May 19, 2008
Present: Council & Staff Present:
Ms. Alexander Carol Rudi, Mayor Pro-Tem
Mr. McCullough Wayne Beer, Councilman
Mr. Garnos Scott Wingerson, Assistant City Manager
Mr. Steffens Chris Helmer, Planning Specialist
Mr. Whitton Becky Jarrett, Administrative Assistant
Absent: Ms. Newsom
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 the April 7, 2008 minutes.
MOTION: By Mr. Steffens, second by Mr. West to approve the April 7, 2008, minutes as submitted. The minutes were approved as submitted.
Item 4 on the Agenda: Communications from the Audience.
Item 5 on the Agenda: Other Business- Telecommunications Regulations.
Mr. Helmer said that over the course of the last year staff internally continued to look at further regulation of cellular towers. He said that tonight he would be highlighting sections of the model ordinance that the Commission was provided in their packets.
Mr. Helmer began by explaining that this ordinance centers on issues such as appropriate location from adjacent residential property, minimizing potential adverse effects and overall compatibility. The general requirements are straightforward. They include safety, security and lighting. There are two types of support structures that are referred to which are principal uses and incidental uses. Design standards include a statement which discusses the structure being painted a neutral color consistent with the natural or built environment.
Mr. Helmer said that the ordinance does address building design materials as well as direction on landscaping. A distance requirement states that the distance the tower would be from residential properties would be at least the height of the tower.
The other unique aspect of this ordinance is the more burdensome requirement that it places on a provider. Mr. Helmer said that with the last cell tower application there really wasn’t any “teeth” in the current City regulation.
Section 2, number 8, Shared Uses discusses Tower Inventories and is significant because some towers, although not in the city limits of Gladstone, could still be used to serve our residents or vice versa. The inventory would show all towers within 1 ½ miles of the city limits of Gladstone.
Mr. Helmer continued to Section Three, Permitted Uses. This section provides a lot of flexibility for a provider in ways that aren’t as traditional as one would think. There are some permitted uses that would only require a provider to obtain a building permit if the provider were to look at a particular site such as a water tower, large transmission towers or public land.
Mr. Helmer then showed the Commission a PowerPoint presentation with examples of new and innovative towers that are being constructed in today’s cellular tower industry. He ended by stating that the purpose of this presentation is to seek the Commission’s input.
Ms. Babich said she really likes the draft regulations a lot. They should solve a lot of debate and argument at the Planning Commission meeting.
Chairman Hill said he had a few comments. Beginning on page four in the section on lighting- he said staff may want to expand that to prohibit flags displaying their logo. On page five- the distance from residentially zoned property. He asked about increasing that distance, but allowing for a waiver. He said that considering having an increased distance would give staff and the Commission/City Council more flexibility later on. If the tower was 150’ high…some residential lots are that deep. On page seven he would like verbage about requiring emergency power.
Chairman Hill also suggested a statement that mentions having the tower in a location that maximizes service to residents. He cited the example of the tower at the Knights of Columbus building and how it was being proposed to serve mostly Kansas City residents.
On page eight he commented on number eight which states that a decision will be made on the permit within 45 days of the date of the application. He wondered if that would put staff under a short deadline.
Mr. West asked if there were smaller structures would that mean there would have to be more.
Mr. Helmer answered that will probably be the case.
Mr. West asked if the cell tower were added to an existing lamp post like what was shown in the PowerPoint; would that meet the special residential requirements wouldn’t apply.
Mr. Helmer replied that it is a different way of looking at towers and no, it would not meet the requirements of a stand-along structure.
Mr. Garnos commented that he likes the ordinance as well, but asked if you would find this ordinance helpful if you were from T-Mobile.
Mr. Helmer said that in his opinion they might not like it at first, but it is a guidance document to them just like it is to staff. Up until now there hasn’t been anything for them to go by when filing an application.
The Commission was agreeable with staff moving forward with the ordinance and considering the feedback presented.
Item 6 on the Agenda: Communications from the City Council and City Staff.
Councilman Beer encouraged everyone to attend Memorial Day Services this weekend. He also reminded them of Bluesfest on June 6th and 7th. If anyone would like to volunteer please call the Chamber of Commerce. A group will be traveling to Tampa, Florida with a presentation for the All American Cities competition on June 4th.
Councilman Rudi asked the Planning Commission to spread the word about brush pick-up. If they know of anyone who has not had their brush picked up to please call Public Works.
Mr. Wingerson thanked the Commission for meeting tonight without a public hearing. He also thanked Mr. Helmer and Dan Vogel for their work on the ordinance. He hoped the Commissioner’s faired well during the tornado and thanked all those involved in any clean-up efforts or support to those efforts. Special thanks were noted to the City Council for supporting staff during the emergency.
Mr. Helmer reported that staff is reviewing the draft stages of the Comprehensive Plan. He thinks they will like the format and is hoping to begin discussion with them of the document in June.
Item 7 on the Agenda: Communications from the Planning Commission Members.
Ms. Alexander said she was very impressed with the City’s response and support during the tornado.
Ms. Babich asked how the clutter ordinance research is coming along. Mr. Wingerson said he would check and be prepared to answer next time.
Mr. West commented that in the context of the cell tower ordinance one of the provisions is that under certain circumstances the telecommunications firm will provide funding for a third party engineer to study the situation. He has mixed feelings about that due to some situations he has experienced in Kansas City. He cautioned the City about placing that provision in the ordinance.
Mr. Wingerson explained that the difference in this ordinance is that these are extremely expensive cases to combat and so what staff is trying to do in these situations is trying to protect the interest of the taxpayer and get some of the professional expertise compensated for. It is a discretionary part of the ordinance.
Ms. Abbott remarked at how bad Broadway is getting. The hill on 59th Terrace and Wyandotte is almost worse. It is so full of potholes. She thanked Mr. Helmer for all his work on the cell tower ordinance. She also commended Gladstone as a city and said that it is a privilege to live here.
Mr. McCullough said the cell tower ordinance was very well put together.
Mr. Garnos also commented on how well the City and the neighborhood dealt with the tornado.
Mr. Beer added that Gladstone has a real “can-do” attitude. The last set of numbers that he had from Public Works showed that 3,400 citizens had taken their tree damage their on their own. It is so important for those who can self-help to do so and the City does such a great job helping those who can’t.
Mr. Garnos said that he noticed that the City Council wrestled with the AutoZone application just like the Planning Commission did and asked if there was anything they could learn from it. He thought that even though the last couple of applications have complied with the regulations it doesn’t seem like anyone was real pleased with approving them.
Councilman Beer said that the one distinguishing aspect of the AutoZone was that when the project first came to be there were contingencies that were added to an ordinance that AutoZone did not comply with. He said that had they complied with the ordinance, he thinks it would have been a good project. The sales tax would have been phenomenal, but revenues can’t be the only factor.
Mr. Wingerson commented by stating that he believes the Council and Planning Commission are at both an exciting and challenging time. There is a clear sentiment starting with Gladstone on the Move and carrying through the comprehensive planning process to raise the standard of development in general. That part is clear, exciting and many people are passionate about it, but it’s also very delicate from a community perspective. Mr. Wingerson said that currently the City does not have in place the framework that is needed for the Commission and Council to get to where they need to go. He encouraged the Commission members to be patient through the summer and let the Comprehensive Plan run it’s course as well as give staff a chance to receive specific public input on the issues.
Chairman Hill said that he would not be at the next meeting.
Item 8 on the Agenda: Adjournment.
Chairman Hill adjourned the meeting at 8:35 pm.
______________________________________ Approved as submitted _____
Becky Jarrett, Recording Secretary
______________________________________ Approved as corrected _____
Brian Hill, Chairman