April 19, 2004
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. Davis Lynn McClure, Econ. Dev. Administrator
Chairman Hill David Ramsay, City Counselor
Mr. Dillingham Mayor Wayne Beer
Mr. Kiser Councilman Carol Rudi
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 5, 2004 Minutes.
Ms. Newsom said that Councilman Rudi needed to be added to the list of people present at the last meeting. Motion by Mr. Dillingham, second by Mr. Whitton to approve the April 5, 2004 minutes as corrected. The minutes were approved as submitted.
Item 4 on the Agenda: Communications from the Audience.
Item 5 on the Agenda: CONTINUATION: Consideration of a Special Use Permit and Rezoning at 1900 NE Englewood Road. Applicant: Creative Arts Academy (#1223)
Mr. Kiser read the Site Visit Report dated April 9, 2004. (see attached)
Ms. Alexander said that she thinks this is an excellent use of existing buildings. She is very much in favor of it. She is not in favor of rezoning it to commercial. To protect the applicant she would like to see a five year special use permit so the investment she makes in the property is protected.
Ms. Newsom said that with everything that the Commission is faced with it is a land use issue. She concurs with Mr. Kiser’s advisement on the site visit report about the rezoning. She thinks that rezoning this to any commercial use within an R-1 property is inappropriate and unacceptable. She realizes that the applicant is looking to secure her investment, but the Commission is not in the market of land speculation, they are in the business of land use. Ms. Newsom said she would be in opposition of the rezoning. Secondarily, is the special use permit. It would be great to keep a business such as Creative Arts Academy in the Gladstone area, but her personal feelings are that this is not an appropriate use for this because there are too many “ifs” and “buts” in this whole situation. There is a drive that goes nowhere that’s going to cause traffic congestion because people habitually do not use things as they are directed to do. It is contingent on dividing this parcel and using the parking lot in an agreement with another entity. As much as she would like to see the church maximize what they need to do to make a go of it, she is not in favor of putting a special use permit with a high volume thing such as a dance studio in the middle of a residential area on this busy street with ingress and egress being as difficult as it can possibly be; therefore she will be voting in opposition.
Mr. Davis said that he believes that there are two very different issues here and he would like to separate them.
MOTION: By Mr. Davis, second by Mr. Kiser to approve the rezoning request.
Mr. Davis said he would make a recommendation to his fellow Commissioners to deny the request.
Mr. Revenaugh asked what the term of the proposed agreement is that Creative Arts Academy made with the church.
Mr. McClure said that the last time he visited with the applicant it was fifty years plus a twenty-five extension. He said that the church representative may choose to clarify that.
John Ellis, 5160 N. Washington, addressed the Commission. Mr. Ellis asked if they were talking about the lease on the parking lot.
Mr. Revenaugh said that was correct.
Mr. Ellis said that it is a lease on the parking lot in addition to the sale of the property. A fifty-year lease would be acceptable to the church. He wanted to add that there is parking on the other side of the education building. It’s not as large of a lot as the church parking lot but there is parking available.
Mr. Revenaugh asked if that is the lot that has access directly off of Englewood Road.
Mr. Ellis said that is correct. That drive leads to existing parking next to the education building.
Mr. Revenaugh asked if the intent was to use the church parking lot and that driveway.
Mr. Ellis said that is his understanding but that the applicant may wish to answer that. He would think she would use both parking facilities. He believes Ms. Raisher’s intent is to use the Englewood drive for staff.
Ms. Abbott said that she is opposed to a commercial business in a residential neighborhood; however, if there is any possible way this could be a done deal that it would be an asset to the neighborhood, the church and all the improvements she is making would make her be in favor of whatever it takes to be able to get her established.
Ms. McGuire said that she feels about the same way. She has heard wonderful things about the applicant; however, that is not the real issue. She thinks that rezoning could be a problem for that area; therefore she does not support it.
Mr. Whitton asked if the applicant would go through with this if she had a long term special use permit without the zoning change.
Pamela Raisher, 7209 NW Prairie View Road, addressed the Commission. Ms. Raisher said that if the special use permit were long enough to basically amortize the building out after a period of time, ideally she would like to have it for as long as she could get, but yes, she would very much like to be in this facility. She thinks it’s a great marriage. It would be good for the facility. It would be wonderful for her. It’s right around the corner from where she is and it gets her out of Kansas City and back in Gladstone. She would certainly entertain the idea of a longer term special use permit.
Mr. Whitton asked how long she would like.
Ms. Raisher joked that 100 years would be fine. She said 50 years…25 years. She would love to have as long as a term as she could get. She would like a minimum of 10 years because it is a large investment. It is going to require additional monies to be put into it to do the landscaping and the exterior things that she thinks need to be done to beautify that space and to make it as pretty as it can be.
Mr. Whitton said he doesn’t know how the Commission would approach that. He doesn’t think from what he is hearing that the zoning is going to go through. Just like everybody else he would like to see it work. He knows she is doing a great job. He would be in favor of a ten or fifteen year special use permit. He asked if he needs to make a new motion.
Chairman Hill said that at this point there is a motion on the table that needs to be voted on.
Mr. Dillingham said that he agrees with what has been said with the zoning. He doesn’t feel the City should go forward with a commercial use in an area that has been residential for that long. He would be in favor of a long term special use permit.
VOTE: Ms. Abbott No
Ms. Alexander No
Mr. Davis No
Mr. Dillingham No
Mr. Kiser No
Chairman Hill No
Ms. Lowe No
Ms. Newsom No
Mr. Revenaugh No
Mr. Steffens No
Mr. Whitton No
The motion failed.
MOTION: By Mr. Whitton, second by Ms. Abbott to approve a special use permit for a period of 15 years including the recommended conditions in the staff report.
Mr. Dillingham asked if the Commission needed to include the recommendations in the site visit report.
Mr. Davis said that he is quite concerned and not as supportive of the decision of a 15 year special use permit. There is a bad situation on the west side of the property where there is a large parking lot that has a lot of traffic today. Evening traffic is going to be facing into the yards of several single family homes. It’s a nuisance today. By allowing a special use permit they are going to take a bad situation and make it worse. He would much prefer to go to a longer term that allows the possibility of the developer to get the funding she needs for improvements because he thinks that a significant improvement needs to be made in the area where the parking lot faces the rear yards of the property. The parking lot is just in the wrong place. You don’t put a parking lot for a semi-commercial structure with a lot of night traffic in the back yards of single family houses with the lights shining into the rear of those houses. He’s not sure how, but there needs to some improvements made. His direction to the City would be that the Commission direct the City to try and find some permanent buffer between the two properties. Maybe it’s moving the parking lot ten feet. It might mean building a fence and putting a tree line in. Right now what the Commission is doing is encouraging a special use permit that will take a bad situation and make it worse. He thinks there is a opportunity to correct it. In his opinion is it much more than a simple wooden fence. It’s trying to find a way to build a permanent buffer that allows the two businesses to co-exist with out being a nuisance to the adjacent properties.
Ms. Newsom said that she thinks the Commission needs to remember to look at the total parcel of land. When they tag a 50 year parking lease agreement on to the special use permit that ties the church and the church property to providing “X” number of parking spots for this facility as long as the special use permit is in effect, she thinks they are possibly hobbling the church from doing things that they may wish or may wish not to do down the line. This is an awfully big obligation. Ms. Newsom said that she still has a strong feeling about the traffic situation. The comings and goings are not what that area needs. It is not the business or the individuals. It is strictly looking at the land situation and she thinks that by putting a business in the midst of this residential area they are headed toward spot zoning. She is extremely opposed to it.
Ms. Alexander asked Ms. Newsom what she would find an acceptable to the up-keep of these buildings so they don’t become derelict buildings.
Ms. Newsom answered that originally those buildings were built to house a school and a school-type situation. Also, they are looking as this as the applicant is looking to lease a part of this to another entity. This is something that the City has never done with special use permits in her recollection. She thinks that this property is set up to be some kind of church or church-school type operation. If the church should cease to exist there, that is a prime piece of property that that something else can be done with without it being commercially zoned.
Mr. Revenaugh said that it seems to him that he is hearing the delineation between church and business and in his view the church is a business. It might be a not-for-profit business but those neighbors that bought those houses around the church bought them knowing that there was a business right in their back yards, across the street and it hasn’t stopped anybody from buying or living in those houses. He doesn’t believe the City has a pile of complaints on hand, unless it goes back several years, about the traffic at the church. To penalize the church for finding a way to partner with another school-type business, which is real compatible with what the church’s mission is anyway which is education, simply because the Commission is afraid that the additional traffic or the ability of the church to maximize their profitability. He can see where it would have been a bad deal to rezone the property. He thinks the use is compatible and the City will be getting a nice business in Gladstone that is now in Kansas City. Mr. Revenaugh said he will be voting in favor of the motion.
Ms. Lowe said that with respect to all of the opinions expressed so far she agrees partially with both of them. She does have great concern for the residents of that area. She thinks that is very important for the Commission to consider. With the plan that Gladstone has she likes the fact that a business is relocating within Gladstone and also the fact that the church is doing partnering. In her opinion, this is a real plus for the community. She believes there is some common ground among all of the opinions and it may be that the Commission looks at just adding conditions to the special use permit. Perhaps the applicant can come back with some type of re-adapted plan to address the buffer situation with the houses. She really would not like to lose this opportunity for the City of Gladstone but she still would like to be responsive to the needs of the residential neighborhood.
Ms. Abbott said that when she was there and looked at the parking lot it struck her that if the headlights and parking were such a problem in that parking lot when the people who owned those houses along there put up fences; why didn’t they put a privacy fence up instead of chain link?
Chairman Hill said that he has concerns as far as bringing a business a residential area and yes, it is education. He doesn’t have any reservations about the applicant. It is strictly a land use issue. He is concerned that this is a little different from a five-year special use permit for a home daycare center where no one is planning on making some significant capital improvements. He doesn’t think it is fair to the applicant to allow them to make the improvements without it being a long-term special use permit but then again without any history as to how the traffic flows around this location he can kind of see where the Commission can get into problems with traffic and neighbors with the increased traffic. He is torn as to how to vote. Chairman Hill said that if maybe there was more refinement as to the parking plan or insulation from the adjacent residences and maybe some kind of a change in the front loop driveway it would help him make a decision. He has concerns about approving a 10 or 15 year special use permit when there’s no history. The City could be creating a 15 year headache.
Mr. Revenaugh said that if the intention of the side drive off of Englewood was for it to be restricted to just staff that would severely cut back on the amount of traffic off of Englewood Road. Also, maybe there is something the City can do where if they are planning on pouring a lot of money into it maybe the Commission can do a one year trial renewable special use permit where the applicant would hold off on any major investments to the property and bring it in, let the traffic flow and let the neighbors see how it is. He isn’t sure if there is a way to do this, but brining the application back in maybe one year would give the Commission a chance to see if it works.
Ms. Raisher said that the only issue she has with that is that she has been located in the Antioch Shopping Center for 27 years and her facility is very clean and very neat and very well done. Her clientele is accustomed to that. To do no improvements in that space would ruin her business. She would not put her people in that situation. The rooms need to be divided; they need to be insulated. To keep the same reputation she has had all these years she couldn’t move in and do little or nothing to improve that facility to stay in keeping with the reputation she has. That is her gut feeling. She can’t really use the facility as-is.
Mr. Revenaugh asked Ms. Raisher if what she is saying is that the largest part of her capital outlay is going to be before she starts taking kids in.
Ms. Raisher answered yes. She added that the timing is so critical because she really doesn’t have a beginning and an end to a season. She runs year round. She is however, coming to a time where she has spring dance recitals and the students have a two week break where they do national competitions. During those two weeks it is the intent to start moving the first part of June. She would like to start improvements as soon as this issue gets decided.
Mr. Revenaugh asked if there is a shorter time span that might be agreeable.
Ms. Raisher said that in order for her to move into the space improvements have to be made. The sidewalk is unsafe; she would not put the children in that situation. If she’s going to offer the services that she offers now, a canopy should really be put over that building. It needs to be painted. The interior needs to be re-done. The tumble-jungle that she has now needs to be reconstructed in the new space. There’s a lot of money that’s going to go into the new location before her students are transferred over. Her hope is to continue the Antioch location and stay there while she is doing construction and then make the transition.
Ms. Lowe said that she would like to ask the applicant if there is any opposition on her part to going back with the concerns that have been expressed here tonight and coming up with something more substantive to address those concerns.
Ms. Raisher answered that she would definitely be agreeable to that. This is a very major change in her direction. It’s a lot of money to invest and she feels positive it would be a wonderful thing for the community, but she does think there are some issues to address. She does not want to step into a situation where she is upsetting neighbors. Ms. Raisher said she did want to address Ms. Newsom’s concern about the driveway. Her idea was chain the drive off “staff only” and put up a direction sign pointing other traffic around to the other drive for the remainder of the traffic.
Mr. Davis asked Chairman Hill if he would accept a substitute motion.
Chairman Hill said that first they will need to vote on the motion that was made by Mr. Whitton.
Mr. Davis said that he is not really prepared for a “yes/no” for the motion that is on the floor but he thinks that what he has heard tonight is that the majority of the Commission seem to be amiable to a different direction so he was going to suggest that the Commission expresses support for a working relationship between the church and the business and that the Commission ask staff to work with the business to develop a special use permit that addresses their concerns for the Commission’s reconsideration at a future time.
Ms. Lowe asked if Mr. Whitton would want to withdraw his motion.
Mr. Revenaugh asked if the motion could be tabled.
Chairman Hill said that what might be more appropriate for Mr. Whitton, if he desires to, is to withdraw his motion and table this matter for a future meeting for staff to work through this and try and work something out with the applicant.
Mr. McClure said that time is probably a question for the applicant.
Charles Small, 1152 White Oak Lane, Liberty, Missouri, addressed the Commission. Mr. Small said that time is critical and they’ve gone to this point, and that’s not the Commission’s fault by any stretch, that’s just the process that they have to go through. They would like to move forward and maybe the approval and then the interim during the week that they have between now and the City Council hearing to work with staff to come up with those conditions. They are certainly aware, as is the church, that the parking is probably the greatest issue. They have had the conversation with regards to the parking lot to the east of the education building. Their plan the whole time was to put an employee only parking in that location because it’s just not conducive to in and out traffic. If at all possible, if would be great if the Commission could suggest approval and allow them to work with staff during the next week. Mr. Small said that even with their approval or denial tonight, it is still going to require a renegotiation and a reconstitution of all the language that the church has done up to this point. He understands that they may not have all the facts to vote a complete yes, but maybe they can do it with the parameters set out that the staff will then come up with a solution to the parking, lights and the buffer between the neighbors.
Chairman Hill said that the applicant understands that whether the Commission approves or disapproves the application tonight it still goes to the City Council and they will make the final decision. He suggested that the Commission vote on Mr. Whitton’s motion.
Mr. Davis asked if Mr. Whitton could add to his motion something about it being contingent upon a significant improvement of the buffering between the parking lot and the residential properties and addressing the issue of the appropriate use of the entrance on Englewood Road.
Chairman Hill asked Mr. Whitton if he was agreeable to that.
Mr. Whitton agreed; as did Ms. Abbott who had the second.
Mr. Revenaugh asked what a “significant” improvement is.
Mr. Davis said he would leave that to City staff to determine. He would hope it will be more than a wooden fence. He sees some negotiating room there.
VOTE: Ms. Abbott Yes
Ms. Alexander Yes
Mr. Davis Yes
Mr. Dillingham Yes
Mr. Kiser Yes
Chairman Hill No
Ms. Lowe Yes
Ms. Newsom No
Mr. Revenaugh Yes
Mr. Steffens No
Mr. Whitton Yes
Chairman Hill announced that the application would be sent to the City Council with a positive recommendation on April 26, 2004.
Item 6 on the Agenda: Other Business.
Mr. Wingerson asked the Commission to take a look at the sign-up sheet again for the MARC workshop on May 18, 2004 and encouraged everyone to sign up.
Ms. Newsom said that something came to her mind today when she was driving on N. Oak and she saw the contractors working on the new Walgreen’s and she could see the old brick, colonial style façade that had been covered over by the unattractive blue, standing seam siding. It brought to mind something that she used to present to kids in the school district. She went through a series of drawings of a city that start about 1875 and goes to 1990. As she went through the drawings she explained that signs changed and evolved, building architecture changed and trees seemed to disappear. Near the end of the drawings she noted how it seems that they begin to go back to a look that promotes green space and places for people to congregate. Ms. Newsom said that as she attends Gladstone on the Move meetings they talk about their vision for Gladstone. It made her think about a saying: “Good enough isn’t good enough”. She thinks that the Commission has been entrusted with the City Council and the citizens of Gladstone and that they need to think about what “can be” and shoot for a higher goal.
tem 7 on the Agenda: Communications from the City Council and the City Staff.
Mayor Beer thanked Anita for her presentation. He noted that cities evolve and through the years the changes were considered to be improvements. It’s easy for us to stand here today and look back and indict previous “improvements” as being wrong and impractical, but the fact remains that they believed it made sense at the time. He thanked the Commission for their work and again thanked Anita for her presentation.
Councilman Rudi apologized for being late. She was in a meeting with the Arts Council. She thought that the Commission would be interested to know that one of the things they would like to see is a “downtown” area. They were told it was something that is being talked about and considered and they are very interested in it.
Mr. Wingerson thanked Ms. Newsom for going to the effort to share her presentation tonight. He thanked the Commission for their great discussion this evening. It is very helpful to staff to hear their concerns. He then followed up on some questions from the last meeting. The potholes on M-1 are continuing to be discussed with MoDot. He spoke with the management of Whispering Oaks Apartment complex about the ruts where cars drive through there. They are still committed to doing something but they just aren’t sure what. He will continue to follow-up. Mr. Steffens had asked about water in the road on 64th Street. The preliminary indication is that it is probably ground water seeping up through the asphalt. Public Works will continue to monitor it and if it persists in a dry time they will test it for chlorine.
Mr. Wingerson said that at the last meeting Ms. Abbott asked about Englewood Vista and the pond. The City is being lead to believe that the pond is the responsibility of Mr. Sharhag. That is different from what the City thought. They believe that since the pond serves as stormwater detention, there is an easement from Mr. Sharhag to the developers of Englewood Vista and the City believes that part of that easement agreement was the maintenance and care for the pond. The City is trying to get a hold of that document. Mr. Wingerson continued by saying that sort of related to that is the Leimkuler pond. The pond has silted in over time. The City thought they had a solution with a development application on land that the City calls “Fata” property. There was a developer from Illinois that was interested in purchasing all of that for dense residential. That is not going to occur so they are back to square one.
Mr. Wingerson said that the Planning Commission meetings for May seem light, but staff is trying to coordinate an orientation that the Council has requested for the themselves, the Commission and the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
Item 8 on the Agenda: Communications from the Planning Commission Members.
Ms. Abbott asked if Mr. Sharhag is responsible for all the downed trees from the tornado around the pond.
Mr. Wingerson said that is kind of the root of the issue. It’s leftover tornado damage but it’s lack of maintenance just as much. What AHM is explaining to the City is that it is ultimately Mr. Sharhag’s responsibility; however, that is completely different from anything the City has been lead to believe so far. The City is trying to mediate that situation.
Ms. Lowe said that she did not mean to show any disrespect last meeting when she had to leave early but she needed to get her granddaughter home. She asked for the Commission to forgive her. She also wanted to note that it seems like the last two applicants have been in a rush to get their application pushed through. She thinks that has a tendency to make the Commission feel pressured to make it work because of the deadline. Ms. Lowe wondered if there was anything that the Commission could do to alleviate that. Maybe it’s not a normal thing, but the Commission should be able to take time to make the right decision.
Mr. Revenaugh said that he agrees with Ms. Lowe’s comment and he would like to see the staff tell future applicants about the process and that there will be no guarantee that the Commission will decide in one meeting or two meetings so that they do not feel that kind of pressure.
Mr. Wingerson commented that staff is extremely process friendly. They are always very open to different business conditions but at the same maintaining the legal publication requirements. Every applicant is provided with a calendar of how the schedule goes. Every applicant is advised that the Commission may or may not make a recommendation at the first or second meeting. In addition, the applicants are advised that the City Council usually holds their public hearing and votes that night; however, that’s not a promise or a guarantee. Mr. Wingerson said that he would say that it is not normal, but business conditions are tough right now and people are in a hurry once they make that decision.
Ms. Newsom said that not all our best decisions are made in a hurry and she refuses to be held hostage.
Ms. Alexander said that she had several things. She said that we get so frustrated with MoDot but she just got a paper from N. Carolina and that area is growing like mad. They are constructing a highway. Currently they have a 6-lane highway that is leading into a 2-lane highway. MoDot isn’t quite as bad as we think. Ms. Alexander said that as far as Anita’s presentation on doing the best at the time. She goes to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and they found that after they removed the tiles around the alter that they were glued to a marble floor. So, yeah they do the best they know at the time, but sometimes it creates headaches.
Ms. Alexander thanked staff for putting the minutes on both sides of the paper. It’s a small savings but a good one. Lastly, she said that she has always felt that the strength of any group was the diversity. It is so nice to have the disagreements and not have it be personal. She thanked her fellow Commissioners for that.
Ms. Abbott said that N. Central looks gorgeous.
Chairman Hill asked if the dance studio at 64th and Antioch is ever going to be done.
Mr. Wingerson said that they are functioning on a temporary occupancy permit and there has been a fairly lengthy documentation trail of asking and requesting that they finish. The last he remembers they said they would do it in the spring.
Mr. Revenaugh asked if there were any legal remedies.
Mr. Wingerson said he is sure there are. He asked them to be patient.
Chairman Hill asked about the fountain at Wal-Mart.
Item 9 on the Agenda: Adjournment
Chairman Hill adjourned the meeting at 8: 30 P.M.
______________________________________ Approved as submitted _____
Becky Jarrett, Recording Secretary
______________________________________ Approved as corrected _____
Brian Hill, Chairman