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RAYMORE — The Raymore City Council met at their regularly scheduled time on Monday, February 10, at the Council Chambers at Raymore City Hall.
According to their website, “The Good Ranch is a 1,700 acre planned community development that when completed will have 2,741 residential dwellings and 4.5 million square feet of retail centers, business parks, and medical facilities.”
A public hearing for The Good Ranch’s rezoning application will be held on February 24.
In unfinished business, the Council discussed an amendment to the City’s Unified Development Code. The amendment “proposes to allow accessory dwelling units as a permitted use in the Agricultural, Rural Estate, and Rural Residential zoning districts.” It also establishes regulations for and a definition of such a dwelling.
“I have several more questions,” said Councilmember Ryan Wescoat. In going back and looking at the bill, it appeared to him that large buildings could be constructed in the name of “accessory dwellings” on residents’ properties — like hotels.
He and Councilmember Derek Moorhead questioned the ability of a homeowner to build an accessory dwelling that could be rented out like a hotel/motel or a duplex.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” Wescoat said in response. “By opening that door, we also open the door to all the problems that could come along with it,” he continued.
“The point is to have [more dependent individuals] located next to you so you could take care of them,” Councilmember Sonja Abdelgawad said in response to Councilmember Kevin Kellogg, who inquired about the possibility of someone improving their financial status by placing an accessory dwelling on their own property.
Moorhead spoke again saying that he isn’t concerned with people building apartment complexes on their own property, but that his fear is that someone might erect a building in their yard that overshadows the primary building. He said that a resident could build a dwelling that looks like “Arrowhead Stadium” in comparison to their house.
Hubach said that the houses in those zones are so big already that it would be very unlikely for someone to build an accessory building that’s bigger than the primary home. She then went on to say that the councilmembers opposed to the bill do not care about housing the elderly in America before Mayor Kerckhoff quickly urged for a vote on the matter.
As Councilmembers Wescoat, Kellogg, Moorhead, and Jeffery Stevens opposed and Abdelgawad, Hubach, Jason Boehner, and Robert Piepho approved, the mayor was ready to break the tie. Kerckhoff quickly voted in favor of the measure and it passed 5-4.
Before moving on to new business, a part of the consent agenda that Councilmember Kellogg questioned earlier was examined. The subject was Resolution 14-09 which was regarding “approving sending of letters to the State Board of Education.” The description of the resolution reads, “The Kansas City Mayors Caucus is requesting that each of its affiliate municipalities in Missouri send a letter to the State Board of Education asking it to implement such actions as necessary to provide the Kansas City Public Schools with temporary provisional accreditation, effectively putting a stay on student transfers.”
Councilmember Kevin Kellogg had an issue with an item on the consent agenda which he felt like was a support letter for the Kansas City School District.
“The Kansas City School District is the model of inefficiency and failure,” added Wescoat. He also thought that the resolution looked like a support letter, but he contacted someone regarding this resolution and was told that it was in no way a support letter to the District, but it was a statement saying that “their problem should stay their problem.”
Councilmember Abdelgawad was also shocked when she first saw the letter but had a different reaction. She described herself as a “soft-hearted educator” and said that she is not comfortable telling anyone to not come to the Raymore-Peculiar School District.
“There have been improvements. They are working toward success,” she said of the Kansas City School District. “We need to do what’s best for kids,” she continued.
Part of the resolution reads, “The members of the Raymore governing body are strong advocates for our local public schools. The schools that encompass the Raymore-Peculiar School District are some of the highest achieving in the in the state…The student transfers from an unaccredited school district threaten the very fabric of our community.”
Councilmember Moorhead said that when he was younger he was directly involved in several activities in the KC District that were positive and that Raymore has no ground to give an opinion on how they operate.
“I’m going to abstain because it is outside of my conscience to even have an opinion on this,” he said. Councilmember Hubach echoed his thoughts.
In the end, Councilmembers Boehner, Kellogg, and Moorhead abstained from voting, which caused confusion concerning how many votes were needed to pass the resolution.
All three councilmembers abstained because they did not believe this issue was the City’s business. Councilmembers Stevens, Wescoat, and Piepho voted in favor of the resolution while Abdelgawad and Hubach voted against. Since three members abstained, the three votes in favor were a majority (out of five total votes) and the measure passed.
In moving on to new business, the Council once again took on the idea of a recreation center in Raymore’s city limits. The Council had previously decided to remove the concept of an outdoor recreation center from the forthcoming preliminary studies and surveys, so the City Staff presented them with a contract that is within the agreed-upon scope of services. The total amount for the four-task study is $70,000. City Staff recommended that the Council agree to begin tasks one and two of the study — a citizen survey and market analysis.
A representative of SFS Architecture, City Staff’s chosen contractor, was available to answer the Council’s questions.
Councilmember Abdelgawad motioned to approve the study and Robert Piepho seconded the motion before discussion took place.
“We had a room downstairs that we were using and everyone enjoyed it and then the Police Department took it over and now we’re looking for another room,” Councilmember Hubach said.
“I don’t think the [Park Board] should have to fund any of the funds,” she continued. “I think too many changes have been made in it and it should be re-bid.”
Hubach eventually motioned to amend the bill so that the funding for study be taken from the City’s General Fund instead of the Park Sales Tax Fund. No councilmember seconded the motion and it failed.
Councilmember Moorhead reflected on the last work session Council had and said that since then he has been informed that his interpretation of terms were different than that of other councilmembers’. Although he agrees with the execution of tasks one and two, he stated that he is not comfortable with tasks three and four which include a building and site concept design and a refinement of the operations plan, respectively. Those last two tasks cost a total of $41,250.
Councilmember Wescoat questioned SFS Architecture concerning eventual blueprints for the conceptual design. The representative said that there would be a floor plan and a digital concept design but no blueprint copies available to the Council. Wescoat then took the position of Moorhead, saying that the study needs to stop after tasks one and two so that the City can cooperate with an architect to develop blueprints.
Councilmember Abdelgawad stated that she believes it is typical for a feasibility study of this kind to be performed without blueprints being in the plan.
Although Councilmember Moorhead expressed that he had concerns about the wording of the bill because of loopholes he saw in it, the measure passed 5-3 as he was joined by Stevens and Kellogg in opposition.
In another resolution, guidelines were set for City personnel providing information to the public through the production of video news updates. The guidelines basically cause appointed officials to abide by the same rules as City Staff members.
“I consider it a form of censorship…and I’m very much opposed to that,” Hubach said.
The resolution passed 7-1, with Hubach opposing.
Several other items were approved unanimously by the Council, including the following:
· Issuance of Series 2014 Bonds associated with the Galleria TIF Plan (second reading)
· 17th Amendment to the Unified Development Code, consisting of three minor amendments (second reading)
· A change in procedure for the revocation, as well as appeal of revocation, of a peddlers or solicitors license (second reading)
· The adoption of City goals, objectives, and action steps for the next few years (first reading)
· An award of contract to HDR Engineering for the design of the Owen Good Lift Station and Force Main odor control (first reading)
· A Mid-America Regional Council aerial photography project for the Kansas City metro, with a cost sharing agreement not to exceed $2,198.06 (first reading).
In closing, Tim Stidham, of Raymore, spoke in the public comments portion of the meeting to thank Public Works Director Mike Krass and the City Staff for their efforts in dealing with the heavy snow last week. He also commended councilmembers who use social media to keep their constituents informed.
The Council will meet again February 24.