CITY OF SHAWNEE
COUNCIL COMMITTEE MEETING
February 2, 2016
(Shawnee Council Committee Meeting Called to Order at 7:00 p.m.)
|Councilmembers Present ||Staff Present|
|Councilmember Pflumm||City Manager Gonzales|
|Councilmember Neighbor||Deputy City Manager Charlesworth|
|Councilmember Jenkins||Assistant City Manager Killen|
|Councilmember Kemmling||Finance Director Rogers|
|Councilmember Vaught||City Attorney Rainey|
|Councilmember Sandifer||Planning Director Chaffee|
|Councilmember Kenig ||Development Services Dir. Wesselschmidt|
|Information Technology Director Bunting|
|Councilmembers Absent||Chief Codes Administrator Thompson|
|Councilmember Meyer||Communication Manager Ferguson|
A. ROLL CALL
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Good evening and welcome to tonight's Committee meeting. My name is Mike Kemmling and I’m the Councilmember from Ward II, and the Vice Chairperson of this Committee. Tonight, Council President Meyer is unable to attend, so I will be chairing the meeting in her place.
Besides myself, the Committee members present are Jim Neighbor, Ward I; Dan Pflumm, Ward I; Eric Jenkins, Ward II; Jeff Vaught, Ward III; Mickey Sandifer, Ward IV; and Brandon Kenig, Ward IV.
Before we begin our agenda tonight, I'll explain some of the procedures for public input.
During the meeting I will offer the opportunity for public input. If you would like to speak to the Committee at those times, please go forward to the podium over here and I will ask you to state your name and address for the record and then you may offer your comments. So that members of the audience can hear your comments, I would ask that you speak directly into the microphone. By policy, comments are limited to five minutes apiece. And after you are finished, please sign the form on the podium to ensure that we have an accurate record of your name and address.
I would also like to remind the Committee members to wait to be recognized and to turn on their microphones while they speak, so that we can get a clear and accurate record.
1. ENTERPRISE CENTER IN JOHNSON COUNTY PRESENTATION
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: On tonight’s agenda we have three items. The first item is the Enterprise Center in Johnson County Presentation.
The Enterprise Center in Johnson County (ECJC) is a non-profit organization that connects entrepreneurs with the resources they need to grow and develop their businesses. Melissa Roberts, Marketing Director for ECJC, will present information about their programs, their current partners, and possible opportunities to collaborate on projects to support business development and growth in Shawnee. This item is for informational purposes only and no action is required. Councilmember Kenig had asked that we invite Ms. Roberts here to present, and he also has some comments and he will then introduce Ms. Roberts.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Thank you, Councilmember Kemmling. Just wanted to welcome Melissa here and make a few comments. I’ve known Melissa for a number of years. Worked together in the start-up arena. In fact, I don’t actually remember when we first met, but we have run into each other at numerous start-up events, numerous political events since then. I recall that it was back when she was with Partnership for Technology Innovation and working to connect start-ups in Kansas City with capital where I first met her. She’s done a lot of amazing work with the Kauffman Foundation as well before landing at Enterprise Center of Johnson County. We’re very lucky and fortunate to have her here and bring her back from Boston, back to her native Kansas. And she’s been a very good resource for me kind of working on the SEED extensions for start-ups that we recently passed, bouncing off ideas with her, getting feedback, what works, what doesn’t work, ensuring that our City is receptive to the start-up community and that we have their ear so that we can attract talent and retain talent.
And one further note, and I’m sure she’ll touch upon on this as well. Under her leadership, the Enterprise Center has embarked on a program of having numerous workshops at finding capital, marketing your start-up, being able to connect and create operations that are sustainable. So, it covers a wide variety of areas. They’re very informative. They’re led by local experts in their fields and it’s also a good way if you know fellow start-up owners in the area or fellow entrepreneurs who are willing to get involved and want kind of a one-on-one in numerous areas, it’s a good route to go. They publish the workshop schedule online and send out e-mails and they’ve very affordable as well.
But without further ado, I’ll go ahead and hand it off to Melissa and thank you for being here.
MS. ROBERTS: Great. Well, thank you very much to all the members of the Council, but especially to you, Councilor Kenig. It’s always great to see you. And I am so glad to be here with you today.
As you might know, the Enterprise Center in Johnson County has been around for a number of years. We’re entering our 20th year serving entrepreneurs locally, but we’re always glad to have a new opportunity to kind of renew an understanding of our programming and talk more about the new things that have come up in the last few years. So, if you’ve come in contact with us in the past it might have looked a little bit like this. I’m not sure whose idea it was to use a destructive force as our logo, but we’ve recently changed a few things, especially in the last few years. We are very excited to be able to still offer the same programming and have all the same great associations that we’ve had for years. We actually house the Women’s Business Center, the Women’s Capital Connection and the Mid-America Angels Investment Network. They’re having a meeting at our offices right now so none of my colleagues could come.
But, you know, we’ve had the long and rich history in Johnson County. The idea for the Enterprise Center was first originated in 1989. And at that point incubation was a completely new idea. Start-ups were certainly not the norm. If you think about what Kansas City’s economy looked like in 1989 it was strikingly different, certainly not the hub that we’re growing today. So, we opened our doors as the Johnson County Business Tech Center in 1995. And since then we had a great period of support from the state during the years that K-Tech was active. And that’s when we really started to build and expertise in funding and providing capital connections to entrepreneurs here in Kansas City. We started MAA in 2006, the Mid-America Angels Network, and the Women’s Capital Connection followed soon after in 2008. And we recently moved from a facility down south in Lenexa on 87th Street into Fairway. So, we’re glad to be closer to you all in northeast Johnson County, but also closer to a lot of the center of gravity in the Kansas City start-up community like the start-up village on State Line Road in the Crossroads district. So, we’re able to have one foot in Johnson County and continue providing all the services that entrepreneurs need here locally, and then also be able to connect them to the great resources that are available throughout the City.
So, when we first kind of had a leadership change two years ago our CEO George and I started within about six months of each other. We thought we’d look back at the impact that we’ve had over the last ten years to see what was really working and what needed to change, and we found some pretty striking numbers. Over ten years we had -- we had worked with companies that had raised almost $350 million in capital. They had created almost 1,200 direct jobs and 2,600 ancillary jobs created kind of as a result of those. They generated $375 million in sales revenue for a total economic impact of $1.9 billion. So these again are the companies that we’ve worked with. And, you know, we couldn’t possibly claim to be responsible for all of that development, that would just be crazy, but cut it in half if you want to, or cut it in a quarter. It’s still quite a significant amount of money. And for the support that we’ve gotten from the County Commission during that period we think we give them a pretty good return on investment. $392,000 for every thousand dollars that’s been invested in the organization.
So, and just as a word of explanation, we’re funded by the Johnson County Commission and we have been for the entire life of our organization. We’ve also gotten intermittent state funding at times, but we constantly seek private funding as well, grants and private donations to help support our work. So, when you think about the different kinds of resources that are out there for entrepreneurs they really fall into one of three categories, advice, mentoring, funding and capital, and physical space like co-working spaces which are kind of the new trend.
So, we did a little bit of a study to find out and categorize what was available to entrepreneurs in Kansas City. When we were first created in 1995, it looked just like us in the center. By the time you go to 2013, the ecosystem had gotten a little bit more crowded which is, of course, a good thing. That means there’s all of these great resources available to entrepreneurs in Kansas City. But what we really wanted to think about was where we fit in, what’s our differentiator. Because although we’re a non-profit organization, because we get that taxpayer funding, we feel a great sense of responsibility to use it wisely and make sure that we’re not duplicating efforts that the free market has kind of taken over. So, we took a look at what does an entrepreneur’s life cycle look at and what do they need at every stage of development. And so the first stage, if you think about it, is when you get your great idea, the ideation phase. The things that govern whether or not people can move forward with that idea are a basic level of literacy and so supporting public schools is an important piece of that. And having an entrepreneurial mind set. The next is launching your business. And to do that you need the basic business skills. Knowing whether to incorporate as an LLC or an S corp or a C corp and how to do basic accounting. Then you get to the point when you’re building a high growth business, where you’re trying to develop what we in the industry call your minimum viable product, your MVP. That’s really the first iteration of what you’re building that you can take and sell to a customer and get some reasonable feedback on. That whole process is called the proof of concept process. Then as you continue to refine and build upon the processes that run your business on a day-to-day basis and create efficiency, you can move into getting a significant amount of customers gaining what we call traction basically, a demonstration that people are willing to buy what you’re selling in a larger way. And it’s funny because sometimes when we talk about entrepreneurship we think through it in the terms of supporting a great idea when really it’s all about finding a market for your product, so that’s why traction is important. And then when you get to the point where you’re trying to reach commercialization and scale your business, grow it in exponential ways, you really need capital to make that happen.
So, when you look at the programs that are available to entrepreneurs in Kansas City there’s a whole lot at the top of that funnel. And the reason it’s a funnel is because the hard truth of entrepreneurship is that not everybody who has an idea creates a successful business out of it. We all know that. People fall out of the funnel at every stage, but it’s always a learning process. So, we’re lucky to have so many great educational resources like 1 Million Cups to help with the earliest stages, like Digital Sandbox and Network Kansas and FastTrac and Pipeline at later stages. But if you look at the bottom of the funnel you’ll see that most of the programs that occur there are all really run by us. There’s not a great level of expertise in the advanced finance and funding world that it takes to really commercialize and scale a start-up, so that’s where we fit into the community. So, we fill gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem as I mentioned because we want to make sure that we’re creating efficiencies.
We also conducted a gap analysis outside of that, kind of thinking generally about what the entrepreneurial lifestyle looks like. And we’ve conducted a series of qualitative and quantitative interviews with entrepreneurs across the City to find out what they need. What we found is that they don’t struggle to find physical space or very early stage education, but they do really need help when it gets to seeking seed funding, which we categorize as that level of about $50,000 to about $250,000 to invest in your business and really gain that initial traction. They need help achieving scale, so it’s kind of both education and the money to get through that stage of development. And they also struggle to find mentors. But it’s not just us. The Brookings Institution and the Mid-America Regional Council, (MARC), also did a study a few years ago in 2014 that looked at how Kansas City was fairing compared to peer metros around the country, where we were leading the field and where we were lagging behind. And they found that we were leading our peer metropolitan areas in rates of firm formation, but we were falling far behind when it comes to the growth of innovative businesses, and that was evidenced in one way by patent applications from large companies versus small companies.
But even more troubling, there’s a big group of people that don’t make it into the funnel at all, that don’t consider entrepreneurship as a viable business option. They’re women-owned businesses that are formed far less often, minority-owned businesses, un-bankable businesses that couldn’t go out and get a loan because they don’t have the capital or collateral to satisfy that. Un-investible business. So, by that I mean businesses that a prudent investor would not put money into either because they’re too early or because there’s no exit phase. They’re never going to sell the company and the investor is never going to make money back. Or those who just don’t want to give up ownership of an equity in their business. All these people need resources, too.
So, that’s how we arrived at the focus areas that we have today. So, we do provide a little bit space, although it’s really kind of just a resource that’s there to augment our other offerings at our Fairway location. We provided education that Councilor Kenig talked about and consulting a small way. Mentoring in a much larger way, and I’ll tell you a little bit more about that in a second. We’re also offering a new micro loan program in connection with the Women’s Business Center that will help businesses find funding between $5,000 and $50,000 in that very early stage. And we also provide connections to much larger rounds of capital through the Mid-America Angels Investment Network.
So, we’re really building a center of gravity in the financial world for startups in Kansas City. So, as I mentioned, the Women’s Business Center has been running a micro loan fund in cooperation with Justine Peterson, which is a lender out of St. Louis, for a few years. It’s been remarkably successful. We have used up all the money that they have allocated to businesses in Kansas City, so the Women’s Business Center went out and looked for new opportunities to bring in more capital. What they found was a partnership with Sam’s Club’s WE Lend Initiative. So, they applied for and secured that loan. They’ll be loaning to 48 companies this year and they’ll also be putting in a CDFI application. That’s a Community Development Financial Institution. And if they receive that designation, they’ll be able to leverage an additional $5 million in funds from the SBA for micro loans to Kansas City businesses. And although it’s being run by the Women’s Business Center, I should mention it’s available to men and women, so point of confusion sometimes. We let men play too.
We also are probably most well-known for the Mid-America Angels Investment Network. If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank it’s a lot like that, but less interesting. So the process that we go through with that is we accept applications from businesses around Kansas City. We get about 150 applications a year, so it’s an in-demand program. Then we go through a pre-screening process because not all of them are necessarily viable business ideas, as everybody has heard their crazy uncle’s idea for a start-up. You know, then we go through an official screening committee meeting with the Angel investors that are members of the group and they decide what they’d like to hear more about. We go into a Q&A session and invite them back to get a little bit more info and dive in here about the workings of their company on a day-to-day basis. Then we enter into what’s called the due diligence process, so we do very, very careful examination of the company’s history and background, background checks, all the things that you would want to know if you were about to hand a check to someone you didn’t know that well. Then we negotiate a term sheet. We basically negotiate the terms of the deal just like they do on Shark Tank, but again, less exciting and dramatic. And then we close the investment. And we often stay engaged with these companies after that kind of pitch period. As a board monitor we sometimes ask for a board seat if we feel that that’s appropriate.
But we’ve been involved in some of the biggest exits and most exciting companies that are out there in Kansas City today. Aratana Therapeutics, which was a huge IPO a few years ago, MAA was their first investor. Rush Tracking Systems and Rhythm Engineering, it’s the same thing. MAA was there from the very beginning. And now we’ve invested in companies like Bulu Box, it’s a mail order health supplement company from Omaha, and Rawxies, which is a natural foods company based right here in Kansas City.
We’ve made 70 investments in total. We’ve deployed $19 million in private capital. And again, this is private capital. This is money that might not otherwise be spent in entrepreneurial ventures. We’ve had nine exits and one failure, which we think is pretty darn good. And the Women’s Capital Connection which is been active since 2008 has made 12 deals independent of those on that list and deployed an additional $2 million. They typically invest in women-led businesses.
So, you know, over the last few years we’ve really made a stark transition on the educational side from incubation, which is what we did early on for many years, to a more decentralized model of mentoring and education driven by what the entrepreneur needs when the entrepreneur needs it. So, the workshops that you mentioned have been a great marketing tool for us. There also a great resource I think two entrepreneurs, but I’m a little bit biased since I organize them. But they are on topics like capital, so how to raise debt and equity for your business, how to know which one to go after, how to go through the pitch process, how to negotiate well.
We have the second series which is called the Foundation Series. It’s legal and operational issues that entrepreneurs encounter when starting their businesses. For instance, Working with Co-Founders is one of our most popular options. What do I do when I’m forming a company with a friend? What do I do five years later when we have a 50-50 split and one of them hasn’t done anything, how do I get out of that situation?
The Marketing series which is kind of 2.0 level classes, not just how to use Twitter, how to use Facebook, although we can always recommend great partners in Kansas City that do that, but it’s more how do I set up a conversion tracking mechanism so that I know exactly how well my social media or blogging efforts are performing, how well they’re attracting people to my website.
We have the Budget series which goes through like basic, you know, how to read your basic financial statements on a day-to-day basis, a profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, all of that through how to create a financial projection for investors. So, it’s very progressive.
We have a Sales Workshop that’s very successful.
And then finally, Venture Lounge, which is a quarterly social event that we put on to help entrepreneurs meet and talk to Angel Investors in a less formal setting than kind of across the pitch table.
So, the most exciting I think, again I’m biased, and newest program that we have in our offering is our new mentoring program called the Power of Two. Just returned from Boston to be trained by MIT in their methodology for running a mentoring program. We’re very excited to apply that. This program is intended specifically for ventures that have $100,000 in annual revenue or more, so have a significant amount of traction, but they’re really struggling to grow their business. They’ve hit some kind of plateau. It’s a team mentoring model which means that a group of mentors can choose to work with that start-up because it sounds interesting or they have a related hobby or they have industry experience, but thereafter, the process is driven by the entrepreneur proactively. So, they choose when to have meetings, they choose what’s on the agenda, they follow up. If they don’t follow up after each meeting they don’t get another meeting scheduled because they’re not using people’s time wisely.
So, applications for our next class will be opening in April of this year I hope. If you know of anyone who might be a good candidate you’ll tell them to apply. And if you have any people that might be good mentors, or even better, great mentors, we’d love to have them. They’re welcome to apply for that as well.
So, beyond that program we really build what we like to think of as the center of gravity for entrepreneurship in Johnson County. As you all know Johnson County has no centralized economic development organization, so we try to bridge that gap between all the cities and the county government in the entrepreneurial or start-up world. But we represent you at all of these functions with all of these organizations, serving on boards, attending meetings, making sure that the voice of Johnson County is represented in each one of these initiatives. And the list is long. We’ve got a small but hard-working staff, excluding myself of course. But we try and make sure that we’re always there to contribute to the discussion because a lot of times, because there are so many Kansas City, Missouri-based organizations Johnson County’s voice gets a little lost in the fray. That’s what we’re here to do.
So I just wanted to end by talking briefly about, you know, what can Shawnee do to support local innovation, and we’ve had some great conversations about that. And I want to commend you all for being forward thinking from the outset and reaching out and asking for resources and asking what we can do together. So, I decided to kind of set forward some guidelines that might help you as you’re formulating policy. Of course, I can’t tell you what to do, I can just kind of help you understand what might impact entrepreneurs.
So, first, understand that there is no typical entrepreneur. There is no typecast. People -- entrepreneurs look like the person running the quiche business across the street, which has an amazing tagline by the way. Sheesh, That’s Good Quiche. And then, you know, somebody like Toby Rush who is running a multimillion dollar business that’s raised tens of millions of dollars in funding. Everyone along that spectrum is an entrepreneur. And so in every piece of legislation you have to ask yourself who really is your customer in the same way that an entrepreneur would and, you know, there’s no one-size-fits-all.
A second is cutting through red tape, it’s really important entrepreneurs obviously. I know a lot of you are business owners. You know that there’s just not enough time in the day sometimes to accomplish everything that needs to be done. And anything that you can do to help provide a streamlined point of contact, and Dave is wonderful in the work that he does to that degree, anything that you can do to help make this processes that the City deals with easier is always appreciated.
The third thing is to help encourage collision density. It’s kind of a hip term these days, but sometimes the most exciting things that happen in the entrepreneurial world are things that you can’t predict. It’s people just running into each other who then become business partners or someone getting in touch with a new mentor that helps change their perspective on what their business ought to be doing. Again, you can’t predict it, but by putting a lot of smart people, engaging people, energetic people in tight spaces, both physically and through events and socially, you can really help facilitate that.
The fourth is help entrepreneurs leverage the private capital that’s out there with grants and co-investment. So, there are a lot of great funding opportunities for entrepreneurs in Kansas City today. Things like Digital Sandbox, which is run out of Kansas City, Missouri, but sometimes has funding from cities around the area to help those entrepreneurs access proof of concept grants of up to $25,000. It’s a great way to leverage some of the money you have with resources that are available from other organizations. There also some other projects that we’re working on although they’re not ready for prime time, so I can’t jump the gun and tell you all about them in detail, but there will be more co-investment opportunities for grants and things like convertible debt that will allow cities to chip in with matching funds. That will require kind of a one-to-one match.
And the fifth thing, and the last and maybe most important thing is try to avoid picking winners and losers if you can. I know that’s kind of a loose phrase, but any way that you can formalize and decentralize the processes for getting in touch with or securing the resources that you provide it’ll help you down the line. Honestly, entrepreneurs are always looking for more and better resources. So, trying to explain to somebody, at least in my experience, why somebody got a resource and they didn’t you’ve got to have a very clear criteria to point to to make that explanation process easy. The best way to do it is to look at what the free market has kind of selected as the companies are growing and then hop on efforts that they want either through other vetting processes or other processes of gaining investment. That’s probably the best indicator of who is going to be successful.
So, that is all that I have today. I’ll take your questions if you have any, but thank you again for taking the time to listen.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Thank you, Ms. Roberts. Is there any discussion from the Council? Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Thank you. I just had one question. There has been a lot of buzz lately about lack of capital in Kansas City and what to do about that. And just I wanted your take on that. Do you understand you see that as a lack of capital or is it a case of just many entrepreneurs not being able to be -- identify that capital and having the connections that they need and making those connections? What’s your viewpoint on that?
MS. ROBERTS: So, there’s kind of two schools of thought on that. The first is there’s plenty of capital in Kansas City, just drive down Ward Parkway, you’ll see it. The second is investors in Kansas City are completely conservative, they have no appetite for risk capital investment. The answer is somewhere in the middle. When you look at the numbers of what gets funded in Kansas City there’s a gaping problem in the seed investment stage. So again, that $50,000 to $250,000 gap, there is new seed funds being created and many being raised right now throughout Kansas City to help fix that problem. And there’s a project that we’re involved in that hopefully I’ll be able to share with you all soon. But I would say aim your efforts if you’re looking at the capital world at that seed investment gap, the $50,000 to $250,000 gap, and that’s where you’ll get the most return. There’s a lot of Angel money when you get to $500,000, that kind of an investment round. And so the big problem that we see in the Angel investment work that we do is there kind of stoppage in the system and a lot of companies run out of runway. They run out of the money that it takes to get their business through the time that they can gain their kind of first few customers and prove that they have a market to an Angel investor. And that’s where $50,000 would really come in handy.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yeah. Thank you very much. Very informative.
MS. ROBERTS: Thank you. Well, if you are ever interested in a brain-storming session I’m happy to help.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. Thank you. Thank you once again. Is there any discussion from the audience? All right. Seeing none, this information or this item was for informational purposes only, so no action is required.
2. DISCUSS EXCISE TAX ABATEMENT AND POLICY STATEMENT PS-65, EXCISE TAX ABATEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Our second item tonight is to discuss the Excise Tax Abatement and Policy Statement PS-65, Excise Tax Abatement Site Development Program.
Staff annually provides a review of the activity undertaken under the Excise Tax Abatement Agreements entered into between property owners and the City. Paul Chaffee, Planning Director, will present information on the program. Staff is recommending eliminating the Site Development feature of this program at this time.
All right. Go ahead, Paul.
MR. CHAFFEE: Well, as Councilmember Kemmling indicated, annually we provide a review of the Excise Tax Abatements that have been granted by the City, which are agreements entered into by property owners in the City. The agreements abate the payment of the excise tax provided certain improvements are made, which are generally local streets, sidewalks, other utilities, and other basic improvements, which could be a certain number of houses constructed in the plats in a certain period of time, or in the case of Village of Shawnee completion of that project, or out at Westlink completion of one of the industrial buildings and then some other public improvements in the future toward the northern end of the site.
Also tonight we’ll talk a little bit about Policy Statement PS-65 that created the Excise Tax Abatement Site Development Program that will make a payment to a developer up to the amount of the excise tax for improvements that are required to be made to arterial and/or major collector streets as part of their development.
With the excise tax, in 2014, the Governing Body extended the consideration of excise tax abatements through a period of time through March 20 of 2017. Through January of 2016 17 excise tax abatement agreements have been executed. Two projects have completed the requirements set forth in the agreement, and one project received incentives under the Excise Tax Abatement Site Development Program. And of those 17 projects that we have excise tax abatement agreements on, two were for commercial plats, three were for multi-family plats, and 12 were for single-family residential plats. The total amount in excise taxes abated is $2,459,041.24.
Then a little bit about the Excise Tax Abatement Site Development Program. And this is part of the PS-65, which deals with the Economic Development programs. Because the one-time up-front cost for street improvements are also an impediment to development of unplatted property, the Governing Body created the Site Development Program that uses Economic Development Fund dollars to help support the Excise Tax Abatement offering by providing funding for required infrastructure improvements.
A little brief description of the program is that the program includes offsetting costs for required public improvements in the amount that would have been considered a credit to the excise tax. This may happen in a reimbursement to the Developer, or as a percent of the benefit district to be funded by the City. And of the two excise tax abatement site development agreements we have one of each.
This program also includes a payment to the property owner who has already paid or is paying for required public improvements up to the amount that would be calculated for the excise tax.
As I stated, two projects have been eligible for and are participating in the program. The Public Improvement Reimbursement Agreement with the developer of the Comfort Inn/Fairfield Inn project will receive a reimbursement up to the excise tax that was due for improvements being made to Renner Road. A portion of the costs for the Clear Creek Parkway project will utilize funding from this program. Funds from the Economic Development Fund will be used for $1,521,866 of the estimated $3.1 million cost of improvements to Clear Creek between Clare Road and Gleason.
Sort of to sum up the presentation, considering regarding the continuation of the Excise Tax Abatement program as scheduled for ending in March 2017, the expiration of the ordinance nears. A report on abatement projects was provided for information only. Staff will bring a report at the time, so the Governing Body can make a decision of the time frame that will provide public assistance to developers so they can time their projects in a better manner. So, we’ll bring it back in November, October or November to consider whether we want to extend the Excise Tax Abatement Program. That gives us time to meet with developers as they come in to know whether or not that program is going to continue past March of 2017, and they can sort of take their time with their projects, or do they need to get moving and get their projects done quickly and work with their engineers so that the plats can get recorded by that date. The Excise Tax Abatement Program has been successful in turning dirt. With the recent commitment to support the construction of Clear Creek Parkway through the Site Development Program, staff reviewed the forecasts for the Economic Development Fund. If further requests were made for the Site Development Program, staff is concerned that an increasing portion of the fund could be allocated to development-driven collector and arterial streets. Because the Site Development Program is provided for in policy, it sets it up as a standard incentive available to developers. Staff recommends revising PS-65 to remove the Site Development Program at this time. This doesn’t preclude the Governing Body from offering to be a partner, in some amount, as part of a benefit district to construct a road, but it also doesn’t establish that this is a standard incentive that should be expected.
So, Recommendation. The Excise Tax Abatement Site Development Program has been successful in attracting two projects that provide a significant benefit to the community. Looking ahead, the Economic Development Fund needs to maintain a balance to fund a variety of incentives and projects. Consequently, staff recommends the Governing Body approve revisions to PS-65 Economic Development Fund, discontinuing the Excise Tax Abatement Site Development Program.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Thank you, Paul. Any discussion from the Council? Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I’m all for it. I think we have had good luck with it. I know that Westlink wouldn’t have developed without the program, and we’ve got some other cool things come forward on it. But I don’t, you know, it’s kind of when you look at it this is going to play more to residential and I don’t think, you know, most of that is going to be out west. We really don’t have a residential development issue. We’re putting the roof tops up right and left, so. I’m fine with the changes. So, I would move that we, let’s see, what are we saying? Bring to the Governing Body, improve revisions to PS-65, Economic Development Fund, discontinuing Excise Tax Abatement Site Development Program.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Second.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. We have a motion and a second. Before I move on is there additional discussion? Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Well, I think it’s kind of been a useful tool.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: We’re not getting rid of it.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: [Inaudible; mic not on] I understand.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: [Inaudible; mic not on] Having it in policy, if someone else comes forward and wants to do that same thing, we really can’t say no to them and that could completely wipe out that fund that we actually are using for some pretty cool other projects. So, I don’t know if we want to tap that fund especially if you got, you know, if we look at EcoCommerce Park on the horizon, if we can ever make that happen, we’re going to need as much of that fund as possible.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Any other discussion? Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. Again, even if we take this part out of it it’s still there that we can talk about it and negotiate with the developer as we go along. So, it’s still there and we can do it. It’s just not a matter of policy to be expected so it would take additional discussions between the developer and the City.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Anyone else? Any comments from the audience? All right. Seeing none, we have a motion to the second. I’m just going to do a roll call vote real quick. I’ll start with Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. Aye.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: I’ll vote yes. Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: No.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Motion passes. (Motion passes 6-1)
[Therefore, the motion was made by Councilmember Vaught and seconded by Councilmember Neighbor to forward to the Governing Body for consideration revisions to Policy Statement, PS-65 Economic Development Fund, discontinuing the Excise Tax Abatement Site Development Program. The motion passed 6-1 with Councilmember Pflumm voting nay.]
3. DISCUSS SWIMMING POOL ENCLOSURES AND SAFETY DEVICES
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: We are now on to our third and final item on tonight's agenda discussing Swimming Pool Enclosures and Safety Devices.
On January 5, 2016, the Council Committee recommended 7-1 to forward proposed changes to regulations for swimming pool enclosures and safety devices to the Governing Body for consideration. On January 25, 2016, the City Council voted 8-0 to move the item back to the Council Committee for further discussion to discuss the issue and consider any modifications to the previously recommended option. Paul Chaffee, Planning Director, will present some additional information, and then we’ll have our discussion.
MR. CHAFFEE: At the January 25th Council meeting the Governing Body considered this item that had come from the January 5th, 2016 Council meeting. And among the items mentioned for possible review included requiring fencing on certain sized lots, conflicts with homes association restrictions, and the availability of homeowner’s insurance for the use of pool covers in lieu of surrounding enclosures.
The City’s zoning regulations require residential swimming pools to be secured by a fence to restrict entry into the residential pool. There are no specific requirements regarding the type of fence to be used, or how the gate into the fenced area is secured. The only requirement is to provide a fence at least six feet in height.
And then the 2012 International Building Code requires additional security information as well as the height of the fence only to be four feet.
Council members reviewed and discussed the exception in the code to use a power operated pool cover and the associated fencing requirements to secure residential swimming pools. As a result of that discussion, staff reviewed numerous subdivision deed restrictions to determine fencing requirements that may be included in those private documents. All those reviewed require homes association approval prior to installation of fencing. Wood fencing was the most common requirement; however, several permitted wrought iron or metal fencing. Staff notes that while most of the discussion at the January 5th meeting concerned wood fencing, alternatives such as wrought iron, wrought aluminum and other types of fencing can meet building code requirements.
Provided in your packets is a list of some of the subdivisions that we took a look at their deed restrictions to see what types of fences they allow in their subdivision documents. And these subdivisions were chosen -- I kind of did an aerial of the City and tried to hone in on areas where there were pools in the back yards and so that’s how I picked those subdivisions.
There also was discussion at the Committee meeting regarding insurance coverage. Additional information has been provided that generally major insurers will insure residences with pools that are not fenced, if they have covers that meet the manufacturer standards.
The Committee recommended amending the Building Codes to remove the exception alternative for pool covers and change the fence requirement in the Building Code to a 6-foot height. Section 3109.4 of the 2012 International Building Code would be amended to remove the exception not to require fencing for a residential swimming pool that is secured by an approved power operated cover, and amend Section AG105.2 of the 2012 International Residential Building Code to require a 72-inch fence rather than 48-inch fence be installed to secure the residential pool.
If the fencing requirement is placed in the Building Code, staff will place modifications to the Zoning Regulations on a Planning Commission Agenda. An ordinance amending the Zoning Regulations would be prepared that removes the fencing requirement so that the two codes are not in conflict. This ordinance would be taken to the Planning Commission for consideration and come forward to the Governing Body at a future date.
The previous recommendation was that the Governing Body voted 7-1 to amend the Building Codes to remove the exception for alternative pool covers and change the fence requirement in the Building Code to a six-foot height. After further discussion, staff will draft an ordinance including any final recommendation to move forward to a City Council meeting.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. Thank you, Paul. Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Mr. Chaffee, how long have we had a like a six-foot fence requirement in the City of Shawnee?
MR. CHAFFEE: I believe we’ve had a six-foot fence requirement since the mid-80s.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Prior to most of those subdivisions having a different policy --
MR. CHAFFEE: That’s correct.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: -- correct?
MR. CHAFFEE: Correct.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: So, I don’t know that those should weigh on our decisions tonight. And I’m in favor of, you know, I’m in favor of a six-foot fence and I was the last time we discussed it. I think those pool covers are great. I just -- I don’t think they’re in lieu of a six-foot fence.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I just, you know, I think we all agreed last meeting that the idea of a fence around a pool is not to keep a teenager out because if it’s a 10 foot fence and they want to get over it they’re going to get over it. It’s to keep a toddler out and that’s what we’re concerned about. And I think a four-foot fence keeps a toddler out. The reason a lot of our new neighborhoods have, I would guess have a four-foot fence regulation is for aesthetic reasons, it’s more aesthetically pleasing. So, I think to say that if you live -- because you’re putting the onus on an association board. You know, if someone wants to build a pool in my neighborhood or Wedgewood or any of the big neighborhoods, then they’re going to have to go in front of their association. Then you have a group of neighbors or they’re going to have to -- if they won’t allow them to put their pool in, then they’re going to have to allow them to put up a six-foot fence which isn’t going -- not be really appealing to their neighbors, so now you’re going to kind of pit neighbor against neighbor on that one. And that’s why I struggle with it. I mean, I’m fine with a four foot. I think it serves the same purpose. I would say for you to do a four foot, some of the comments made that, well, you can leave the gate open, so let’s say a four-foot fence with a spring-loaded gate, automatic closing gate and interior latch or whatever, but like I said, I mean we’re talking about keeping toddlers out or small children, they’re not going to scale a four-foot fence. And like I said, teenagers if you’re trying to keep them out, you have to build a wall and they’ll probably still figure it out. So, I think it just comes down to aesthetics and to push that onto some of our newer neighborhoods doesn’t make sense to me.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. We’re going to go to Mr. Sandifer first.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You know, after our last meeting I was kind of looking at it at the four-foot fence and all of this. I’ve got a very aggressive three-year-old grandson. And last weekend I watched him scale a four-foot fence in about (snapping fingers) that quick because he wanted something on the other side of it. And after that I’m going to agree with Mr. Pflumm. I think I’m going to stick with the six-foot fence because the time that this little boy could get out of the house, get to that fence, I’m talking to minutes or less and he was over that fence, across the yard and over a fence. And then you listen to people, in some cases they say, well, you need to control your kids. Right. You know, how you going to do this? You know, so I think my position appear is supposed to be to try to help keep safety in our community. You know, I think a six-foot fence would be a safety issue.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Kenig.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Mr. Kemmling.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Yeah.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Could I clarify something real quick before -- as we continue this discussion? So, Mr. Chaffee, the six-foot fence requirement that’s in our zoning regs applies to all fences whether or not there’s a pool or not, is that correct? Or it just applies to fences and pools?
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Just pools.
MR. CHAFFEE: Just around pools is the six-foot height.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: And so is there a different requirement for fences?
MR. CHAFFEE: In a commercial area it can be a taller fence.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: But in a residential area, is there any other fence requirement that --
MR. CHAFFEE: Six foot fence.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Whether you have a pool or not?
MR. CHAFFEE: [Inaudible; speak away from mic]
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Maximum.
MR. CHAFFEE: Maximum.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Where this is saying minimum.
MR. CHAFFEE: Right.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Okay. But if we remove that from the zoning regs we need to remove it just for the pools.
MR. CHAFFEE: Correct.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Okay.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: My thinking on this has changed a little bit since we met last. I did have the opportunity to go out and see Mr. Sean Wheelock’s pool cover and I appreciate him inviting me out there. And, you know, for me I think one of the issues is that the building code regulations and the zoning code regulations are broad, which I understand, but they don’t take into account, you know, we throw around the term pool cover, but that has a lot of different connotations and there’s many types of pool covers out there from something that you can just, you know, go and buy at Walmart to something that you research and buy that will cost upwards of $10,000 to $15,000. And so additionally, I have reviewed some of the more durable pool covers that are out there online that you can purchase and what comes with them. And so with that in mind I think that we need to be cognizant of residents who make that type of investment for something that that’s durable, and something that I was able to feel and to touch and to see that this is not something that somebody is going to fall through. And not only that, in the case of Mr. Wheelock he actually has a water pump, so the concerns about the danger of heavy rainfall and water accumulating, that pump is out there almost like a robotic vacuum basically sucking up that water so that there isn’t an issue or a danger was standing water either that is weighing down on those pool covers. So for me, I think that that is something that we should take into account because those residents who made that investment did so with the idea of safety in mind as well as protecting the pool. But it’s different than those covers that are just meant to keep debris out of the pool. These are pool covers that keep everything out including humans and pets. You know, I would prefer, I’m not in favor of a six-foot fence. I think a four foot would be a good compromise, but, you know, my thinking has changed on this as far as the pool covers and I will be voting no. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, in this case I agree with Councilman Sandifer because I too have little grandchildren and I raised a whole bunch of other kids too, I raised five of them and now I’ve got seven grandkids and they’re exceedingly nimble and sly and they can really do things very quickly. I believe a six-foot fence would be a minimum really. I think we got some pretty good testimony at the last meeting we had from an individual that came up and said how their toddler got over the fence in a flash just by wheeling their little tricycle over there and hopping over. It’s a pretty simple thing to negotiate a four-foot fence. So, if I was going to do a four-foot fence I would say forget the fence. I mean you’re just kind of spending money for really not creating enough barrier really to do the job. So, either a six-foot fence or no fence at all would be where I would be coming from. I’m building a pool. I don’t know if anybody else on this Council is building a pool. I’m putting a six-foot fence in because that’s going to give me peace of mind with the little kids. And I don’t want some neighborhood child crawling over a fence and getting in my pool and drowning because I would never be able to live with myself. That would be a very terrible event, and I don’t think anybody wants to live with something like that. So, I’m very pretty much adamant that I think a six-foot fence is required. And while I think these pool covers are pretty nice, I know a friend, not a friend but a neighbor down the street has one of those. And frankly, he didn’t build it to keep kids out, he built it because he thought it was a more convenient way to close up his pool and to keep leaves out and that kind of thing. So, let’s be honest about that, it wasn’t for safety or, it was for the owner’s convenience that they’re spending that money. I considered that option and decided no, I’m going to fence mine. And quite frankly, if you’ve got a good cover you can walk on those pretty much too, actually a good cover, and I’ll have a good cover on my pool as well. It ought to be for about $4,000, and under the fence is running me about 8,500. So, you know, I’m really sorry about these guys with their pool covers, but I think it needs a fence. And also I’d like to give the example of the person that’s out there with their pool and they’re out there catching a little sun and the phone rings and they have to go inside and they get to talking to their daughter or their brother-in-law or whoever it is and the next thing you know it’s an hour and a half conversation. The pool is totally uncovered during that time. I mean, and I agree with Councilman Vaught that there should be spring-loaded gates as well to make sure that fence does close because there’s nobody to make sure you’re going to close the fence any more than there’s going to be somebody to make sure you push the button and do the pool cover. So, you want something that’s going to be automated to make sure that fence closes. I think I’ve been to all the Shawnee swimming pools. That’s the kind of fences they use. It’s kind of neat. You’ve got the thing up on top to get the release to get in. You can’t just -- it’s not a side latch, something along those lines. And I think we need to go with the six-foot fence. I really feel strongly about it
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. Mr. Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You know, on the part of just allowing the pool covers I still fall back on the point that we are in the Midwest and we periodically lose power. You know, so whether or not you have a pump on it for water, for rain, or to close the pool up, if the power goes out the pool is open. If the power goes out and it’s raining and it ends up with 2 foot of water or a foot and a half water on top of it, that’s going to be there if the pump isn’t going to get out there and take it off. You know, so, I’m just trying to cover the bases over and above the power going out also.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, let’s do this. We’ve already got support, I mean Brandon, you know, it sounds like he would do a cover, but as the four-foot, I don’t know where Jim is out on this, but it seems like we’re sort of split, so why don’t we just compromise at a five-foot fence for aesthetic reasons. A six-foot fence is a tall fence, guys, which means if I’m standing at a six-foot fence I can’t see, and you know, I’m tall, but the top of that fence is about my eye level. And that’s why associations don’t want six-foot fences, it’s very intrusive. It blocks people’s views. So, you know, I mean you’re -- like I said, you’re really pushing associations into a corner when you have a guy that wants to put a pool in and you have a four-foot fence regulation in a neighborhood and then they’re going to go and make him put in a six-foot fence and he’s got a, you know, your pitting neighbor against neighbor. You know, five-foot is good. I mean, yeah, okay. It’s a foot taller. Guy puts in a six-foot privacy fence it’s like putting up a barricade. So, I mean, I think we could compromise at least a five foot. I don’t, you know, a little three-year-old toddler is not going to scale a five-foot fence in two minutes. If he does, he’s Superman and he should know how to swim.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. The five-foot fence idea, I mean I really think -- first of all they come pretty much -- a lot of them are standardized into four and six foot, so I mean I’m sure you can get a custom-built one, especially if you’re doing wood rather than a wrought iron. I’m doing wrought iron myself because it’s much more aesthetically pleasing and I’m taking into consideration my neighbors and not wanting to put just a big obstruction kind of fence up there with wood. However, I must note that when I lived over in Earnshaw Estates I had a 12-foot stockade fence around my pool and it didn’t seem to bother anybody, but that was a little excessive. It was there when I moved in, so I just lived with it. But just FYI that there have been fences bigger than six foot. But you know I agree it could be a bit of an issue as far as aesthetics, but if you go with the wrought iron kind of approach it’s pretty much see-through and there’s this -- my pool is going to be beautiful. You’ll have to come over and take a look when it’s done. It’ll even have a waterfall on it and stuff and I don’t mind people looking through my fence and seeing that, so.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Are you having a party for all of us?
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I’m going to have to do something for you guys, yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I don’t know.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: [Inaudible] come over and swim.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: May have to put them through the car wash first or something to make sure. But I think that really satisfies a lot of the problems with the obstructive nature of a wooden fence if the pool owner would go along with the wrought iron and the wrought aluminum. I just don’t want to make that a requirement because it is more expensive. And if they can’t meet that kind of requirement and they put up a six-foot fence they’re good to go.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Just a second, Dan, before I get to you. Mr. Rainey, we had talked before this meeting real quick, and I want to ask some of those questions again just to make sure we have them on the public record here.
MR. RAINEY: Those are privileged communications.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Those are privileged. Well, I’ll ask you now outside of privilege. If we were to enact a new ordinance with fences, does that mean people who already have a four-foot fence would have to replace them, or the people that don’t have a fence would have to go back and add them?
MR. RAINEY: No. I think the discussion we had before the meeting started is probably what you’re referring to. The provisions that you adopt that become effective when the ordinance is published operate prospectively rather than retroactively. The IBC and the IRC have some criminal penalty provisions in them, and I make a lot of stuff up, but the United States Constitution is the one that answers that. And Article I, I think it is says that you can’t pass any ex post facto laws, so you can’t criminalize conduct that was legal at the time it was taken prior to the adoption of your ordinance.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible] grandfather clauses?
MR. RAINEY: Pardon me?
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible] grandfather [inaudible].
MR. RAINEY: Exactly.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible] conditions.
MR. RAINEY: You’re correct.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Mr. Kemmling.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Just a second. So, the gentleman who put in the really nice safe pool cover wouldn’t have to build a fence if we pass a six-foot ordinance?
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: You’ve got to have a six foot, right? Well, that’s what I was going to address because we’ve had since the 80s, you have to have a six-foot fence around your pool.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: If you build one.
MR. RAINEY: Well --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: If he had one before that.
MR. RAINEY: I hate to get into individual specifics, you know, we have a city prosecutor who has independent discretion and jurisdiction and I can’t advise her what to do and I’m not supposed to advise her what to do and neither is, you know, our elected officials, and so I don’t want to step into that realm. But I think the answer to your question is twofold. There was a six-foot requirement in the zoning code. There was not a six-foot requirement in the building code and the residential code. So, you’re partially right. There are two answers to that question. Yes, there was a six-foot in the zoning code. No, there was not in the building code and the residential code as of the 2012 additions. The other thing that I --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: So, prior to 2012 there was a six-foot requirement in the building code as well? I want to know about --
MR. RAINEY: I believe, was it 48 inches or was it --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: So, you’ve had about a four-year hiatus, no, 3½ years of a hiatus where there’s been a hole in the thing because the zoning code and the building codes weren’t necessarily meshed.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Well, it actually had in there.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. It was still in the zoning code the whole time.
MR. RAINEY: Right. As you know there is an item pending with regard to a specific property owner and a zoning issue that is within the discretion of our city prosecutor, and I don’t think I can answer that for her without being inappropriate. So, I think you mentioned earlier something about a person who had made an investment if they, under the IBC and the IRC provisions if they made that investment and it was legal under those two codes at the time they did so, then your ordinance would not impact the prior conduct. The other item that I heard that I’m going to have to ask Paul or Steve to explain, but I believe the five-foot requirement in our city applies to a different category of pools which would be public pools which would include subdivisions and, what other kind of pools are included in that, community polls subdivisions and what?
MR. CHAFFEE: Public and hotels.
MR. RAINEY: Hotels. Is that right, hotels, motels? So there’s a five foot floating around there as well. There’s three answers to your same question. Sorry. The other -- there was one more item we talked about beforehand, but I can’t remember.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Right. That was at least one I wanted to address here. Maybe the rest will be confidentiality or privilege.
MR. RAINEY: Oh, I was just teasing you about that.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Pflumm, did you want to add?
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I maybe have a compromise here that I’d possibly be able to live with is if in a neighborhood I think you need a six-foot fence because a lot of kids around, but when somebody has got four or five or more acres, I still think they need a fence. I might be able to live with a four-foot fence on a very large piece of property. But that’s just something to throw out there, you know, if you’re interested. But anyway, outside of that I’d have to stick with a six-foot fence.
MR. CHAFFEE: Our GIS staff took a look at the parcels that are three acres or larger that have a single-family residential home on them. There are 365 of those properties. And as you can see generally most of them are in the relatively undeveloped portions of town or in subdivisions where we have larger lots or a lot -- the several that are up along Lackman Road and Maurer Road are large unplatted pieces that have never been platted that may have an older single-family home, or in some cases a newer single-family home on them. So, this would give you a feel if we did a three acre or larger how many properties would be sort of exempt from the six foot and would go to a four foot or whatever you might propose. And we just picked three acres just out of the blue, so.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Paul, what if somebody had the three-acre lot and they had a house up on the corner of it and they put a pull on it and we allowed them to put up a four-foot fence, then they developed the three-acre lot?
MR. CHAFFEE: I would think it would get back to what Ellis –
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: They get to keep their four-foot fence.
MR. CHAFFEE: -- what Ellis said that they would get to keep the -- they could keep the four-foot fence.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Okay.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Would you like to comment to that because you were whispering. Because we’d like to hear it.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: No, but I would think --
MR. CHAFFEE: I think --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I would think that that would be as long as that fence existed -- if they had to replace it.
MR. CHAFFEE: Yeah. I think the comment would be that if you split the three-acre lot --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Right.
MR. CHAFFEE: -- the other lot that’s created obviously is less than three acres in size. So, if a pool were put on that lot they would have to have the higher-sized requirement.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: No, no, I agree with all that. But so I’m with Mickey. I don’t know if that throws out the compromise or not.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: I’ll go ahead and weigh in a little bit here now that we’ve had plenty of discussion as well. I really get what Jeff is saying about the homeowners association. I think it would be odd if you’ve got a bunch of four-feet fences and you moved in thinking that and now in order for your neighbor to get a pool he’s got to put in a six, so I do see that bind that it comes in. But at the same time my first two kids they didn’t climb, but my third one does. And I saw her get on top of a six-foot dresser for a piggy bank and it blew my mind how that happened. So, my own anecdotal evidence is that the six foot would be safer to keep others out. Now, obviously these pools that are automatic I think are better to keep your children and your property safe, but it would be more to repel others to get them out. So, I’m leaning more towards the six. I do like the idea of some kind of an exception if you have a larger property because then you’re not really as concerned as keeping other people out. But that’s kind of where my head that. Does anyone -- Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: I would go along with that as far as if you have a larger property. The term that comes to mind there, you need some sort of barrier. A barrier, if it’s four feet, six feet, I don’t know, but just something. Even with three acres, even one acre, or an acre and a half or something, but I think the pool needs to have a barrier around it just because of little people. The other part about it is we talked about covers and power and thing, and again, my anecdotal evidence is my daughter. She’s had one of these pool covers like this now for I think nine years. It usually works pretty good, but sometimes it doesn’t. It is mechanical and sometimes they have problems with it and they have to call and get it repaired. You know, Murphy says if it can, it will. And again, being mechanical and man-made, you know, most of the time it will work, but then I agree with the others I would not be able to live with myself. I was thinking earlier today, you know, I spent well over 21,000 hours in the air and all sorts of training and I never harmed a hair on any of my passengers’ bodies because we were very, very careful of safety. And for that, you know, I’ve got to go with the six-foot fence I can live with. I can live with the property and maybe a smaller fence or some sort of barrier, but I just think we need to do that.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. So, I would just add that I think the exception for three acres or more I think is justified just based on what has already been reiterated primarily by you, Councilmember Kemmling. The fact that you don’t have close neighbors so there isn’t that outside external concern with people coming on the property or children nearby who are going to be crossing onto the property. And I think for those residents who move and have -- desire to have that acreage, you know, there should be some flexibility there in that area as far as the fencing goes. So I would request I think at the very least that that should be part of something that we passed.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I can’t support six feet, so you guys can make a motion to do whatever you want, but I think six-foot is too unaesthetically pleasing and especially in the neighborhoods that are being built in this City to require a six foot and put that onus on associations it doesn’t make sense.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Just a clarification, Paul. This for the size of the fencing, so specifying six feet, we’re still not specifying materials, building materials for the fence. It still -- that’s open, correct?
MR. CHAFFEE: Well, you’re not specifying specific building materials, but the building code, as we reviewed it at the last meeting, does have certain specifications that that fence has to meet regarding where the horizontal members are and how the spacing between the vertical members, that type of requirement is in the code. It doesn’t say whether it’s a wooden fence or a metal fence or whatever, they just have to meet those requirements. And then the building code is also the location where it talks about the locking mechanisms and the spring gates that need to be installed where the rezoning regulations is just a general requirement of six feet. So, I think just to not mislead the public we may just want to take the reference out of the zoning regulations, everything is in the building code and you’d go there and you’d find everything. And if we want to make a modification for the exception or the height, then that’s where we would make that modification also.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: If there’s no other comment from the Council here I’ll open it up to public discussion. Please come forward.
MR. ERLICHMAN: Ray Erlichman, (Address Omitted). I’m happy you folks are considering fencing because as some of you have already said, even though there are these nice new pool covers, and I’m speaking as a grandfather, not as a homeowner, but, and it’s already been pointed out by a couple of you, you have mechanical defects and you have electrical defects. And as Mr. Jenkins was talking about the individual who goes inside the house to talk on the phone or just somebody says, hey, kids, come on, lunchtime and well, we’re only going to be inside for 20 minutes, we can leave that cover off. And in 20 minutes a lot of things can happen. And I call that individual apathy because we see more and more of that in another venue here in Shawnee with the people that are, I’m only going to be away for three or four minutes and they leave their cars running and the key is in it and the door is unlocked and we’ve had a spike in car thefts. And it’s the same mental thought process, you know, I’m only going to be inside for a few minutes.
But something else, like I said I’m happy you folks are considering fencing. I pulled an article down from the Centers for Disease Control and I highlighted six items within the article and I’m actually only going to touch base on one. I’ll leave it with the City Clerk if you folks want to read the rest of it. The CDC article also annotates at the end of it where they got their statistics and figures from, and this was updated in October of 2014. Oh, I’m going to have a problem with that. Stephen, is there any way I can make that bigger? Okay. I’m just going to read it straight and we’ll leave it here. The first thing was the overview. “Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.” As I said, there are six items highlighted on here, but I just want to go over one of them.
“Who is most at risk? Children. Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. In 2009, among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, more than 30% died from drowning. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.”
So again, I’m happy that the Council is considering adding fencing around these swimming pools. I’m not going to get into the height thing because that’s something else, but I wanted you to have these figures from the Centers for Disease Control regarding the unintentional deaths regarding drowning of young children. I think that’s important. Thank you very much.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: You know, I just thought about something that Paul said earlier. You know, when you look at, and that’s what doesn’t make sense. If you take an apartment complex and we’re going to say, yeah, you can build a five-foot fence and, you know, the assumption is, what, there’s no children in apartments that could go climb over that fence, you know, the aesthetics of an apartment complex are vastly different than a neighborhood. So we’re going to say, yeah, you can put a five-foot fence in an apartment complex or a hotel pool or a public pool or an association pool, but if you put it in your backyard where you have neighbors right next door to you we’re going to make you put up a six-foot fence where everybody has to look at it. Yeah. I just I don’t get six-foot.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: They’ve got a six-foot fence, too.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. Any other comments from the audience? Mr. Erlichman.
MR. ERLICHMAN: This is not a comment. Ray Erlichman (Address Omitted). This is a question for you and I can’t answer it, you folks are going to have to answer it. When you talk about a different requirement for people that live on three acres or four acres or five acres, what do you do when somebody has that large acreage, but they built their house right at the edge of the acreage and they’re surrounded by other residences? If somebody has got three acres and they put their house in the middle of it, well, there’s quite a barrier there, just a natural barrier. But if somebody’s got three, four, five, six acres and they put their house right at the border of that so that they’ve got this big expanse with nothing in front of them, they’re going to be near other houses. They’re going to be real close to them. So, I don’t know. That’s just something I thought you might want to think about when you think about changing it for large acreage lots.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I agree a hundred percent on that one.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Unless there’s a [Inaudible; talking of mic]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yeah. Or some barrier, yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. Any other discussion from the audience? All right. I’ll go back. Does anyone from the Council want to discuss more before we make a motion? Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Just one small item. That is, if the commercial folks only have to build it five foot, I think maybe we should be taken look at that too, because perhaps there should be six foot. I don’t see lowering our standards to work with them, I see them raising their standards to meet with us. So, just food for thought.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: If there are no more comments I’d make a motion that we accept the third alternative that was provided to us by the staff which was to amend the building code to remove the exception alternative and change the fence requirement to six feet. And with this option, even if a pool cover is installed the building code and the zoning regulations would still require that a six-foot fence be constructed.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I’ll second it.
MR. RAINEY: Could I get some clarification because you guys have had a lot of discussion on this. You said the building code. There’s two codes they contain a six foot or a 48-inch provision and it’s the International Residential Code and the International Building Code.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay. I think staff knows what we’re talking about because I was reading the options they gave us and that’s the third one here, and I think they know what we’re talking about on that one.
MR. RAINEY: I just want to make sure you’re clear here, you’re doing both of those.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Right.
MR. RAINEY: And your comment on the other code that applies to public pools is governed by Johnson County, so we don’t have any jurisdiction over that one. That’s why we haven’t included it in your discussion.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: And I am clear. We are clear on the building code issue. But then from that third bullet that was from the first meeting we had, so I think staff’s recommendation now is that we just remove it from the zoning regulations completely.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: And I did hear Paul say that and I was fine with that as well. So, I think that’s the gist of it that we’re going with a six-foot fence and the building codes and it’s going to be an amendment and an exception to the International Building Code. And I guess Mickey seconded that.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. We have a motion and a second. If there is no further discussion I’ll do a roll call vote. Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Aye.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Aye.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Jenkins?
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Aye.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: I’ll vote aye. Mr. Vaught?
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: No. And just to clarify, I do believe in barriers, I just don’t believe in six-foot ones.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay. Mr. Sandifer?
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Aye.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: And, Mr. Kenig?
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: No. And for clarification because we’re not making an exception for those that have pool covers on the size of the fencing. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. Motion passes. (Motion passes 5-2).
[Therefore, the motion was made by Councilmember Jenkins and seconded by Councilmember Sandifer to accept the third alternative of a six-foot fence and the building codes and it’s going to be an amendment and an exception to the International Building Code. After a roll call vote, the motion passed 5-2 with Councilmembers Vaught and Kenig voting nay.]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Motion to adjourn.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I just wanted to bring something up while Carol was here and while Dan Ferguson is here. I got an email from one of my constituents. They were bringing up the situation with Deffenbaugh that there had been a number of complaints about the odor and that kind of thing. And she said, you know, there was a good article in the Dispatch, but she said I wonder why nothing is on our website. I thought, well, I’ll bring that up and maybe we want to, you know, we’re talking about improving the communications and getting as much information as possible out there. And by now maybe we should have -- maybe Dan could put something together on that to bring the people that just visit the website as opposed to reading perhaps other literature would be able to find that information and bring themselves up to speed. So, it was just to kind of --
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: I believe we have a link to the Deffenbaugh, but we’ve had -- made a conscious decision not to put that information on our website since Deffenbaugh is a private business and so we don’t feel like we should be putting that on ours and it’s their voice and they’re stating what they’re going to do and they are accountable for that, and so we felt it was better to just link to it. If you’re interested here is where you can go. And then Deffenbaugh has really beefed up their website and put some additional information out there.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: They have. They put a lot of information out.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: So, we do have a link, but we didn’t want to duplicate.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I didn’t go look at that link. I did not -- they did not say there was a link, so maybe --
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: We have a link to Deffenbaugh on our site back on the haulers.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay. If that suffices. It wasn’t brought to my attention that there was a link there for her to go look at, so.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: I believe there is. I know there is back on the hauler page.
MR. FERGUSON: Yeah. And we have a link on the City website just like, I mean, if someone was relocating and someone just had a general question of their trash hauler we have that information. We could obviously look into making that more prominent. You know, we did have a lot of internal discussion on that. Obviously I’ve been contacted a lot by residents and at that point we certainly bring them up to date whether it’s through Facebook or Twitter or just phone calls, e-mails like that, we obviously respond to them. But we did have internal discussions about that and it’s difficult. It’s a slippery slope because which situations calls for it, which situations don’t. And so at least it’s the point we kind of made the decision that, you know, as we’re contacted we’ll certainly provide them the information and get them in contact with the people they need, but we’re going to actively put that information out there because that is a private company and an issue that they’re dealing with.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, I agree. But I think Deffenbaugh has put out a lot of information on it. I think the Dispatch had covered it pretty significantly, but perhaps just in our website if it’s just something that highlights the fact that there is a link. I mean, yeah, if we could go dig in there and get down in the weeds you might find that link. But just because it’s a hot button issue right now I don’t think it’s a -- you know, make it a little prominent thing there. Here is your link. If you want to find out more about this, you know, this is not something that the city is doing, but if you want to bring yourself up to the latest and greatest on what Deffenbaugh is doing then here is how to get there and click here whatever.
MR. FERGUSON: No question.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Just something like that.
MR. FERGUSON: No, absolutely. We can definitely look at that and making it more prominent. And obviously moving forward we’re always looking at, you know, easier in terms of not only a new city website, longer on down the road but in terms of the website we have currently looking at making it easier, yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: The person I’m talking about here is pretty familiar with our website and she goes there all the time, so if she’s having trouble, then I know the average citizen is going to definitely have trouble because she’s almost a pro at our website, so.
MR. FERGUSON: Yep. We can definitely take a look at that.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: If there’s no further business for the Committee here I’ll accept a motion to adjourn.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Motion to adjourn.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Second.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. We have a motion and a second. All those in favor.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Those opposed. Meeting is adjourned. (Motion passes 7-0)
[Therefore, the motion was made by Councilmember Sandifer and seconded by Councilmember Pflumm to adjourn. The motion passed 7-0.]
(Shawnee Council Committee Meeting Adjourned at 8:21 p.m.)
I certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from the electronic sound recording of the proceedings in the above-entitled matter.
/das February 16, 2016
Deborah A. Sweeney, Recording Secretary
Stephen Powell, City Clerk