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CITY COUNCIL MEETING

MINUTES

MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2007

 

I.                    CALL TO ORDER

 

A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Liberty, Missouri was held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on June 25, 2007 with Mayor Robert T. Steinkamp presiding.  Mayor Steinkamp called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.

 

II.         INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

            The invocation was given by Council Member Paul Jenness who then led the pledge of allegiance.

 

III.       ROLL CALL

 

Roll call was answered by Paul Jenness, Ward I; Anna Marie Martin and Greg Duncan, Ward II; John Parry, Ward III; and Fred Foster and Nick King, Ward IV.  Also in attendance were Curt Wenson, City Administrator; Cynthia Boecker, Assistant City Administrator; Gary Birch, Fire Chief; Craig Knouse, Police Chief; Linda Tyree, Finance Director; Marcella McCoy, Finance Manager; Kathy Goode, Accounting Coordinator; Diana Adams, Special Projects Manager; Celia McBride, Finance Analyst; Steve Anderson, Planning & Development Director; Steve Hansen, Public Works Director; Brian Hess, City Engineer; Rebecca Wymore, City Planner; Dan Fernandez, Planner; Shawnna Funderburk, Assistant to the City Administrator; Sara Cooke, Public Relations Coordinator; Jane Sharon, Deputy City Clerk; Jason Noble, The Kansas City Star; Angie Borgedalen, Liberty Tribune and 26 members of the public.

 

IV.       APPROVE MINUTES AND SUMMARIES (SEE CONSENT AGENDA)

 

V.        CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION

 

Elizabeth Anderson, 207 E. Hurt Street, requested the Council consider a no-smoking ordinance in Liberty city parks, specifically setting a 25-foot perimeter in areas designated for children.  She stated her daughter has asthma and has to have breathing treatments.  The occurrence of asthma in children under age 17 has increased dramatically since the 1990s.  She recognized that people have a right to smoke, but her daughter has a right to be able to use the parks without being exposed to smoke.  Ms. Anderson requested that the Council consider this separately from any no-smoking policy it will review for buildings.  She stated the parks are a public system and all should have the right to use them.

 

Mayor Steinkamp stated that a Council study session to consider no-smoking policies is scheduled for July 16, 2007.

 

Fay Bedinger, 232 W. Franklin, asked the Council to do something to fix Kansas and Franklin Streets and the alleys.

 

VI.       MEETING SCHEDULE

 

VII.      CONSENT AGENDA – MOTION

 

A.        REGULAR SESSION MINUTES OF JUNE 11, 2007

 

Council Member Martin moved to approve the regular session minutes as distributed.  Council Member Duncan seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

 

B.                 EXECUTIVE SESSION MINUTES OF JUNE 11, 2007

 

Council Member Martin moved to approve the executive session minutes as distributed.  Council Member Duncan seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

 

C.                 STUDY SESSION MEETING SUMMARY OF JUNE 18, 2007

 

Council Member Martin moved to approve the study session meeting summary as distributed.  Council Member Duncan seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

 

VIII.     PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

A.        *FINAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR 36,000 SQUARE FOOT BUILDING ON TRACT 9 IN OAKWOOD BUSINESS PARK – RESOLUTION (NOT A PUBLIC HEARING)

 

Mayor Steinkamp stated the final development plan does not call for a public hearing but was placed on the agenda to be considered before the next items requiring public hearings.

 

Planner Dan Fernandez stated this application is for a 36,000 square foot building on Tract 9 of the Oakwood Business Park with one lot on 3.36 acres.  The lot has access to adequate public facilities. The building will be one-story with parking to the east and a delivery area to the west.  The site has access to Plumbers Way.  Forty-one parking spaces on the east side of the building are proposed.  The 36,000 square foot building is proposed to be constructed of concrete paneling with cultured stone accents.  The application substantially conforms to requirements set forth in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) and staff recommended approval of the application.  The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval by a vote of 7-0.

 

Council Member Martin asked if Industrial Drive would eventually be extended to the site.  Mr. Fernandez said it would eventually connect to the site.  Mrs. Martin asked if the street connection would be facing the front side of the building.  Mr. Fernandez said that was correct.

 

Council Member King moved to approve the final development plan.  Council Member Parry seconded the motion, which carried unanimously and is inscribed in Resolution No. 2302.

 

B.         *PROPERTY AT INTERSECTION OF RICHFIELD AND LA FRENZ ROADS

 

1.         AMENDMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FROM TRADITIONAL RESIDENTIAL TO CONVENTIONAL RESIDENTIAL – RESOLUTION

 

Mr. Fernandez stated the applicant is proposing to change land use designation from Traditional Residential to Conventional Residential on the City’s Future Land Use Map.  This requires an amendment to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which established a vision for future growth and development.  The site southwest of the intersection of Richfield and LaFrenz Roads is currently identified as Traditional Residential.  This type of neighborhood consists of shorter building setbacks, the use of alleys, public open spaces and has a higher density of houses than conventional developments.  Conventional Residential is characterized by detached single-family dwellings and tends to be automobile-oriented.  This has been the prominent type of housing development experienced in Liberty over the past several decades, and is developed using the standards outlined in the R-1C, standard single-family residential district.  Given the site’s proximity to other low density developments, such as Clay Meadows, amending the Future Land Use Map to designate the area as conventional residential would be appropriate.  The Blueprint for Liberty suggests that development to the east of the city keep its rural character.  A lower density development would be a better transition from the conventional residential to the west to the rural type development on the eastern side of the city.

 

Mr. Fernandez stated the staff sought direction from the Planning & Zoning Commission and now seeks direction from Council regarding this application.  The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the amendment by a vote of 7-0.

 

Council Member Martin asked if the applicant’s request to build 51 homes is part of what is being considered.  Mr. Fernandez stated this is only looking at what is appropriate for development on this site.  Mrs. Martin asked if the designation would revert back to Traditional Residential if no development comes forward.  Mr. Fernandez stated that this amendment would replace Traditional Residential with Conventional Residential land use designation for this area and that designation would remain in place unless amended in the future.

 

Council Member King referenced the discussion in the Planning & Zoning Commission minutes about water and sewer.  Mr. Fernandez stated that can be reviewed in discussion of the next application.

 

Mayor Steinkamp opened the public hearing and asked if anyone wished to speak in favor of the application.  John Roe, Roe & Epstein, 920 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri, stated he represents the applicant.  He stated that in 1999 when Traditional Residential designation was included in the Future Land Use Map, this would allow six units per acre.  The surrounding area has not developed that way and to be more in keeping with what’s in place Conventional Residential, with a lower density, is more appropriate.  He referred to the staff report, which includes the statement that conventional residential would be appropriate for this area.  Mr. Roe requested favorable consideration of the amendment.

 

Council Member Martin asked for more information about BTF Management, the applicant.  Mr. Roe stated that Jay Mueller is the applicant and his son owns the property.

 

Mayor Steinkamp asked if anyone else wished to speak in favor of the application.  Seeing none, he asked if anyone wished to speak in opposition to the application.

 

Denise Dunham, 803 S. LaFrenz, asked for a clearer understanding of the relationship between the comprehensive plan amendment and the rezoning application.  She stated she is opposed to the development as proposed.

 

Planning & Development Director Steve Anderson stated that with all applications that come forward, the staff first consults the City’s zoning map.  He added that the Comprehensive Plan establishes a vision for development and what is appropriate for the area.  If the map shows industrial development, for example, there should be an expectation that the property would be zoned for that type of use.  If the zoning does not appear consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, it is first determined whether the Comprehensive Plan can be amended.

 

Council Member King asked for clarification, stating in this case the current land use calls for dense development, so there would be Clay Meadows, which is less dense, and then rural, which is way less dense and the Traditional Residential would place dense development in between the two.  He stated that area residents are opposed to that.  Mr. Anderson stated the staff doesn’t make recommendations on amending the Comprehensive Plan because it is used by staff in making recommendations on applications.  He added that this area has always been troublesome with regard to land use designation.

 

Council Member Duncan asked if other areas around this one are designated Conventional Residential besides Clay Meadows.  East of LaFrenz is designated Rural on the Future Land Use Map and south of this area is Traditional Residential.  Mr. Duncan stated it appears this will leave a pocket of Traditional Residential if the designation is changed for this area.  Mr. Anderson stated that is correct and staff would review that as directed by Council.

 

Mayor Steinkamp reminded those wishing to speak during this public hearing that this was to address the amendment to the Comprehensive Plan only.

 

Leo Dunham, 803 S. LaFrenz Road, asked how many units per acre are permitted in Conventional Residential.  Mr. Anderson stated the density standard at the most dense for Conventional Residential is 2 to 2.75 dwelling units per acre, such as what is in Clay Meadows.  The minimum lot size is 8,000 square feet.

 

Mayor Steinkamp asked if anyone else wished to speak to the application.  Seeing none, he closed the public hearing and returned discussion to the Council.

 

Council Member Parry moved to approve the resolution.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion.  Council Member King stated this addresses how the land could be developed and is a move in the right direction so the area would not be so densely populated.  He stated he would vote in favor of the resolution.  Council Member Martin stated she agreed with this proposal to move from higher to lower density for this area.  Council Member Duncan stated his only concern was leaving the isolated piece of Traditional Residential, but the Council could wait and see what is proposed for that area.  Council Member Martin stated that it was appropriate to wait until a proposal is made for that area before considering changing the land use designation for it.

 

The motion carried unanimously and is inscribed in Resolution No. 2303.

 

2.         REZONE AND PRELIMINARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR LIBERTY FARMS SUBDIVISION – ORDINANCE

 

Mr. Fernandez stated this application requests rezoning from R-1A, Suburban Residential District, to R-1C, Standard Single-Family Residential District.  He stated the preliminary development plan meets all the requirements for providing adequate public facilities with the site having access to the City’s water and sewer system.  With the previous action amending the designation of this site to Conventional Residential this rezoning would now conform to the Comprehensive Plan.  Functional open space is to remain with seven acres undeveloped.  The application meets the requirements for conventional neighborhood developments and the staff recommended approval.  The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the application by a vote of 7-0.

 

Council Member King asked if any lots would remain unbuffered.  Mr. Fernandez stated there were two lots proposed along the open space and a third on the perimeter of the development which showed no buffering.  The proposed buffering is between the development and the adjacent properties.  Mr. King asked about a part of the plan that appeared to have

something already on it.  Mr. Fernandez stated that is an out lot which has an existing house on it.  Mr. King asked if the house is occupied.  Mr. Fernandez stated he didn’t believe it was.  Council Member Martin asked for the definition of an out lot.  Mr. Anderson stated it is a lot with an existing home that remains in the development and the development is built around it.

 

Council Member Jenness asked what improvements to the intersection would be necessary with this development.  City Engineer Brian Hess stated that the street improvements for access to the development would be addressed with the final development plan application, when more details are available.  Council Member Foster asked if any changes would be needed at the Richfield Road and LaFrenz Road intersection.  Mr. Hess stated that this development could work with the existing right-of-way.  It was anticipated that no additional lanes would be required and the roads would be left without curbs and guttering.

 

Council Member Martin asked about the extension of Goldenrain Tree.  Mr. Fernandez stated Goldenrain Tree would be extended only if necessary and the road in the development would end in that development with its extension addressed when the property to the south develops.  Mrs. Martin asked about plans for a park on the seven acres of open space being proposed.  Mr. Anderson stated it would become part of the linear park system and the trail extended.  Mrs. Martin asked about the water showing on the plan.  Mr. Anderson stated the wet pond would remain until the trail is installed or some other design is considered.  Mrs. Martin asked if the City maintains the area.  Mr. Anderson stated that, until a trail is installed, minimum maintenance is required.  Once the trail is installed, maintenance is required to keep the trail clear.  Mrs. Martin asked if the pond would be the City’s responsibility to maintain.  Mr. Hess stated it would be a storm water detention facility and would be the responsibility of the home owner’s association although the City would have access to make improvements, if necessary.

 

Council Member King asked about the water and sewer for the development.  Mr. Hess stated that a 12-inch main would be extended down Richfield Road and then along LaFrenz Road.  Mr. King stated that residents have expressed concern to him about Liberty bringing water and sewer to the area since it was annexed years ago.  He said he would like to help those residents understand what they would need to do if they were interested in connecting to City water.  Public Works Director Steve Hansen stated that to be served by Liberty, the residents would first have to be detached by the Water Supply District by which they are currently served.  The residents would have to communicate their interest directly to the Water District first before the City would get involved.

 

Council Member Martin asked if this development would resolve issues for the citizens on Easy Street.  Mr. Hess said the improvements connected with this development would not address their issues, but five fire hydrants would be added along Richfield.  Mrs. Martin asked where the detention pond is located on the proposed development.  Mr. Hess reviewed the locations, showing the drainage basins and interceptors required to extend the basin to serve it.  He stated the interceptor has to be extended to the north to serve the area and pointed out the sub-mains in relation to Clay Meadows, which follow LaFrenz Road.  The southern edge of the development cannot be served by existing mains.  Mr. Hess reviewed the storm drainage and noted the drainage follows the ridge lines with drainage to each side of the ridge line.  The northern corner drains to the north and the rest of the site drains to the south and west under Clay Meadows.  Mrs. Martin asked if the storm water issues in the area would be exacerbated by the development.  Mr. Hess stated that they would not.  Mayor Steinkamp asked if detention would be required.  Mr. Hess stated that it would not be required and, after development, most storm water would go to the pond with a small piece going to the east.

 

Mayor Steinkamp opened the public hearing and asked if anyone wished to speak to the application.  John Roe, Roe & Epstein, 920 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri, stated he represents the applicant.  He stated the property is currently zoned R-1A and there are factors that support rezoning it to R-1C.  He stated that the property has been vacant as zoned for quite a while and the rezoning request is consistent with the area zoning.  Mr. Roe stated the preliminary plan calls for frontage to exceed the required minimum.  He noted the Blueprint for Liberty talks about a sense of community and with connections to the north, south, east and west, this development would have that.  He stated the Blueprint calls for green space and this development would set aside seven acres for open space.  Mr. Roe added that benefits of this development include a variety of housing options, the size of the lots, access by foot, bike, a parking area to encourage people to park near the trail; it is close to school; there are lanes with landscaped median in the development; trees are preserved as much as they can be; the development would use the natural drainage ways and there would be sidewalks for pedestrians.  This development would be a full service community and have connectivity.  Mr. Roe requested favorable consideration of the rezoning application.

 

Lou Rittersbacher stated his address had changed over the years and is now 475 Easy Street.  He stated he’s been a resident of the area for 21 years and the reasons he moved to Liberty are disappearing.  He asked the Council to consider leaving the zoning R-1A because they will be losing the pastoral setting, but knowing it’s unlikely Council will support that recommendation, he asked Council to support Mr. Roe’s proposal, because is offers lower density.  He stated Liberty is changing to the Kansas City he left and it is no longer a small town.  He stated he would retire, sell out and won’t have to see the town’s demise.

 

Robert Axtell, 512 Easy Street, stated he is a country boy and is looking for country life near the City.  He asked the Council to leave the area like it is, to leave the sewer as it is.  This development would add water to the ditches and adding concrete adds runoff.  He asked the Council to consider adding the existing residents on to the sewer at the City and developer’s expense if this development is approved.  He said that would make them good neighbors.

 

Norman Preston, 614 S. LaFrenz Road, asked what the volume of water and what retention the developer would provide.  He said he wasn’t asking about the pond, he was asking about retention.  He said he doesn’t want a lake next to the school and this will dump into the home on the adjacent property.  He stated he has his farm terraced so the storm water runoff won’t kill the corn and beans.  He asked that the developer have to pay so much an acre and be required to build the park.  He stated the City doesn’t need an extra creek.  He stated the City inherited the Jackson property, which has a ravine, fifty years ago and hasn’t been able to do anything about it since.

 

Alex Saxon, 1210 S. LaFrenz Road, stated it sounds like the water south of the ridge would drain to the pond and into Clay Meadows, which would run into his pond.  He stated the increased traffic on LaFrenz Road would be a hazard.  There is school traffic, bicycles, and cross-country track runs out on LaFrenz Road.  He stated that road is one of the last “country-esque” roads in the City and needs to be preserved.

 

Janet Wimer, 305 S. LaFrenz Road, stated she lives next to the radio tower and always assumed that development was coming that way.  She asked what other neighborhoods had been developed by the applicant.  She stated it appears there would be two access points to the development, one on LaFrenz and one on Richfield.  She asked that the development place the exit to the north of her driveway and asked that be added as a stipulation to the rezoning application.

 

Leo Dunham, 803 S. LaFrenz Road, stated the average size of homes in the development appeared to be 700,000 square feet lots and questioned the density of housing.  Mayor Steinkamp stated this is not a final plat but the issue is the rezoning of the property.  The preliminary development plan is only a vision for the development until the final plan is brought forward.  Mr. Dunham asked what access for residents would be provided during road construction.  Mr. Anderson stated that could be confirmed with any final development plan that comes forward.  Construction would be confined to the development and might pose some inconvenience but the roads have to be kept open.

 

Denise Dunham, 803 S. LaFrenz Road, stated that a big mansion house, if kept to three acres, was in keeping with the established neighborhood.  Those who move into those houses increase traffic to Stocksdale Park.  She asked the Council to keep the integrated neighborhood that already exists as it is.

 

Mayor Steinkamp asked if anyone else wished to speak to the application.  Seeing none, he closed the public hearing.

 

Document No. 6691 was read.  There being no motion to waive the rules, Mayor Steinkamp stated the ordinance would go to second reading on July 23, 2007.

 

C.                 *AMENDMENT TO CHAPTER 30 OF THE LIBERTY CODE OF ORDINANCES, UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT CODE – ORDINANCE

 

Council Member Martin asked that the Council have the opportunity to discuss this in study session before considering the amendment.  She stated there has been a long history with signage issues and would like the newer council members to have access to some of the minutes from discussions in 1996 and 1997.  She mentioned there are two council members absent this evening and they have voiced interest in being able to participate in the discussion of this issue.  Mrs. Martin said if there is not a rush to deal with it now she would request the study session.  City Administrator Curt Wenson stated a study session could be scheduled August 6 and the ordinance returned to Council for consideration on August 27.

 

Mayor Steinkamp stated he appreciated the opportunity for further study, since the newly elected officials were faced with adopting the UDO at their first session following their taking office in 2005.  Council Member Parry said the Council had indicated its understanding of the UDO at that time.

 

Council Member Martin moved to continue the public hearing and consideration of the UDO amendments until August 27, 2007, allowing a study session first.  Council Member Foster seconded the motion.  Council Member King stated he agreed with the need for a study session.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Mayor Steinkamp opened and continued the public hearing to August 27, 2007.  He stated a study session would be scheduled for August 6.

 

Mayor Steinkamp called for a recess in the meeting at 8:20 p.m.

 

Mayor Steinkamp called the meeting back to order at 8:34 p.m.

 

D.        *LIBERTY TRIANGLE TAX INCREMENT FINANCING PLAN

 

1.         AMENDMENT TO TIF PLAN – ORDINANCE

 

Mr. Anderson reviewed the action of the TIF Commission, which on June 4, 2007 had recommended approval of the Amended Triangle TIF Plan.  He stated that this reconfigures the two project areas in the Triangle TIF District in anticipation of an Olive Garden Restaurant being constructed.

 

Mayor Steinkamp opened the public hearing and asked if anyone wished to speak to the application.  Ryan Cooke, Polsinelli, Shalton, Flanigan & Suelthaus, 6201 College Boulevard, Overland Park, Kansas, stated his firm represented the applicant and he would be happy to answer questions. 

 

Mayor Steinkamp asked if anyone else present wished to speak to the application.  Seeing none, he closed the public hearing and returned the discussion to the Council.

 

Document No. 6692 was read.  Council Member King moved to waive the rules and consider the ordinance on first reading.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

 

Council Member King moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9150.

 

2.         ACTIVATION OF PROJECT D-1 – ORDINANCE

 

Document No. 6693 was read.  Council Member Martin moved to waive the rules and consider the ordinance on first reading.  Council Member King seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

 

Council Member King moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Jenness seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9151.

 

IX.       ORDINANCES, CONTRACTS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

A.        ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF VENDOR PAYMENTS FROM JUNE 1, 2007 THROUGH JUNE 15, 2007 – ORDINANCE

 

Document No. 6694 was read.  Council Member King moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Jenness seconded the motion.  Council Member Foster asked what budget category the smart phones are paid from.  Mr. Hansen stated that the phone system was moved from Public Works to Information Services for this year’s budget.

 

Council Member Parry asked if the City receives a discount for purchases made at local stores.  Finance Director Linda Tyree stated that the City has accounts at local stores but doesn’t receive discounts special to the City.  She added there is a lot of maintenance work being done at this time of year and the purchases at the hardware stores reflects that activity.

 

Council Member Duncan asked about the high number of refunds for enrollment in programs.  Assistant City Administrator Cynthia Boecker stated that the volume of refunds always increases during enrollment cycles.

 

Vote on the motion was as follows:  Council Member Martin – yes; Council Member Foster – yes; Council Member Jenness – yes; Council Member Duncan – yes; Council Member Parry – yes; Council Member King - yes.  The motion carried unanimously; it was approved by the Chair and inscribed in Ordinance No. 9152.

 

B.         AUTHORIZATION TO REAPPLY FOR D.R.E.A.M. INITIATIVE – RESOLUTION

 

Council Member Duncan asked what the costs might be if the City’s share is twenty percent.  Mr. Anderson stated that the City doesn’t have any commitment in making application, but this initiative provides access to funding for projects that could be of interest to the City.  On those programs the City decides to pursue, the project costs would be covered by eighty percent State funds and twenty percent City funds.  Mr. Anderson added that downtown projects are more appealing when this design is in place.  Mayor Steinkamp asked for clarification that the City would have control over the application process.  Mr. Anderson stated the Council would consider any funding proposals before the City committed to them.  Council Member Parry asked what would be different from this year’s application from last year’s, which was not approved.  Mr. Anderson stated the team approach last year included Historic Downtown Liberty Inc. (HDLI), the Partnership for Community Growth & Development and City staff.  The City was strongly encouraged to reapply this year.  Mr. Parry suggested the City’s State representatives should make it happen.  Council Member King stated he spoke with HDLI’s Executive Director Rich Groves and apparently there have been major changes to this year’s application.  He stated there is a meeting scheduled to discuss the application and to get assistance with the application getting favorable consideration from State representatives.

 

Council Member King moved to approve the application.  Council Member Parry seconded the motion, which carried unanimously and is inscribed in Resolution No. 2304.

 

C.         ADOPTION OF CITY RECORDS MANAGEMENT POLICY – RESOLUTION

 

Council Member King asked what is currently in place.  Deputy City Clerk Jane Sharon stated that staff addresses record-keeping in each department due to no citywide policy being in place.  Mr. King asked about City liability related to records management.  Ms. Sharon stated that the City’s liability can be reduced by being able to refer to actions being guided by a written records management policy.  Mr. Wenson stated establishing a policy is not atypical of what cities should do and this is an important step in establishing standards for providing access to City’s open records and withholding disclosure of closed record information.  Council Member Parry asked what the staff does now without a policy in place.  Ms. Sharon stated that staff makes every effort to handle record-keeping in compliance with State statutes and City policies.  This policy will make that easier to do.

 

Council Member Martin moved to approve the policy.  Council Member King seconded the motion, which carried unanimously and is inscribed in Resolution No. 2305.

 

D.        SOUTH LIBERTY PARKWAY, PHASE I

 

1.         FINAL AMENDMENT TO CONTRACT WITH AMINO BROTHERS – ORDINANCE (SECOND READING)

 

Document No. 6688 was read.  Council Member Martin moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member King seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9153.

 

2.         ACCEPTANCE OF PROJECT – RESOLUTION (CONTINUED FROM JUNE 11, 2007 REGULAR SESSION)

 

Council Member Martin moved to accept the project.  Council Member Jenness seconded the motion, which carried unanimously and is inscribed in Resolution No. 2306.

 

3.         SETTLEMENT OF CONDEMNATION EXCEPTIONS WITH KINCADE AND KINCADE – ORDINANCE

 

Mr. Wenson stated the City has been placed in a difficult position, because agreeing to settle this matter affects the City’s capital improvements plan.  A temporary construction easement was initially valued at $5,000 and the City offered $10,000.  Somehow through a jury trial the amount became $500,000 and this is really holding the City taxpayers hostage.

 

Mr. Hansen stated that the Kincades refused to negotiate a settlement and appealed the commissioners’ award of $5,000.  The $500,000 jury award is increased by the interest of 9% a year.  This could increase the amount to over $600,000.  At the Council’s direction, staff and the legal counsel appealed the jury award.  This appeal may not be scheduled for a hearing until late this year or early next year, with the interest continuing to accrue.  Even if the City prevails in the appeal, the case could go back to a jury trial and an even higher award might be the outcome.  Legal advisors have worked with the Kincades and the City can agree to pay the $500,000 award plus $6,900 in court costs to settle the matter.  This agreement is contingent on the Council approval and full payment made not later than July 16.

 

Document No. 6695 was read.  Council Member King moved to waive the rules and consider the ordinance on first reading.  Council Member Parry seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

 

Council Member King moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Jenness seconded the motion.  Council Member Martin read the following statement for the record:

 

“I will be voting against this payment tonight.  I feel it is not in the best interest of the city to pay $500,000 for the temporary use of a 16 foot piece of land.  I feel there is a great chance that this will be setting a precedent for years to come and could eventually cause any development in this area to be cost prohibitive.  I have faith in the appeal process that we could have a new trial with a favorable outcome if we continued to pursue that avenue.  In our Action Report it states that adequate funds exist in the Roadway Development Fund to pay this settlement although the payment COULD impact future projects.  I don’t think there is any question that this payment will definitely impact future roadway projects.

 

“The Roadway Development Fund projects include I-35/69/33 Interchange work;

I-35/M-291 Interchange work; completion of the engineering design and land acquisition of the second phase of the South Liberty Parkway; and Liberty’s share for the engineering for the Flintlock overpass.  We’ve had to make cuts in all city programs over the years due to a decrease in sales tax revenues.  So the future of these projects is on the line - without a $500,000 settlement.  For all the above reasons, I will vote against payment of this settlement and would encourage other council members to see the reality of their decisions.  Two individuals will profit considerably from this and the entire city of Liberty will be paying.”

 

Council Member King read the following statement for the record:

 

“Because there is a great deal of animosity in the mind of the public toward the use of any form of condemnation, even when used correctly and legitimately as it was in this case;

because our legal counsel and co-counsel have indicated that there is a better than even chance of our losing on appeal and have recommended that we settle;

because a victory by the city in the appeals process would only result in another jury trial, which could end with the same result or worse, with even more interest being added to the total; and

because additional, critically needed city revenues will be tied up while the appeal takes place over a time frame that could extend at least a year and possibly two while the legal process goes forward, which could prevent the City of Liberty from actively moving forward with plans to complete the South Liberty Parkway and the Flintlock flyover, which are critical to pending development;

“I find it necessary to reluctantly support and encourage my fellow council members to support, the unpleasant action of approving this ordinance.  It is the least offensive option for the City and the only one that gives Liberty a controllable, known cost.  I urge my fellow council members to vote in favor of the settlement.”

 

Council Member Parry stated that this is a double-edged sword.  If the City doesn’t settle now, it could cost the City an additional $200,000 more.  If the Council votes to settle the matter, it puts the City in a difficult situation with capital projects.  He stated this could have been avoided and the City needs to be better prepared to defend itself in the future.

 

Council Member Duncan stated that the City is faced with a multitude of bad options.  In his heart, he believes this is just wrong.  In his head, it is what’s best for the citizens that needs to be considered.  Mr. Duncan stated if the City stops this now with this settlement, once it is done, the City shouldn’t ever land in this same situation again.

 

The motion carried 5-0-1.  Council Member Martin voted in opposition.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9154.

 

E.         RIGHT-OF-WAY AGREEMENT WITH UNITE PRIVATE NETWORKS, LLC – ORDINANCE

 

Document No. 6696 was read.

 

Council Member King asked if there is normally a fee associated with this type of agreement.  Mr. Hansen stated there is typically a right-of-way fee but with new state laws, cities are obligated to provide consent.  This company cannot provide cable service, so no franchise fee is involved.  Unite has provided services to schools and businesses, including work for the Liberty School District in recent years.  Mr. Wenson stated that the City’s legal counsel has worked on an agreement with Unite for several months and is now advising the City to consider the agreement.  Mr. King asked if the City is required to approve the agreement.  Mr. Hansen stated the City cannot unreasonably withhold consent for work in its right-of-way.  Mr. King asked if the $1,500 fee covered the City’s attorney fees.  Mr. Hansen stated it did and that the City is limited by new State telecom laws.  Cities must acknowledge the telecommunications industry vendors right to use the city rights-of-way.  In this instance, Unite wants access to lines existing above ground, but its request is not for citywide right-of-way access.  The City is not obligated to provide access as it does with cable, but must provide access to the right-of-way.

 

Council Member Parry asked about the difference between the right-of-way access for this project and citywide cable access.  Mr. Hansen stated the only project Unite has done in the City is with the School District.  Mr. Parry asked if there is a franchise fee associated with this agreement.  Mr. Hansen said there is not but the City is obligated to provide access to the right-of-way by State law.

 

Mr. Wenson stated they had to bring this forward to Council, but control over the City’s rights-of-way has been taken away by the State.  Mr. Parry stated he would not be in favor of waiving the rules to consider on first reading at this meeting, because he wanted more information.

 

Council Member Foster asked what is covered by this agreement.  Mr. Hansen stated the company must abide by the City’s right-of-way ordinance and pays a permit fee.  There is also control for damages that arise out of its work in the right-of-way.  He added that the City’s legal counsel was working on an agreement with Unite last year and then no action was taken until recently.  Mr. Wenson noted that cities used to have control over the boxes, but not any longer under the newly passed legislation.  Cities can continue to protect work done in the streets and the use of City property, but it cannot charge a franchise fee.

 

Council Member Duncan asked what other cities are doing.  Mr. Wenson stated this is newly enacted and Liberty has met with Gladstone and Kansas City, Missouri, but this is new, so there hasn’t been a lot of activity yet.  Mr. Duncan asked what risks were involved in not approving the agreement.  Mr. Wenson stated information could be provided to Council from the City’s legal counsel.

 

Mayor Steinkamp stated this ordinance would go to second reading on July 9, 2007.

 

X.         OTHER BUSINESS

 

A.        PURCHASE OF EQUIPMENT FOR FROM PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING CORPORATION FOR KANSAS STREET TRAFFIC SYNCHRONIZATION IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $50,000 – MOTION

 

Mr. Hansen stated the City has been concerned with the increasing traffic on Kansas Street for some time.  It is one of the busier streets in the metropolitan area.  A study approved earlier by Council made recommendations for changes to signalization along Kansas Street in Liberty.  In the Capital Improvements Plan, $75,000 was budgeted for synchronization of traffic signals along the Kansas Street corridor from Clayview Drive to the I-35 interchange.  The project costs include engineering analysis and implementing traffic detection equipment at one intersection along the corridor (at Blue Jay Drive) as well as modification to some traffic control equipment.  Staff was recently notified by the supplier that new equipment is available which could accomplish more than was anticipated in the first review.  For a little over $25,000, detection equipment could be purchased for two intersections in the corridor (adding one at Conistor) and the signal at Blue Jay Drive could be moved to Forrest.

 

Mr. Hansen continued, stating the City is working through the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) in the metro-wide program called Operation Greenlight (OGL), which addresses traffic synchronization from Flintlock to Clayview Drive.  This equipment now available would permit the City to prepare for participation in that program and become one of the first cities added in this region.  This program is integral to provide the best traffic flow.  The total cost to implement the traffic synchronization along the Kansas Street corridor is anticipated to be $113,000 with some of the funding coming from other projects.  Commencement of the storm water financing study has been delayed to incorporate the results of the citizen’s strategic planning process currently underway.  With $24,000 in that fund not yet spent it is proposed those funds be used along with $14,000 from the capital fund balance for this enhanced project.  With Council approval, this project could be in place by summer.  This project is an opportunity to address traffic concerns along Kansas Street and to greatly improve traffic flow.

 

Council Member King asked if the original equipment is still available.  Mr. Hansen said it is and this is just adding one additional piece to what was approved earlier.  This also makes the equipment being installed adaptive and won’t have to rely on manual changes.  The video equipment can be obtained without this piece, but this provides programming capabilities and higher quality cameras.  The traffic can be observed from the Internet and vehicle counts are possible without having to place other equipment in the area.  Mr. Wenson stated traffic congestion along this corridor is a complex issue and many businesses are concerned.  He added this equipment has been recommended by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

 

Council Member King asked if the original project could be completed within the original budget with the original proposed equipment purchase.  Mr. Hansen stated it could.

 

Council Member Martin asked when the state of the art equipment would be installed if approved.  Mr. Hansen stated that the project started late last year and the City has been moved up in the queue for the OGL because of the City’s efforts.  Mrs. Martin asked if the work already done would be lost if changes were made to the equipment.  Mr. Hansen said it would not.  The engineering firm hired by the City is also working on the OGL program so this goes well beyond the City’s project.

 

Council Member Martin moved to continue this matter to the next meeting to have an opportunity to get more information about it.  Council Member Parry seconded the motion.  Council Member Parry asked if the equipment could be added later.  Mr. Hansen stated it could.

 

Council Member King stated it is good to look for better ideas, but the City just spent $700,000 it hadn’t anticipated.  He added there are storm water problems and there are now huge capital project funding challenges.  He proposed the following as a substitute motion:  that the city immediately implement the Traffic Synchronization project as originally conceived, using the equipment originally envisioned in the configuration originally proposed within the $75,000 budget approved for traffic synchronization in the FY2007 budget.  He further moved that no further funds be taken from the second phase of the Stormwater Financing Study or the Capital Fund balance to complete this project.  Council Member Parry seconded the motion.

 

There was a brief discussion about the motions pending.  Mayor Steinkamp asked for a vote on the motion to continue discussion on the matter so that more information could be provided.  The motion failed 2-4-0.  Voting in opposition to the motion to continue were Council Member Foster, Council Member Duncan, Council Member King and Council Member Parry.

 

Council Member Duncan addressed the substitute motion and stated he was not in favor of the motion.  He stated that traffic is all anyone wanted to talk about in Ward II and he believes it is good to bring people here to Liberty and that helping with traffic safety is good.  He stated it is not a good idea to pass on this opportunity.

 

Council Member Jenness stated he understands the reasoning behind the request for additional funds and said he would like to have known about the issue before it was placed on the agenda.  He stated he could not approve taking more money from the storm water fund and hasn’t investigated where the dollars could come from.  Mr. Jenness stated he is not sure he is in favor of the substitute motion, and that is why he voted in favor of the continuance.

 

Council Member King stated he agreed with the comments made and wants traffic issues addressed.  He stated that is why he asked if the project could be completed with the original equipment and within the original budget.  He stated there are creeks and storm water issues associated with them in Ward IV. He added that the question of when the City is going to take care of what it already has was raised during the annexation issue.  He stated there are storm water issues now and if the fund is drained bit by bit, storm water won’t be addressed anytime soon.  He stated that the equipment already approved doesn’t have bells and whistles but makes some effort to address traffic on Kansas Street.  He emphasized that the Council promised to take care of storm water problems in this budget.

 

Council Member Duncan stated that the storm water financing study was on hold for the strategic planning process.  Mr. Hansen stated what is being proposed is using funds remaining in that fund.  The citizens’ strategic planning process will engage the citizenry.  This defers the continuation of the storm water financing study until that process clarifies the citizens’ priorities.  Mr. Duncan asked for clarification that the storm water financing study is only being deferred, not cancelled.  Mr. Hansen stated that both traffic and storm water solutions can be addressed.  Right now traffic is a problem with an identified solution that is attainable.

 

Council Member King stated he did not agree with the City starting next year’s storm water budget without the $24,000, just so the City could be the first City in the area with this equipment.  Mr. Hansen stated there are other cities with this equipment.  It is only about $2,500 more for a better camera and a logical processing unit.  Council Member Duncan stated you can’t characterize this as the only city with one.  Mr. King stated he would love to have the equipment but doesn’t want the voters to say he chose better stoplights instead of funding a storm water study.  He added funds have to be found for the Flintlock flyover and we must give the taxpayers value.  He stated this is not the first thing that needs to be done.  Storm water makes a difference to the citizens and the City can’t afford this equipment now.  He stated the City needs to be better about spending the taxpayers’ money.

 

Council Member Martin asked if there are two motions in the substitute motion.  Council Member Duncan stated he reads the motion as no further funds would be issued for this traffic project above what has already been allocated and no funds for this project would come from the storm water fund.

 

The substitute motion carried 4-2-0.  Council Member Martin and Council Member Duncan voted in opposition.

 

Council Member Parry moved to continue the audit report to another meeting.  Council Member King seconded the motion.  It was noted that the independent auditor had sat through this meeting and had scheduled her presentation for this meeting.  Council Member King withdrew his second to the motion and Council Member Parry withdrew his motion.

 

B.         PRESENTATION OF 2006 AUDIT REPORT

 

Ms. Tyree stated that the Comprehensive Annual Finance Report (CAFR) compliance report and letter from the auditor were provided to Council prior to the meeting.  Mia Frommelt with the independent CPA firm of McGladrey & Pullen reviewed its 2006 audit of the City’s finances.  The City again received an unqualified opinion, which is the highest result possible.  Some changes were made to the statistics section of this year’s report due to compliance with GASB 46, which moves equity accounts from unrestricted to restricted.  GASB 34 was also implemented last year which increased the inventory to add public infrastructure.  The fund balance shows the ability to continue for 45 to 46 days without additional revenue.  There are no transfers out of the general fund, as this fund doesn’t support other funds.  The general fund does receive transfers in from the fire sales tax.

 

An audit of federal funds was also conducted.  Had there been any discrepancies with these funds, the City would have known about them much earlier.  There is a new standard that requires different language and clarified the parameters regarding when to report.  A cost benefit analysis is conducted with each significant deficiency and no material weakness was found.

 

Council requested a study session to review the audit in relation to development of the budget.  Mr. Wenson stated that could be scheduled with the mid-year review in August.

 

XI.               MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS FROM CITY ADMINISTRATOR – None.

 

XII.            MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS FROM MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL

 

Council Member Martin asked if any of the public comments need to be addressed before the rezoning is considered on second reading.  Mr. Wenson stated it would be difficult to respond to comments unrelated to the rezoning and preliminary development plan.  The Council is considering only if the land use is appropriate for the proposed zoning.

 

Mrs. Martin asked how often the TIF Commission meets.  Mr. Anderson stated it meets as needed and minutes were recently provided to Council of the annual meeting.  Mrs. Martin stated it was useful to have the minutes from that body.

 

Mrs. Martin announced that Executive Assistant Janet Pittman was officially sworn in as a U.S. Citizen late last week.  She noted Ms. Pittman is from Canada and it took eight years for her to complete requirements for citizenship.

 

Council Member King stated residents had contacted him with concerns about traffic enforcement on Liberty Landing Road, where the speed limit is 25 MPH and there are lots of children.  He requested the police provide extra enforcement on July 4 when increased traffic will be in the area for the Liberty4thFest.

 

Mr. King stated he had received calls from people in the LaFrenz Road area and he realized a discussion of water and sewer for that area did not fit with tonight’s agenda items.  He stated many of the residents are interested in some mechanism by which they can get City water and sewer extended to their homes.  He asked staff to organize a meeting with the residents as a way to move forward with support services, particularly along Easy Street.  Mr. Wenson requested Council Member King provide the names and contact information for the people that had contacted him.

 

Mayor Steinkamp stated that Liberty4thFest on July 4 is an opportunity to enjoy a community event and see the Fountain Bluff Sports Complex.  A plan for vehicle parking has been developed and the concessions will be open for those not wanting to bring their own food and beverages.

 

XIII.     ADJOURNMENT

 

The meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

 

 

                                                                                    __________________________________

                                                                                    Mayor

Attest:

 

 

_____________________________________

Deputy City Clerk