City would maintain ownership of the property.
Mr. Wingerson answered that the plan is for the City to offer the property for sale with an existing site plan. The City believes that this will ensure protection of the adjacent property owners specifically the single-family homes by increasing the setbacks and by requesting the building to have a residential character. If the City were to just sell the property and consider a zoning change, the City may not have as much “say” as to what goes there. At least in this way the choice is for the developer to construct something that is agreeable to the City, but certainly they have the right to come back and do something different or ask for the Commission’s recommendation for something different.
Mr. Revenaugh asked if that made more sense that a long term lease of the property.
Mr. Wingerson said that typically it does because under City ownership property taxes are not paid.
Mr. Revenaugh replied that there is greater economical benefit for the City to sell the property.
Ms. Newsom stated that not only does the rezoning ensure compatibility with the neighborhood, but it also increases the marketability to a potential buyer.
Mr. Wingerson answered that it certainly has an economic slant to it. Of course it is the City’s responsibility to protect the public. In this case he believes this property would be more valuable as planned commercial than it would be single-family. In the long term, the highest and best use for the property is consistent with the master plan and principles.
Chairman Hill asked if anyone from the audience would like to speak in favor of the application. There was no response. He then asked if there was anyone who would like to address the Commission in opposition of the proposal.
Dan Houston, 401 NW 55th Terrace addressed the Commission. Mr. Houston stated that he owns the property directly across from the proposed lot. He said there are several issues that concern him about this rezoning. First, there are a lot of elderly residents in the neighborhood. Directly to the east of him there is an elderly lady and then across the street from her is an elderly couple. He stated that he does not think that sending out certified mail to notify all these residents is a good idea. First of all, when they got it they probably didn’t even respond to it. Mr. Houston said he has elderly parents and they have received certified mail before and never went to collect it. He does not think that his neighbors have been properly notified. It would have been better just to send them a letter. Second, Mr. Houston said he takes exception to the fact that a copy of the proposed development plan wasn’t included in the letter that he received. Now he is sitting in the audience, panically trying to make notes so he can ask questions. He would like to review the plan along with his neighbor and potentially the elderly neighbors that are in his neighborhood before any vote is made because he does not think they understood.
Mr. Houston continued by saying that he has a great view out of his windows, he loves that lot across that street, he personally thinks it could be put to a lot better use; perhaps a park for the children. Right now they are playing on the streets and in the parking lot. He thinks that should be a sizable concern for the City of Gladstone. He is not sure if the apartments are in the City of Gladstone, but there are a lot of children over there that play in the street in front of his house. Mr. Houston said that his neighbor who is here, is primarily concerned about their homes, the children in the neighborhood and what type of financial impact this is going to have on their homes. He cannot believe his house is going to be worth anywhere near what he paid for it, when an office building goes up across the street. He believes that what is going to happen is the developer will think that the lot is too small for a single-story office building and will become a two-story office building.
Mr. Houston suggested that before any vote take place, his neighborhood needs to be provided with a copy of the proposed plan. Once construction starts, and they come back and say that a single-story office building is not going to be sufficient, they’re not going to stop construction, the Commission is going to feel compelled to give them a permit to build a second-story office building there. He takes exception to that too, he has seen this happen before and he’s not blaming anyone here, it’s just a matter of economics. He thinks that he should be given an opportunity to respond to all this. He would like to take the plans and sit down with his neighbors and discuss everything. The economic impact that this is going to have on their homes has to be considered. He does not like the idea of the parking lot having access onto 55th Terrace. There is enough traffic on that street as it is with all the children that are there. People walk on that street. He is afraid to take his dog out in front as it is. He doesn’t want more traffic on there. He thinks that could probably be resolved, if everything else was resolved. They could put the entrance and exit on Broadway. That is a sizable hill and you can’t see over it. It’s extremely difficult to get out onto Broadway because you can’t see the traffic over the hill. Mr. Houston said the proposed plan has a lot of problems and obstacles to overcome before the Commission should even consider granting approval for it.
Chairman Hill asked if Mr. Houston had any further comments.
Mr. Houston answered that he would like a copy of the plans to go over with his neighbors before it goes any further.
Chairman Hill said he would like to hear from anyone else who opposes the proposed plan and then staff will try to respond to Mr. Houston’s concerns.
Mr. Houston said he said he doesn’t want this to be considered lightly. His belief is that the people in his neighborhood that would care didn’t know to respond tonight because a certified letter to them is something they would rather not deal with. There has got to be a better way to notify them of what is going on in their neighborhood. If that means the City needs to send somebody over there and knock on the door and hand it to them, so they can prove it was delivered, then they need to do it.
Mr. Wingerson responded to Mr. Houston’s concerns. First, Mr. Wingerson said, he should have said this in his comments but failed to do so, is that there is no exit on this plan, ingress or egress, from 55th Terrace. The access to the property is on N. Broadway.
Mr. Houston asked if they have ever been over on 55th Terrace when the traffic has been heavy over there. Coming up and down N. Broadway, it is dangerous; and the City is proposing to put an ingress and egress off of N. Broadway. You have to go over there when there is traffic and see how busy it is.
Mr. Wingerson continued by saying that one of the other issues that was raised is the size of the building. It is a single-story office building, which would be approximately 3800 square feet. A two-story would be twice that at 7600 square feet. In terms of the notice, unfortunately, state law requires that the City utilize certified mail as the only appropriate method for notifying adjacent property owners within 185 feet. In terms of the plan, it is our administrative policy and always our goal to provide the plan. In this particular case, apparently we didn’t do that for Mr. Houston. He apologized for leaving that information out of the letter and stated that it is never the City’s intent to not provide information to the neighborhood that will assist them in putting together a plan.
John Spottswood, 5412 N. Broadway, addressed the Commission. Mr. Spottswood stated that he is like Mr. Houston in that he is concerned with the economic ramifications of his property. He and his wife up-rooted their family because of McDonalds and the car lots on North Oak Trafficway and moved over to his current neighborhood because there were no commercial business other than the apartments. They did not want to be near any business. They dealt with McDonalds and the City of Gladstone and neither one of them would help them with their problem, so they moved. Now he is being told that he is going to have a commercial building built within 185’ of his house…it’s not acceptable. He added that 55th Street, 55th Terrace, whatever it is…he hasn’t even lived there long enough to know what is around there other than his daughter goes to school down there; her bus stop is there. There is a planned bus stop on Broadway, but the bus driver will not stop on Broadway, so she has to go to the apartments…and you’re going to tell me your going to put in a building there. Mr. Spottswood looked toward Mr. Wingerson and said he believed he spoke with him on the phone the other day and Mr. Wingerson told him that the traffic would not increase…the traffic is going to increase. If you’re going to put a commercial building there, why would anybody lease or buy a space there and not promote business to have traffic. He stated that he does not see any redeeming quality for what the City is doing. The City is destroying their property values and the peace of mind of having their kids there, people running in and out. Mr. Spottswood said that he whole-heartedly objects to the proposed plan. If he has to move again, he will. He doesn’t want to, but he will. He added that it is just not right that “you people” are doing this. Mr. Spottswood remarked that they had no notification, as Dan said, of any of what was going on, other than the letter that was sent in the mail. This is the first he has seen of the site plan. The street is not patrolled well enough to put any more commercial in there. It’s like a race track half the time. He daughters won’t even go to the mailbox on the other side of the street…he won’t let them and they are 11, 13 and 17. He has to remove decorative bushes from his property so he could actually see what is racing down towards them. To put a commercial building in is ludicrous. He continued by saying that he was sorry to say it but you guys are nuts. He doesn’t mean that offensively, but it’s a bad idea. When he talks about the valuation of his property; he lost over $45,000 on a house on 74th Terrace because of the commercial property around him. He had has realtors and appraisers tell him that if that commercial property wasn’t there he would have re-cooped over $45,000. So now if another commercial building is put in and he re-builds this house the way he wants to make it look nice…is he going to lose again? He can’t afford to do it. The only people he can blame on that situation is one, him for moving in there, but “you guys” for doing this to us. He can’t see the City of Gladstone doing that to him. This house was a gift to him from his parents, and he is not going to put up with it. They can’t afford to buy him another house. He asked the Commission if they would like to buy his house from him…or Dan’s house…or his brother’s house…
Chairman Hill replied that the Commission is not in a position to respond to that. The Commission’s only position is to make a recommendation to the City Council with respect to the issue presented to them. The Commission is not a condemning authority and they are not looking to purchase property on behalf of the City.
Mr. Spottswood responded by saying that this is a bad move on the City’s part. He is all for making it a park where the kids could go and stay and enjoy themselves. There are a lot of kids in those apartments. The traffic will be just outstanding…he doesn’t care what kind of studies the City has done, he has lived there. He stated that he is fully against the proposed plan and he is sure he could “raise enough stink” in the neighborhood to stop it.
Mr. Houston asked for an explanation on the site plan. He approached Mr. Wingerson for a clarification.
Mr. Wingerson said that he would be glad to answer any further questions that the Commission may have. He suggested that since staff did not provide a site plan, that perhaps a site visit would be appropriate if the Commission would be willing. That would give staff an opportunity to provide the site plan and allow the Commission an opportunity to see the site firsthand.
Mr. Kiser recommended that the Commission visit the site so that they can determine what the logical vote should be. Discussion ensued regarding the time and date of the site visit.
Ms. Newsom recommended that since the neighbors have a concern about traffic that we ask them what would be the highest traffic time and schedule the site visit around that time, if possible.
Ms. Abbott commented that 156 apartments are going to be opening around the corner.
Chairman Hill said that if he remembered right, the traffic counts (for senior housing) were not going to be that significant.
Ms. Abbot asked how he would know.
Chairman Hill answered that there were traffic studies. He asked Mr. Wingerson if he could look into traffic studies that were conducted recently in that area.
Mr. Houston again took the podium and said that one of his concerns is that there is a 25 mph speed limit there and it is rarely enforced. He knows that sporadically they set up speed traps and pull people over, but generally it is not enforced. Mr. Houston said that the cars coming out of the new apartments should be taken into consideration. It is not only the traffic that is observed now. If the get a study of it, they have to put on top of that the traffic that is going to be generated by this professional office building and from the senior apartments. Trying to get out on to Englewood is very difficult. You can be sitting there a long time. Safety for not only children, but people who walk because there are no sidewalks on 55th Terrace. It would be nice to have sidewalks.
Ms. Newsom asked if staff could please contact the school district and find out the number of school-aged children in this quadrant, and where the bus pick-ups are.
Ms. Lowe commented that in reviewing the analysis section of the staff report, her question is, in changing this from R1 to CP0, how much flexibility is staff talking about. How strictly will this plan be adhered to? Can it turn into another type of commercial business?
Chairman Hill answered Ms. Lowe’s question by stating that if the property is zoned for an office building, then that would be the required use. It wouldn’t be something that could morph into a retail strip center, it would be an office building.
Mr. Wingerson commented that the zoning will control the use as a professional use. The flexibility is really only two-fold. One, it will provide for a two-story building instead of a one-story. Second, it would allow for construction of a parking lot on the north side of the building shared with the adjacent owner. Accessory to that issue is the re-location of the driveway from a new driveway on N. Broadway to a shared driveway on N. Broadway with one that already exists. That is really the only flexibility available, in zoning use or in site plan.
Ms. Lowe remarked that in the second paragraph of the analysis section of the staff report, the statement is made that “the development potential of the site it appears that the highest and best use is for an office building”. That seems to be prefaced on the existence of the building that is already there. Her question was how that leap was made.
Mr. Wingerson said that there are a couple of ways to think about it. One way is to look at adjacent land uses and that is really the subject of the paragraph that Ms. Lowe is referring to. Directly to the north and adjacent to the property is a currently zoned and developed two-story residential character professional office building. Directly to the north and east is a professional office building that has been approved subject to building permit approval. Directly to the west is a pretty high intensity, multi-family apartment complex. It is residential in nature, but it is as dense as anything that would be allowed in the City of Gladstone. Then you have the secondary aspect, which is: if the City of Gladstone is not going to continue to own this property, what is the best possible protection of the neighborhood? Usually that involves buffers, landscaping and additional green spaces. That is what staff tried to incorporate into the plan. Certainly, this protection isn’t the same as a park or a single-family home, but the lot really won’t support the construction of a single-family home. It would be difficult for anyone to purchase the lot for construction of a single-family home because of the comparables that would be used in the neighborhood.
Mr. Houston commented on the “shared parking lot”. He asked Mr. Wingerson if what he is suggesting is that if the building was built there, the parking lot would be shared by the office that is there now.
Mr. Wingerson answered that if a two-story building was to be approved and constructed, the lower lot would be proposed to share with the current parking lot of the professional building to the north. They would also share the driveway.
Mr. Houston asked what would happen if they objected to that.
Mr. Wingerson answered that by parking ratio, the largest building that could be built would be a single-story office building.
Mr. Houston commented that he wouldn’t have to worry about the City coming back to the Commission and saying “well, we think we’ve worked out a deal where we are going to share the parking lot next door” and then petition the City Council for a two-story building and then have something fall through on the lot? He doesn’t know how this process works. Whether you have to have a signed contract with them before you can come back in here and get approval for a two-story building or exactly how that would work.
Mr. Wingerson said that in summary form he will do his best to explain it briefly. If this were to be approved, recommended by this group and approved by the City Council, and the City were to sell it for the purposes that have been discussed tonight, the City would go ahead and close that transaction and the City would no longer have an ownership interest in the property. From that point forward, a private owner would have the ability to come in and request a site plan revision. That would be a substantial change from what was previously approved and they could bring it to this Commission and they would make a recommendation to the City Council and the City Council would approve it or modify it.
Mr. Houston asked if they did not agree to the City’s decision not to grant an on-site revision and decided they wanted to go ahead and build a two-story building, couldn’t they begin a legal process to try to compel that.
Mr. Wingerson answered that once the record is created from both the Planning Commission and the City Council there certainly is a judicial appeal process. In this City it is very rare that it occurs.
Mr. Spottswood asked if there is a buyer for the lot.
Mr. Wingerson answered no.
It was decided that site visit would take place on Tuesday, May 13th at 3:00 pm.
Mr. Wingerson said that staff will get the site plan mailed to the residents within 185’.
Chairman Hill closed the public hearing.
Item 6 on the Agenda: Communications from the City Council and City Staff.
Ms. Rudi said that she is the new Planning Commission liaison. She hopes that everyone has gotten through the last couple of days at each of their homes. It has been very traumatic in the City. She would guess that Scott is running on only about a couple of hours of sleep. Public Safety has just been incredible and the assistants from all the other areas have been wonderful. The fact that no one was killed was just amazing. She has seen some of those homes that have been destroyed and it is terrible. There is no way to describe how terrible it is. She hopes the City can get things back together very quickly.
Mr. Wingerson commented that staff had planned a complete presentation regarding detached buildings, however, his plan was to work on that presentation last night, so he asked the Commission if that could be delayed for two weeks.
Item 7 on the Agenda: Communications from the Planning Commission Members.
Ms. Lowe said that she was thoroughly impressed with the way Public Safety responded to the tornado. They had traffic under control and would “take her hat off” to the City of Gladstone.
Mr. Revenaugh said that he would like to echo Ms. Lowe’s statements. He was really impressed with Gladstone city services. His parents live in Carriage Hills and the police were great in blocking off the entrance into the community. The City did a super job on responding.
Ms. Newsom said that she is sure that everyone knows that the City has an emergency operation plan, and when things happen like yesterday, it kicks into place and it works. The people involved in the emergency operation plan and the management team did a marvelous job. She heard Alan Napoli on the radio and he made Gladstone sound on top of things. She is proud to be a resident.
Mr. Kiser noted that Gladstone made national news. He had a lot of calls from friends and family in other states checking in on him.
Ms. Alexander remarked that she lives in a town home where her driveway faces Antioch. A woman apparently panicked going south on Antioch and hit the duplex on 67th Terrace. There were sirens and ambulance and the whole bit. It was the worse traffic she has ever seen from people wanting to see it. The police did a magnificent job. They were very gracious and got the road all blocked off. She was very impressed with Gladstone.
Chairman Hill asked Mr. Wingerson if he could see if in the file, he could find out what the traffic generated by an office building of that size would be.
Mr. Wingerson said that he had made a note to himself to pull some studies that have been done on other projects.
Ms. Newsom suggested seeing if there was a traffic study on the Scharhag property.
Item 8 on the Agenda: Other Business.
Mr. Wingerson announced that on Monday, May 12, 2003 the City Council will have a public hearing on Gladstone Plaza. Staff is asking the City Council to declare Gladstone Plaza as blighted. What that does is allow additional public partnerships with the owner or the development community toward redevelopment and improvement of Gladstone Plaza. It is a very complex and difficult issue.
Mr. Wingerson also said that he is available to answer any questions the Commission may have regarding yesterday’s tornado.
Ms. Abbott remarked that along 59th Terrace they lost 40-year old trees. Volunteers have been down there working all day today and they have cleaned up the whole mess. She asked Mr. Wingerson if that was Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN).
Mr. Wingerson replied that the group she is speaking of was coordinated through NHN, who basically provided the service of gathering information of who wanted to help and getting them to the areas that needed help.
Chairman Hill asked what the estimated time for reducing restricted parameter might be.
Mr. Wingerson answered that it will not be too long, it hasn’t been discussed in any matter of detail. He does know that the City has attempted to reduce that parameter very aggressively.
Item 9 on the Agenda: Adjournment.
Chairman Hill adjourned the meeting at 8:48 P.M.
______________________________________ Approved as submitted _____
Becky Jarrett, Recording Secretary
______________________________________ Approved as corrected _____
Brian Hill, Chairman