Preamble BY GREG WALTERS
JULY 4, 2014: When the sun comes up, I wake up. It is something that has always worked that way for me. Sometimes I may fall back asleep, but the norm is for me to make it the beginning of the day. Today was no different.
I carefully climb out of bed so as not to wake my wife, and walk to my office at the other end of the house and take my dog, Wickett, out to bring in the paper. In case you are wondering, it is Wickett’s job, who always notices any changes in the front yard, to alert me in case of peril. So far, she has been perfect in her role as watchdog of the morning.
Turning to my favorite section, the editorial pages, I see that the entire page (with the exception of a few letters to the editor), is devoted to our country’s Declaration of Independence. Given that today is the Fourth of July, it seems appropriate.
It also reminds me of a discussion held at a recent meeting of the Raytown Charter Commission.
The topic was the preamble of the Charter. There was some heated discussion over how the introductory chapter of the document should read. Lisa Emerson, the Charter Commission’s secretary, had written a preamble that brought in elements of the Declaration of Independence, Bill or Rights and the Constitution, with many other documents of western culture in attempt to set the tone for the Charter.
It immediately fell upon sharp criticism from an interesting mix of people from the left and the right. I won’t bore you with the arguments with the exception of one point brought by Commissioner and Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere when he observed that “We the People” is not found in any American documents. The graphic at the beginning of this column pretty much ends that argument. Even though it should serve as a reminder to Charter Commissioners that the group is in dire need of hiring an attorney who can help settle some of the stuff that is so stridently offered up as factual in their proceedings.
To get back on track – I wondered if those who were so vehemently opposed to the preamble which was eventually adopted, were as much aghast at the Kansas City Star’s use of ink and newsprint to reprint a document we can so easily access on the internet.
As it turns out, Emerson and fellow Charter Commissioner Ted Bowman, were able to work out a compromise on the language of the preamble. The majority of the Commission agreed with the compromise and its language was adopted. Though not as flowery as Emerson had originally penned, the finished product did capture the essence of what she intended.
Now the Commission has come to another stumbling block in its proceedings. This time it has to do with Section 1.2.
Section 1.2 re-affirms the protection of the People of Raytown. It outlines prohibitions in which the city or its officers may use in governing. The same arguments heard on the preamble are coming back around – specifically, why include something that is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and Constitution.
An interesting question that I believe the Kansas City Star inadvertently answered when it reprinted the Declaration of Independence in this morning’s paper. There is a proper place to enumerate the rights of citizens of Raytown. What better place to list those rights than in what amounts to a “constitution” written by and for the people of Raytown?
It comes down to this . . . be they civil or property rights, those rights are a subject that should not be ignored in what is essentially the City's Constitution.
|BY PAUL LIVIUS|
The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – July 01, 2014
The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds to the Wilson group for the city hall board room renovations in not to exceed $81,750.00.
Andy Noll told the Board the renovation of the boardroom had been discussed at two previous meetings and specific changes were requested by the Board of Aldermen. The requested changes were to remove the proposed storage from the back of the room, update all of the flooring and ceiling in the room. Staff has identified an alternative for the storage and the Audio/Video room. That would remove the need for the proposed storage rooms in the south portion of the Board of Aldermen meeting room and the rooms have been removed from the plan. The staff has received revised pricing for the project and includes a base price for the proposed project without the storage rooms and includes pricing for updated flooring and ceiling throughout the boardroom.
The renovation costs are:
Base Project – $77,850.09
Ceiling Replacement Add Alternate - $15,096.83
Carpet Replacement Add Alternate - $15,888.33
Lighting update Add Alternate - $10,264.25
He said the staff recommends a 5% contingency fee for the project which explains the difference between the base project expense and the $81,750.00 request for approval. If any of the alternates are approved the total approved amount will need to be increased by the corresponding amount.
They reduced the original proposal by $17,000 by eliminating the storage and Audio/Video room. They will convert the mailroom into the Audio/Video room since the city no longer sends the sewer bills out from City Hall.
Alderman Jason Greene said the staff put in a lot of hard work to reduce the costs, but he thought it was still too high. He understands the need for an ADA compliant ramp and new carpet, but he thinks the one thing really needed is new chairs for the public, which is not in the proposal.
Alderman Lightfoot said the $82,000 doesn’t include cameras. He said the cameras will be an extra $15,000. He asked what percentage of Raytown residents even has Comcast any more. There’s Direct TV, Dish Network, ATT Universe, and now Google Fiber. He said he thinks less and less have Comcast. He said a lot people in his neighborhood can’t watch the meetings because they don’t have Comcast any more. He thinks this is too much money to upgrade the Board room when the majority of residents can’t even watch the meetings.
Alderman Emerson said she is against the resolution because she thinks the wood ceiling is beautiful. It only needs to be maintained with some oil. She is against covering it with sheet rock.
Alderman Jason Green said he agreed with Alderman Lightfoot. The City needs to explore broadcasting to other providers in addition to Comcast.
Mayor Bower said the last time the City looked into adding providers, it was at a cost of approximately $5,000 per carrier. He said if he is hearing the Board correctly, there may be a way to fund additional carriers.
Alderman Mock said he thinks the project costs too much. He agreed they need the ADA ramp and new carpet, but he agrees with Alderman Emerson that it would be wrong to cover the wood ceiling.
Mayor Bower asked how much the Board is willing to spend. He said this is the third meeting this issue has been discussed. He said it is time to move forward with the project.
Alderman Mock said there was no need to replace the ceiling or the carpet. He said he understand they need the ADA ramp, but everything else is unnecessary.
The Board passed a resolution to change the authorized representative for the SRF agreement with MDNR. Since Mark Loughry is no longer our Finance Director, the city needs to replace his name with the current Interim Finance Director, Tom Cole.
The Board passed an ordinance to grant a conditional use permit to park and store business vehicles consisting of trucks, trailers. On the parking lot surfaces the owners will use the buildings to perform mechanical work and maintenance of vehicles, store building materials and supplies, rent the house and office building to a tenant; and rent one of the buildings for a similar uses at 8506 Westridge Road. John Benson told the Board the applicant was seeking to allow the following uses on the property:
1. Park / store business vehicles consisting of trucks, trailers, etc. on the parking lot surfaces.
2. Use buildings to perform mechanical work and maintenance of vehicles.
3. Store building materials and supplies.
4. Rent the house / office building to a tenant.
5. Rent one of the buildings for a similar use as described above.
Mr. Benson there were several concerns expressed at the last meeting. Following the discussion at the previous Board of Aldermen meeting, city staff discussed the storm water drainage issue and determined that the storm water coming off of the subject property is following natural drainage patterns. In regards to the parking of large trucks such as semis, etc., which the applicant said they do not have, staff recommends that a condition be added prohibiting the parking of vehicles over 20,000 lbs. in size, which is consistent with City Code regulating the maximum size of vehicles allowed to parked in a residential area. Staff has also recommended that a condition limiting the hours at which vehicles being stored on the property can be brought or taken from the property, which would be in keeping with the residential character of the area.
Kevin Foster said a couple of their vehicles are 24,000 pounds. He said he objected to the additional conditions that restricted the hours of operation. He said there may be times when they need to work past 9:00 pm to finish working on a truck, or a customer needs to come in before 7:00 am to drop off the truck.
The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance amending Section 50-107, land use table, of the code of ordinances of the City of Raytown for the purpose of allowing craft brewery. John Benson said the City staff has recently met with a business owner who is interested in operating a craft brewery with an accessory tap room in Raytown. The exact definition of a craft brewery varies, but the term typically applies to breweries that are relatively small in size, which is measured by the number of barrels annually produced. After reviewing information from various beer industry sources, the staff found that craft beer is made by a brewery with an annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less. The staff met with the perspective business owner to discuss this proposed use in relation to City’s codes and regulations. The review and discussion of the proposed use included determining if a craft brewery is an allowed use in the Industrial (M) Zoning District. A review of the M District, as well as the City’s other Zoning District’s revealed that a ‘brewery’ is not permitted in any Zoning District in the City. As such, there are two options available in order for the use to be located on the property as well as anywhere else in the City:
1) Amend the Zoning Ordinance to allow the use in certain Zoning Districts; or
2) If the use is determined to have certain aspects or intensity levels, require approval of a conditional use permit application.
In determining the appropriateness of these two options, staff reviewed the proposed use in relation to the type and intensity of other uses permitted in the City’s Zoning Districts, and contacted other cities that have craft breweries to learn how they regulate this type of use. Based upon this research, the staff found that the volume of traffic generated by a craft brewery, including both cars and trucks, is relatively low. The perspective business owner stated that the number of trucks delivering supplies and picking up the beer produced for distribution would be minimal, typically occurring only three or four times per month. The number of employees would also be relatively small at approximately 7 to 10 persons. In reviewing other permitted uses in the City’s Industrial and Commercial Zoning Districts, the staff found that the intensity of a craft brewery is similar to food / bakery product manufacturing; laundry service; manufacturing and assembly; transit facility; and warehousing and wholesale.
The staff also spoke with staff from other cities and learned that craft breweries in those cities are not an excessively intense use. Rather, the cities of Liberty and North Kansas City each have craft breweries that are located adjacent to retail and restaurant uses in their downtown commercial areas. North Kansas City also has one that is located in an industrial zoned area.
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Ever since college, I’ve been a die-hard griller. Even in the coldest Wisconsin winters, my roommates and I would bundle up, trudge a path through the snow, and light a pile of charcoal briquettes in the backyard. Today, I live Arizona, where I will gladly man a grill in 115-degree heat before I turn on the oven in my air-conditioned house. Sure, it’s crazy, but there’s something about grilling that just makes me happy. READ MORE
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