|Councilmembers Present||Staff Present|
|Councilmember Pflumm||City Manager Gonzales|
|Councilmember Neighbor||Deputy City Manager Charlesworth|
|Councilmember Jenkins||City Clerk Powell|
|Councilmember Kemmling||City Attorney Rainey|
|Councilmember Vaught||Finance Director Rogers|
|Councilmember Meyer||Public Works Director Whitacre|
|Councilmember Sandifer||IT Director Bunting|
|Councilmember Kenig||Planning Director Chaffee|
|Guest CMBR Johnston||Parks and Recreation Director Holman|
|Police Chief Moser|
|Fire Chief Mattox|
|Management Analyst Schmitz|
|Kevin Fern, Visit Shawnee|
A. ROLL CALL
MAYOR DISTLER: Good evening and welcome to tonight's meeting of the Shawnee City Council. I would ask that you please silence your electronic devices at this time.
I am Mayor Michelle Distler and I will be chairing this meeting. Tonight we have a special guest with us. Her name is Sarah Johnston and she is serving as a guest Councilmember for Ward I. Sarah is going to be a 6th grader at Monticello Trails Middle School this fall and has a strong interest in government. She has read the packet, and will join in the discussion and will cast an honorary vote on each item.
I will do a roll call at this time. Councilmember Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Guest Councilmember Johnston.
GUEST COUNCILMEMBER JOHNSTON: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Kemmling.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Here.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Meyer.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you.
B. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE
MAYOR DISTLER: Please stand and join us in the Pledge followed by a moment of silence that will be led by Sarah.
(Pledge of Allegiance and Moment of Silence)
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you. Before we begin our agenda, I'd like to explain our procedures for public input. During the meeting I will offer the opportunity for public input. If you would like to speak to the Council at any of those times, please come forward to the microphone. I will ask that you state your name and address for the record, 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 and no person may speak more than twice to any one agenda item. After you are finished, please sign the form on the podium to ensure we have an accurate record of your name and address.
I would also like to remind Councilmembers to wait to be recognized before speaking. And when you are recognized, be sure to turn on your microphone. Please turn the microphone off when you are done speaking.
In addition, while we won't do a roll call vote on every vote, I will state Councilmembers' names who vote in minority so that our listening audience will have a clear and accurate record of the vote.
C. CONSENT AGENDA
1. CONSIDER EXTENSION OF SUP-13-08-10, A SPECIAL USE PERMIT PREVIOUSLY ISSUED TO DEFFENBAUGH INDUSTRIES TO ALLOW LAND FILLING OPERATIONS IN THE PLANNED INDUSTRIAL ZONING DISTRICT GENERALLY LOCATED ON THE SW CORNER OF INTERSTATE 435 AND HOLLIDAY DRIVE.
MAYOR DISTLER: The next item on the Agenda is Public Items. Item Number 1 is to Consider Extension of SUP-13-08-10, a Special Use Permit Previously Issued to Deffenbaugh Industries to Allow Land Filling Operations in the Planned Industrial Zoning District Generally Located on the Southwest Corner of Interstate 435 and Holliday Drive.
The Planning Commission voted 9-0 to recommend that the Governing Body extend SUP-13-08-10, a special use permit issued to Deffenbaugh Industries for a period of nine months subject to the revised conditions and all other conditions previously approved as presented in the staff report. Due to the increase in odor complaints, staff is recommending the item be tabled to allow time to have an odor study conducted by an independent third party.
The recommended action is to consider tabling SUP-13-08-10, a special use permit issued to Deffenbaugh Industries to allow for an odor study.
Does anyone on the Council have any questions? Mr. Neighbor?
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I am for tabling it. I also appreciate the fact that Deffenbaugh has agreed to help in looking -- we’re all looking for an answer. Whatever it takes to get it I hope we get there. It’s going to take some time. I think we personally solved the problem with the gas. Now, it’s warm and the temperatures are heating up. Something is going on, but I think it’s important for everyone the fact that if we get, you know, we get our thoughts. The landfill people have their thoughts. I think it’s important to have an independent voice in there perhaps to give us some new ideas so we can resolve this issue once and for all and put it behind us.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yeah. I just wanted to -- what does tabling it do? I mean, Paul, if you’d -- almost every special use permit we have, I always wondered why -- we can revoke a special use permit at any given time, so tabling this thing isn’t really doing anything. I think we need to do all of our due diligence to get whatever odors are coming out of the landfill covered and all that. But by tabling it, I mean, we can still pull it, you know, a month from now or after we do a study or whatever.
MR. CHAFFEE: I think the reason that we -- Paul Chaffee, Planning Director. I think the reason that we’re recommending that it be tabled is to give adequate time for an independent third party to do some odor detection or odor sourcing out at the landfill site. So, if we need to revise conditions further we have the opportunity to do that and just do it all at one time and hopefully move on. So, I think by, you know, certainly if we approved what the Planning Commission recommended, it addresses some of the issues, but it’s not addressing the issue of the odor. I think at the time of the Planning Commission, both staff and Deffenbaugh and I think the public and the Planning Commission certainly thought that doing the new gas wells and the flares and the compression system was taking care of the landfill odor. And I think it significantly has done that but something else is going on and we just need to address it and move on our way. And if we need to modify condition to have Deffenbaugh perform some other tasks, then we can add that condition.
MAYOR DISTLER: Ms. Meyer and then Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I would just echo Councilmember Neighbor’s comments. I would support tabling it as well. I have to say I drive by it every day on my home at 48th and Woodland. And I think in the last couple of weeks it has smelled perhaps worse than it has in the nine years that I’ve lived there, so I do think there is something else going on. And I wouldn’t feel comfortable voting to approve a special use permit extension right now given the fact that I’m hearing from neighbors every day and smelling it myself. And I think we need to figure out what’s going on and figure out the best way to move forward.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Jenkins and then Mr. Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. First I’ve got a question and to follow-up with a comment. The question is, what’s the length of time we’ve got right now on the extension? How far are we into the extension and how much time is still remaining on the current extension?
MR. CHAFFEE: The current extension has basically expired. That’s why we’re looking at doing another extension of it. Now, one of the conditions of approval is that landfill operations can continue until 2043. So, you know, that’s one of the conditions. And then the reviews actually go on on a periodic basis. The last review is for a year. Planning Commission extended it for a three month period so we could work with Deffenbaugh to amend some of the conditions that related to the odor control, litter control, response to complaints and dust from entry roads. And I think we’ve done a good job, you know, addressing and modifying those conditions. But there just appears to be something else going on that I think we need to address and hopefully move on the way. I know you on the Planning Commission, Councilmember Jenkins, for years and we didn’t really have many issues with the landfill.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, we had some issues.
MR. CHAFFEE: So, you know, it sort of makes us think what goes on.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I remember getting done with a meeting one night at 4:30 in the morning.
MR. CHAFFEE: That’s right. The first expansion.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: We had some issues. Okay. The other point then. Thank you for that, Paul.
MR. CHAFFEE: And staff has been in contact with an environmental engineering firm that has experience in landfill operations and they’ve indicated that they could start work fairly quickly, but it may take about 90 days to complete the report.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay. Well, my comment then was that, you know, I’ve been pretty happy with the effort put out by Deffenbaugh when we had the serious odor problem caused by all those rains in the fall. And they worked pretty darn hard with that. Spent about $7 million to correct those issues. And really worked arm in arm with the community as much as they could. So, hopefully we can get this one resolved pretty quickly and put it behind us and I look forward to that. So, tabling it would just be a temporary measure hopefully.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: And I don’t believe it’s to any benefit or benefit to anybody, whether it’s a resident of the City or City of Shawnee or really to anybody to revoke this special use permit because the cost to remove the garbage from your house will go three to four times out of the roof of what you’re spending now. But this I believe is giving us a chance to work together with the new owners. And I think we -- from what the situation was that we had had before, they worked fairly well as Mr. Jenkins said. They worked really hard and diligent to try to dissolve the problem. And let’s see if we can get it all done again. But I think a third party may have some extra input of what the actual problems might be or some pluses to maybe help us dissolve it. I don’t have a problem tabling it at this point. You know, they’re still in business.
MAYOR DISTLER: Are there any other comments from the Council? Mr. Kemmling.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: I would have a question for either Mr. Murray or Mr. Holland. Mr. Jenkins here is talking about the roughly $7 million you guys have spent so far to try to mitigate the odor. You’ve put a lot into it obviously so far. Do you have -- do you guys have a guess at what’s causing the problem or why there’s still a problem?
MR. MURRAY: Jim Murray, (Address Omitted). Yes. We believe that the odors are coming from anaerobic yard waste, which smells very much like garbage. Actually it can have a sharper effect than what garbage does. We collect a lot of yard waste on the street. And in the month of May we had about ten inches of rain, so all the yard waste came into the landfill very, very wet. And when we get it and it’s that wet, it’s very hard to put through our grinder. We have a tub grinder that we grind all this up, turn it into mulch, windrow it out, turn it into compost that we use for daily cover on the landfill. And from our analysis and looking at wind directions when we get odor complaints in, we really feel it’s all coming from the anaerobic yard waste.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay. So, when you guys purchased the landfill you didn’t undo anything that Deffenbaugh had been doing. Is that true or --
MR. MURRAY: When Waste Management came to town?
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Yeah. Right.
MR. MURRAY: That’s correct. I mean, I was here way before Waste Management bought the company.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Because I guess what I don’t get is why we controlled odor before and you come in and you’ve done more than Deffenbaugh, but now we’re -- it seems like we’re getting more complaints.
MR. MURRAY: Well, number one, the Johnson County ban on yard waste didn’t take effect till 2012. Our volume has grown a little bit more than all those years previously because before that we would just put it into the trash and it would get mixed in with all the trash. And we had to establish a new composting area up on the landfill. And the only place we could do that where we had flat ground was up on the very south end of the property pretty adjacent to the Public Works building and close to Johnson Drive. So, that source is now very close to Johnson Drive.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay. So, you believe this composting is causing a lot of the issue and it’s --
MR. MURRAY: It’s the weight. It’s the wet yard waste that has come in that’s causing the odors. And we actually two weeks ago, I requested a variance from Johnson County to go ahead and take what very wet anaerobic yard waste we had and directly deposit it into the landfill. And actually we were told by them if we had any issues we could come to them and they would be able to work with us. Well, unfortunately they turned us down. So, now today we started grinding all that wet yard waste.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay. I don’t have any additional questions. I mean, I appreciate the fact that you guys are working to solve this problem. We have a lot of updates and so forth and I look forward to being able to get back to that spot where it’s not an offensive odor to the rest of the citizens.
MR. MURRAY: Because our normal land filling operations are as they’ve always been. And the issues that we had, oh, the fall of the year and then especially in December and January were strictly related to landfill gas that was coming from the new cell that was just put in a year ago and the terrible amounts of rain that we had back then. We all feel this is from the yard waste.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Thank you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: And I would just say that, I mean, I agree let’s table this. I’ve actually spoke to Jim a few times and I think know the contact at Deffenbaugh I talk to. So, I’m texting a lot and calling and, you know, when I smell it, which was quite often, but I do want to learn more about the yard waste because that’s something that was brought to my attention just last time we met. And it’s something I’ve had some conversation with him Jim about some other people and done my own research around the country. And my understanding is there’s landfills around the country that have actually reversed their programs on composting yard waste because of odor issues and the odor it causes. But whether that’s it or not we’re going to find out by doing an independent study. But that’s kind of why I had that idea a while back let’s get a third party to look at this because, you know, we say one thing, the county says something, they say something. I just want somebody to come in and say, no, this is what’s doing it and then we know which way to go forward. So, I think let’s table this and see what we come up with.
MAYOR DISTLER: My understanding with the yard waste as well, and like I said, I don’t speak waste management, so correct me if I’m wrong. But not only the odor, but by not adding it in with the trash it actually slows down the process of the trash breaking down. So, we’re actually being less green, if I understand correctly, by not putting it in the landfill because it slows the trash down, is that correct?
MR. MURRAY: That is correct.
MAYOR DISTLER: Are there any other questions or comments from the Council?
MR. HOLLAND: Yes. I’d like to make a couple of comments. My name is Curtis Holland. I’m legal counsel for Deffenbaugh. My address is (Address Omitted) Overland Park, Kansas. I want to say thank you for your discussion tonight. And just to put onto the record Deffenbaugh’s willingness to have the study move forward. I talked with Carol and Vicki about it on Friday and it was sort of a surprise to get the call because I wasn’t aware of some of these issue in terms of the recent odor complaints. And so I did talk and get back with -- I got back with our client, talked with Carol and Vicki later on Friday and indicated that we would be, you know, more than cooperative in terms of working through a study. Of course, we wanted to have some input on who they would select and the scope of the study. And Carol indicated that we would work together on that. So, with that, we’re comfortable moving forward in that direction.
I would like to make a comment or two with respect to why do we table it. And frankly, just for the record, we would prefer that the Council take action on it and extend the SUP for a couple of reasons. One, is we did work really hard with staff to draw some modifications or draft modifications to make the operations more clear in terms of what our responsibility was. And we think that the language in the stipulations does that. And that there is a benefit to having those acted upon and put in place rather than delay. We’re going to continue to work with the City in terms of the study. And so our view is there’s really not a great benefit to delaying action on the extension of the SUP for a nine-month period. This study is going to take several months as I understand it. So, we’re going to burn through a nine-month period pretty quickly. We’re seemingly back here three months, nine months, one year, two years. We’re here all the time and we’re going to continue to be in front of this board. We’re going to continue to cooperate with the City in terms of these kinds of studies and other initiatives to help mitigate these odors. So, just for the record our preference is to have the SUP review acted upon tonight, so that we could have the stipulations that we’ve worked on so hard put into place. And during the interim, we’re going to continue to work with the City on the study. And you heard from Jim Murray what he thinks the issue is. And we have no doubt that that’s probably what it is. Having a third party review it and confirm that is probably a good thing. And if there is suggestions that can come out of that, then we’re all -- the more the better on that issue.
But just for the record I wanted to let you know what our position was with the extension of the permit.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, because that would be my question if we didn’t do a third party study. So, if we’re confident that’s what it is, what can you do to fix it and why haven’t you?
MR. HOLLAND: Well, as Mr. Murray indicated, this isn’t really a new issue either because the operations haven’t changed over the years. We have had these kinds of odors in the past. More prevalent lately because of the change in the way that Johnson County mandates that the yard waste not be put into the landfill. It’s the only, I think the only landfill in the state of Kansas where that’s the case. So, to Councilmember Vaught’s comment that, you know, they’re reversing some of these policies in other locations, we think that’s worth exploring. And, you know, we understood that there might be some odor issues that come up or would come up from the yard waste as it was coming in. We knew that it was really wet. We did proactively go to Johnson County and request that we be able to put the material in the landfill at least temporarily to resolve some of this issue. And the letter that we handed out to you would confirm that we did make a request to them and also confirm that they denied our request. We were disappointed with their denial. Perhaps we would have an opportunity to continue to work with them on their policy that would make it different or better for us. I think as the weather dries out here you’ll see that the compost and the wet yard waste smell will decrease and so maybe we won’t have as many complaints.
But I mean, we’re okay with a study to see what some other party, an independent consultant would maybe come up with in terms of suggestions and confirm what we think is the source of the smell. But the gas collection system, I think by all accounts has worked really good, and this is a different smell. And I know it’s frustrating for the residents, but we’re willing to work on it.
MAYOR DISTLER: See, and that’s kind of my point. So, I mean, we all fully appreciate the efforts you’ve made. I mean, I do feel you have genuinely made effort. I feel like I have seen it for myself and confirm that and can defend you in that that you have made effort. But again, the smell is back. And like this gentleman said and everyone on the Council, we don’t want our city to stink. And so that kind of brings me back to the point so, right, they denied, so there’s really nothing you can do right at this point. Whereas, if the study comes back and confirms what you’re telling us that it’s yard waste, then doesn’t that strengthen your argument to be able to get the county to allow you to do what you need to do to stop it or alternative suggestions come from it. Because that’s kind of the point I was making. So, you know what the problem is, but you can’t do anything about it. So, wouldn’t this help you fix that problem?
MR. HOLLAND: Correct. And we’re not opposed to a study at all. Yeah. We’re happy. And it was a good suggestion. My only point is let’s get the stipulations that we modified and worked so hard on in place. We’ll be back here in the six to nine months that it takes for this study to be completed and whatever recommendations come out from that, you know, we’re going to sit down at the table with everybody and work on those with you. So, that was our only point.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. Are there any other comments? Mr. Kemmling.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: You’re saying if we extend the permit instead of table it, there’s stipulations you can put into place now that you won’t be able to if we table?
MR. HOLLAND: Well, as a practical matter we’re abiding by those stipulations already. So, I don’t know about the effect. But certainly the legal process and the legal effect of those stipulations would be formalized by adopting them and having them approved. You mentioned the SUP is always up for discussion. It is almost at any time. We can be called before the Council, the Planning Commission and so delaying an action on this item just doesn’t -- I don’t know what the benefit of that is. And we could get the stipulations legally adopted and put into place and as we move forward with the study and we’ll be back here in a few months anyway.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: So, what are some of the stipulations that you think are going to be effective that you’d like to get started right away?
MR. HOLLAND: Well, they’re outlined in the staff report. If you go to your staff report there is proposed stipulations that were recommended by the Planning Commission. Specifically, they’re Stipulations 1, 9, 28 and the 37 and 40. And you’ll find those on page 35 of the staff report. And you can see the suggested changes that were recommended by the Planning Commission that were worked out between staff and ourselves in terms of the specific language. But they cover all kinds of things. There was actually an item here in Stipulation 1, the last sentence that concerns yard wastes and composting and when we won’t work them. We’re not going to turn piles on the weekend when it would stir up that smell. So, when there’s a lot of activity now on Johnson Drive, the ball fields and so forth, hopefully it would minimize the smells during those time periods. But then we have other stipulations that concern the trash pickup, where we’re going to pick them up, how often we’re going to pick up, the requirement to log our pickup of trash and that kind of thing. Cleaning of the streets for example. Odor complaints. We have a whole section on odor and odor plan and what we’ll do to affirmatively address odor issues that are raised, including keeping logs of it which we’ve done. And you can see a summary chart that we passed out of those logs. And I know the City keeps logs as well. But keeping a log and addressing with the complainant if there is a -- if they leave their contact information that we could know who it is or where it was that we can make contact with them and try to deal with, you know, the specific complaint itself. All of that is outlined in the stipulations. They just add more detail to the process and make it clearer how we would operate. So, and again, we’re doing that already anyway. I just think that if we formally adopt it we’ll have a legally binding document. And then we can come back here really at your discretion. The hope would be when the study was done we’ll get a chance to look at it and we’ll come back and I’m sure that would be less than nine months anyway, hopefully.
MAYOR DISTLER: So, do you address the complaints that come through the City, or just that go to Deffenbaugh directly?
MR. HOLLAND: They come through the City. We get notified simultaneously.
MAYOR DISTLER: Because the reason I asked is I filed three because I’m a lifelong resident. I’ve never smelled the dump on the east, the southeast side of the City ever before this past year. And the other day I smelled it at my home at 72nd and Quivira. At my work, which is right down the street. And then I went to a chamber luncheon at Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road and could still smell it. And I filed three complaints through the City of Shawnee app and I was never contacted by anyone. I mean, I --
MR. HOLLAND: Did you leave your contact information?
MAYOR DISTLER: Yes, sir. Yes, sir, I did.
MR. HOLLAND: Well, I know, and, Jim, you can maybe address it, and Vicki if she is here. We specifically go out there and try to -- one, we go to the site and see and sniff.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, I do know that --
MR. HOLLAND: And then we also -- we do follow-up with them when we have that contact information. I don’t know --
MAYOR DISTLER: Yeah. The comment as made on my complaints that they had visited there and there was no odor smelled at the time that they got there. But, I mean, I was not called or informed or anything through Deffenbaugh as far as the wind direction or things that we had discussed before of why it would be coming this far into the City. And I didn’t receive any contact from Deffenbaugh and I had three complaints in one day.
MR. HOLLAND: I’m sorry about that. I don’t know that specific incident.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay.
MR. HOLLAND: I believe you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Yeah. But it did say on the app, I mean, it did come back to me and it said we went and we don’t smell it at this time. Okay. Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I’d just like to throw it out one more time. I think the citizens in the City is better off by giving them their special use permit [inaudible; talking off mic]. So, I’ve brought it up with Paul several times. I mean, we can revoke. It’s not -- it’s like we’re holding it over their head. But you can do that. We can revoke their special use permit tomorrow if that was a real -- if there was a real issue or something like that that -- let’s say that wasn’t being addressed. And so I just --
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: That’s what people are here for about the odor.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Well, no, I agree. But here’s the deal. I mean, if the Planning Commission says we want you to do A, B, C and D and you make a special use permit that you modify the current special use permit to address those issues and then you don’t adopt, then why do we do, I mean, what’s the deal. I don’t get tabling it. I don’t see where that benefits the citizens or the City itself.
MAYOR DISTLER: Ms. Meyer, Mr. Kenig and then Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. And I guess I would just argue I would respectfully disagree and say that I think tabling does a lot of good actually. I think it would give us the opportunity to look at a study and see if there are additional requirements or parameters behind the special use permit that we want to add before we’re blanketly approving it for the next months. And I’m sure as Mr. Holland has discussed this, we’ve all discussed, everyone wants to be a good neighbor. They’ve indicated they’re already doing these things. I believe they’re already doing these things. I don’t think that it does anything good for our residents. In fact, I think we owe it to our residents to make sure that we’re doing as much as we can to make this stop. And the fact of the matter is whoever is at fault it has not stopped, it has gotten worse. We need to get to the bottom of it and I don’t think it would be responsible to move forward with the special permit right now with this hanging out there.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mr. Kenig and then Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. First, I just want to acknowledge I really appreciate the good faith effort by Mr. Murray and by officials of Waste Management. All of my questions have been answered anytime I’ve had a question. And watching the progress I’ve appreciate that. You know, however, we still have the lingering issue. You know, I would say one of the primary reasons for tabling the special use permit too is not only to conduct the study, but also to establish a sense of urgency around it. You know, if we chose not to table it and renew and go ahead with the study. I think the last thing we want too is a study that’s drawn out or that lingers or I think there’s a sense of urgency with all parties, both on the City side as well as Waste Management that if this is tabled to conduct the study, ensure that it gets done in a timely manner so we can provide feedback in a timely way to residents as well, so that would be my only concern, too, is if we did not table this and we can go ahead with the study. There’s less incentive to act on that and to forcefully make changes after we’ve gone ahead with the renewal. And there’s plenty of changes here in the language I think that’s very welcome, especially with some of the changes regarding littering and times of day when it comes to disposal because I know those are direct complaints that have been made via the City’s app. But at the same time we need a study to be done well and in a timely manner. And I think that could be jeopardized if we did not table that today.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I agree with Brandon and Stephanie. And I would just, you know, while the landfill sits at the edge of Ward I, Stephanie and I have an entire ward that drive past it every day. So, for me to extend the special use permit based on what I’m telling the people that have been complaining to me for the last several months is that, well, I’m not really listening to you, I’m just going to go ahead and extend this. It’s not going to matter. They’re still going to go on with their operation. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. I just want people to know that we’re taking this serious, that we’re looking at it, we’re going to get an independent study done. We hear you. And until I know what’s causing the odor and what the resolution is, I’m not ready to approve anything. I just want to table this and I want to get the study done so we know what’s going on. You know, it’s bad. It’s the worst it’s been and so I’ve talked to Chairman Eilert about it. I’ve talked to Commissioner Allen about it. I said we have a problem here and I don’t know if it’s yard waste. I don’t know if this letter from the Department of Health, I don’t like that because they’re not really concerned about the odor and the effects it’s having on us in Shawnee and what it’s doing. It’s all about, well, this is a green initiative. Well, if the green initiative infringes on our quality of life, then it’s not very green. I just want it looked at. Tabling I think is the way to go. It’s not going to change how we handle things or how they’re going to do business. But, you know, I’m not going to look at my people in Ward III and say, yeah, I hear you, but I’m going to go ahead and just go ahead and extend it. That just doesn’t make sense.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Any further discussion from the Council? Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes. I’ve been listening to all the discussion and I’m having a hard time figuring out why it’s a bad idea to go ahead and approve them for a nine-month extension. I see that there are actually benefits to doing that in terms of codifying the stipulations that have been put forward by our own Planning Commission 9-0. So, I think that’s kind of strong. Our Planning Commission recommended these stipulations. Deffenbaugh says, yeah, we’re good with that. We’ll work to incorporate that into our procedures and policy. And by codifying that we’ve actually gained something. Because it’s implemented and it’s actually a binding agreement at that point. They’re just doing it because they’re nice guys right now. But that would actually bind them to that as part of their special use permit extension. If we table it you don’t really accomplish anything by tabling it. They’re going to continue the business as they’re doing it now. We don’t codify the stipulations and get them enforced. So, wow, that’s kind of a waste. It’s not like you’re holding a hammer over their head because it’s a third party who’s going to do the study. So, they’re not going to go in -- the third party is going to go as fast as they’re going to go anyway. It’s not like Deffenbaugh is doing the study and they’re going to drag their feet. So, this is really -- it’s not computing for me the idea of tabling. I don’t see any advantage and I do see some disadvantages to it. So, I have to favor the idea of let’s do the nine-month extension. We run that concurrently with the study that’s being performed. We get the information and everything is right on schedule. We don’t need a hammer here guys. I don’t see a need for one other than just some political posturing to say, oh, yeah, we care about you, folks. Well, of course you care about the folks. We don’t like it to stink. But that’s not going to make us think any less and that’s not going to change the operation in the least little bit by tabling it. It’s going to be exactly the same situation. But if we don’t table it and we vote on it, they extend it nine months, we do get stipulations in place and we get an improved process. So, that’s hard to argue.
MAYOR DISTLER: And the only reminder though that I do want to give to that point though as far as the 9-0 vote, that was during that 45 days that it was better. So, I don’t know if it would still be a 9-0 vote if it went at this time now that the odor is back. So, during the time that they voted on this we thought the problem was fixed. And now it’s broke again. So, as far as the 9-0, that’s not holding the weight with me at this time because when they voted on it they had fixed the other odor problem. Ms. Meyer.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Sure. First of all, I won’t weigh in on who is doing political posturing this evening. But I would say I think that there is a lot merit, as I’ve said before, in tabling it. Because right now if we go in and approve a special use permit as it is with it smelling worse than it has ever smelled, not only as Jeff says are we thumbing our nose at all these residents, but we’re giving basically tacit approval of how things have been going at the landfill, which I don’t think is appropriate for us to do given that it is a terrible smell and this is a huge burden on all the people in west Shawnee. And I don’t think it is responsible for us to say, oh, yeah, we don’t like what you’re doing, but we’re going to go ahead and approve it and hope we can come back and add some teeth to it if this survey doesn’t come out our way. I don’t think that’s responsible at all. I don’t think it does any harm to hold off as we’ve all discussed to get through the survey, find out what the problems. And if there is something else that we can add to the special use permit that mitigates that, that is the appropriate way to go. I don’t see the point in rushing through this right now just for the sake of you want to be able to tell them you’ve approved their special use permit.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: The additions to process are nice, but they don’t go to the heart of the problem. We still don’t have agreement on what the origin of the odor is. There has been some speculation as to what that could be. But the whole point of the study is to find out what that actually is and to find a solution. And, you know, going -- not going forward with a delay and just going with the renewal of the special use permit, it doesn’t give us the leverage that we need if we find out, you know, the origin of this odor. And again, we have no idea what, you know, that study could lead to and what those results are. But we want to be able to have the leverage to be able to make those changes. And the fact of the matter is that these process additions aren’t temporary. The fact is they’ve already made a good faith effort to provide these. And this is something that’s going to be included every step of the way. So, it’s not like we’re not going to get the -- not have these at the end of this process. But again, these are ancillary to what the actual problem is, which is the odor that is still unresolved. And we need to have the leverage to be able to find out what that is and to be able to act upon it. It’s not only the study, it’s being able to act upon what the study produces.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Well, good comments, Brandon. But normally when we do a special use permit it’s one year and three years, three years, you know, on down the road. This is a nine month. You will have your opportunity in nine months. Okay. So, really I think you guys said that you’ll, you know, you’re okay either way. It doesn’t really matter, but all I’m bringing up, and Mr. Jenkins actually brought up was that if we go ahead and approve their special use permit, then we document what they are supposed to do in the short time frame. This is a short time frame anyway. And that’s just what I wanted to add to your thing. So, it doesn’t really matter. Okay. I got the impression from the last, I’m going to say 10 to 11 months that they’ve been doing more than they ever have, okay, to mitigate any kind of odor complaints or odor problems, not complaints. So, and I think I did ask for the complaints.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: And I think I did ask for the complaints because, you know, I thought they were going down and then all of a sudden, boom, and we’ve got a whole [inaudible].
MAYOR DISTLER: That’s exactly what happened.
[Inaudible; Councilmembers talking off mic]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Or maybe not in public but I know some people that live directly around there. And when I got a complaint before I called them up and said, hey, and I went over to their house. So, I would like to get those, if we could possibly get them that would be great.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, they were in an e-mail, we all got them.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. We all got them.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I’m talking about when they come in. Like, you know, you’re talking about the recent one when we got these?
MAYOR DISTLER: No. We got the e-mail that had all 197 complaints over the past few days.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: [Inaudible; talking of mic]
MAYOR DISTLER: Yes, sir. I said the past few days. What was it?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: It was 60-day period.
MAYOR DISTLER: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought were just since the smell started again.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: They started again in -- tapered off in April. And the May and June we’ve had 79 complaints just in those two months periods. So, 60-day periods.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, mis-spoke.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: So, we get those like [inaudible; talking off mic], you know, problem. So, you know, that I can go investigate them myself. I’m just asking for those. I never asked for them before. I want to publicly ask for them now.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: We have quite an extensive e-mail list that is on that list. If you all would like to get every single odor complaint we could certainly put you on that e-mail list. And then we do a monthly report, so it’s in the monthly report that the Council gets also. So, either way. If any of you individually would like to be on that, just let me know.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: We don’t automatically do it. It would be another report to generate. So, it would be nice to either to -- we generate lots of reports. So, if we want to get everyone, and we do have a staff member that responds to every single complaint and goes out, Paul or Vicki or even the Police Department when it’s out there. Someone responds to every complaint in addition to the support that we get from Deffenbaugh.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: [Inaudible; talking off mic] we don’t want to address anything because I think that, you know, from what I’ve seen, since Waste Management has purchased it, I think they have addressed, I mean, they spent $7 million after we had the first issues, you know what I mean? And that’s -- I don’t know that would have happened before. But maybe it would have, maybe it not. I don’t know. But I’m just saying that, you know, I think they have addressed or tried to address issues. I mean, if I get a bunch of my constituents calling me, I’ll call them. You know, and so that’s why I’d like to have [inaudible].
MAYOR DISTLER: Yeah. And several of the complaints were from your subdivision oi noticed.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yeah.
MAYOR DISTLER: So, Ms. Meyer and then Mr. Sandifer and then Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. I would say a couple of things. I don’t discount what Waste Management has done so far. I think they have put in a tremendous effort to fix it. It’s not fixed. And I would say that perhaps nine months doesn’t seem like that long in the life of a special use permit and what we’ve done here. But let me tell you nine months of stepping in and out of your home and leaving in your car every day and smelling this landfill is a hell of a long time. And I don’t think that it’s fair to ask people to put up with that for the next months when we can do something now that moves that maybe 90 days out to do a survey that will fix the problem. I don’t think that’s fair to constituents in any way.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, and I would ask the question if the survey is completed in 60 days or 30 days, then we’ve given the permit for nine months before we can correct the problem if we have the answer within a month. Mr. Sandifer and then Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: And I believe that each of these items in the different odors are in different fields. We have wastewater on one area sometimes has an odor. You have your compost. You have the garbage. I think they’re all independent items. And I don’t think it would be out of line to go with the tabling this at this moment because what we’re putting in the special use permit, if we have a third party that comes in line here and they come up with something different and they find something else that needs to be put in here, why do we have to pull the permit and then rewrite it and put it back out. I mean, we could table it at this moment. They’re getting -- they’re still operating exactly the same. And I’m in full agreement. I think they’ve done a good job. They’ve put a lot of money out. And I think they’ve addressed some issues. We have some more that need to be addressed. They know that. And I think that by tabling it at this point and to find out if we have to include anything else in this would be the reasoning for tabling it. You know, the last thing in the world that they ever want to do is lose it. So, tabling it right now to get it adjusted, if that’s what it takes and that’s what the votes are here for, that’s probably what we need to look at.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. Well, I want thank you, Dan. I appreciate you explaining your position. I think I understand it better now. I would say though that the issue is dependent on how quickly the study has done that I still have concerns with waiting, you know, nine months to be able to address that at the time that it would come up for renewal again. And for me I would reiterate that it’s continuing the sense of urgency. And I believe there is definitely a sense of urgency on all sides including waste management which has been very attuned to this and to our concerns. But we want to ensure that remains in place. And I see this as a neutral action. I mean, we’re not denying it, we’re not revoking. We’re basically -- it’s, you know, hold so that we can conduct this and be able to have a solution going forward. And again, whatever that solution is, I think if it ends up being a change, you know, possibly in county policy, we’re able to bolster that case by going down this route because we’ll be able to go to the county and show the steps we’ve taken. And particularly with putting -- delaying this renewal, and we’ll have a much more effective case if that is part of the solution. So, just that.
MAYOR DISTLER: Any other comments from the Council?
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Do we have any idea how long this independent study would take? Is there any kind of ballpark?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: I’m ball parking 90 to 120 days. We haven’t had a specific conversation about the scope, the full scope and will want to work with Deffenbaugh on defining the scope, so the time frame may take -- depend on that scope. So, we haven’t flushed out all the details yet not knowing which direction the Council would want to go.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. Is there anyone from the audience that would like to speak to this item? Please state your name and address for the record.
MS. BAXTER: I’m Vicki Baxter. My husband and I have lived at (Address Omitted) for 34 years, which is three miles west of here. In 34 years, the last three years have been the worst in the odor that we have ever experienced. We’ve had wet weather before. We have had floods before. We have had yard waste in the dump before. And the last three years have been the worst off and on. I have called many times. Deffenbaugh Industries also know they have been working with Lake Quivira. I’m an off lake Lake Quivira member, another Lake Quivira member here. They have been working closely because of this odor. You can drive across Renner Road and the smell is so bad it knocks you over. The last time I called several days ago I couldn’t sit out on my screened porch because the odor was so bad. I would just like to restate we’ve lived on our property for 34 years. So, whatever we can do to look into this, to stall this and really make a good estimate, survey of what is going on to find out what’s happened, we’ve had all these issues before and this has never been this bad. So, I appreciate everybody taking this -- it’s a very serious problem. You think it’s bad on the east side of Shawnee. Think of where we live.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, I know. And that’s the whole point, yeah. Because I’ve never smelled it even my entire life on the east side. So, that to me tells me how it bad it is because I could smell it on the west side. I could never smell it on the east side before.
MS. BAXTER: Well, and we have the ballparks and so forth, but this is our home. And it’s an issue. It’s a very serious problem as was stated before for property values and thank you for this discussion.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, thank you so much for your comments. Sir, please state your name and address for the record.
MR. OWENS: Yes. My name is Michael Owens and I live at (Address Omitted) in Shawnee just south of the landfill. Everybody else has said most of the stuff about the landfill. Of course it’s just awful. Sometimes it has a chemical smell. I’ve noticed several times if I’m driving down Woodland that I see clouds of dust that you can’t even -- sometimes you can’t even see the landfill there’s so many trucks coming in and out of the landfill. I assume it’s the rock quarry towards the back side. Just last week, about two weeks ago, this I could be part of the problem maybe. I see a truck driving down Holliday Drive. Got off at 435, got onto Holliday Drive, went into the landfill. The license plate was from Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a flat-bed truck. Had a big tank on it that said “Sludge.” So, my question is, are they telling us everything that they’re doing out there. Who knows what sludge is, I have no clue. It didn’t look good to me. It’s embarrassing when we have people over at the house. If we were to sell our house in the next nine months, Dan, we wouldn’t be able to sell it because it stinks so damn bad. And it is something that we need to take care of it because it never -- we lived there for 35 years. Never, ever has it smelled this bad. Just trying to think. I don’t want to forget anything here. And the wastewater plant, that’s a piece of cake. It doesn’t -- I never smell that. And I drive up Woodland almost every day. I never smell the wastewater plant. This is landfill.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I wasn’t disagreeing with you at all. I mean, I’m just saying I think we have more teeth if we --
MR. OWENS: Well, I think you need to do something and we need to do it now.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: And I’m not saying we don’t do the study or anything. They haven’t said that.
MR. OWENS: Yeah. But if you don’t delay it now, they’re just going to keep what they’re doing. And I noticed the last few days it hasn’t smelled. So, obviously they knew this meeting was going to take place. So, they did something to stop it. So, I’m saying they can stop it. And that’s all I think I have. And they didn’t make it smell today.
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you so much for your comments. Is there anyone else from the audience --
MR. OWENS: Where do you live Overland Park? I bet you -- why don’t you live out in Shawnee and see how you’d like it.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Born and raised here.
MR. OLSON: Hi. My name is Mike Olson. I live at (Address Omitted), Lake Quivira, Kansas. I’m the Mayor of Lake Quivira, Kansas. Our little community has been there since 1928, decades before the dump got there. We’ll be there decades after the dump leaves. We are a very unique community. We live outside a lot. We have a golf course, a lake, people walk, people hike. It’s a wonderful place to live. People are attracted to our community because it is a great lifestyle place to be. We’ve been a very patient neighbor for decades. Ironically the last time I talked to this Council was when I was an 18-year-old high school and I was complaining about the dump because at that point in time they were hauling toxic waste across Holliday which is our main drag. We spoke our piece and since then we’ve kind of tolerated a lot. We pick up your trash at time. We deal with your geese that fly -- or I’m sorry, the seagulls that come in the winter time. They flock our lake and pollute our lake and we deal with it. We’ve been a good neighbor. We’ve been a patient neighbor. We’ve had a dialogue with Deffenbaugh. I’ve been out and toured the facility on a couple of occasions. You know, I was told in January when it got really bad I showed the plan, how they were going to drill the wells and contain the fumes. I told my people it’s okay, it’s going to get better. Don’t bother them, give them some time. I can’t take those bullets anymore. You’re not getting the complaints. I get complaints like every time I walk around the lake. I got people walking by me holding their nose and choking. It’s real. It’s not imagined. It’s not exaggerated. I’ve lived there for my whole life, I mean, for decades. We always knew the dump was there, but we weren’t reminded when it smells. I mean, we knew it was there. It was never that much of a part of our life. Something has got to be done and I know they’re working hard. We’ve had a good dialogue with them, but it’s got to stop at some point. I mean, initially they told us it was the landfill vapors that were causing the problems. Now, it’s the yard waste. I wonder what it’s going to be next. I can promise you -- I’ve got a petition here that dozens of our residents have signed, which I’ll pass to the Council to share. If it had not been for me taking some of these bullets, your phones would have been ringing off the hook. If you had got every complaint I got, your people would be out there 24/7. It comes and it goes, it does. I mean, sometimes it’s not bad. Sometimes it’s awful. In the last couple three years it’s been periodically just awful. Memorial Day weekend, the week leading up to it after all the rains was awful. If we have experience on Fourth of July weekend when our population goes from 1,200 to about 5,000, I probably won’t be alive and your Council will be packed the following meeting. We’ve got to step up and do something about this. And I know you’re trying. But I don’t have nine months for the next solution. I need to be able to tell people something now and I will pass this list onto you. And I’m a realist. I understand. You guys are in business. You want to be there for a long time. We know you’re not going away. I’d love for you to go away, but I accept that it’s there. We just don’t want to be reminded of it. I don’t have a lot more to say, but like I said, I do support the actions you all are taking. I appreciate your thought and consideration. I have been in your seat. Out of a courtesy to you all, I didn’t have our 800 residents all show up tonight and complain because they would say the same thing I said over and over and over. Thank you for listening. I will pass this to you and we appreciate your consideration and thoughts and we’re right with you. And like I say, we live with it daily. And I know these guys are committed and they will fix it. We just want it sooner rather than later.
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you so much for your comments. And Mr. Pflumm will take it weekly if you want to spend the complaints, or weekly e-mails.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: You steer it right to me, I’ll call them.
MAYOR DISTLER: He’s offered. So, are there any other comments from the audience? Okay.
MR. HURLEY: I have one.
MAYOR DISTLER: Oh, sorry. Please come forward and state your name and address for the record.
MR. HURLEY: My name is Adam Hurley. I live at (Address Omitted). I’d like to know from you guys -- I’m an engineer by trade, so I know that when consultants come in that oftentimes they reach similar conclusions. So, what I’d like to know from you, I mean, you guys I would expect have a good handle on this. What can the residents do to help speed up you guys taking care of this odor? Can we put pressure on Johnson County? What can we do to help you make the smell go away?
MR. MURRAY: Do you want me to answer that?
MR. HURLEY: Yes. Is there something? Is there something we can do?
MR. MURRAY: From the yard waste standpoint --
MR. HURLEY: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You need to probably come to the microphone.
MR. MURRAY: From the yard waste standpoint we have a ban in the county right now. Any yard waste that’s collected in Johnson County has to come to our facility and we have to process it and it can’t go into the landfill in the state that we remove it from the curbside. Now, you know, here again this a regional landfill. So, what yard waste we pick up from KCK can go in the landfill, it’s just a Johnson County ban. So, if we could rescind the ban for yard waste into the landfill by Johnson County, I think that would help tremendously.
MR. HURLEY: Do you know who we need to talk to to help facilitate that?
MR. MURRAY: Sure. You can start with the BOCC.
MR. HURLEY: What does that stand for?
MR. MURRAY: The Board of County Commissioners.
MR. HURLEY: Okay. Thank you.
MR. MURRAY: You bet.
MAYOR DISTLER: Are there any other comments from the audience? Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: You know, I just want to reiterate that nobody is here to -- this isn’t a Deffenbaugh/Waste Management bashing session. And I agree with what the mayor said, of Lake Quivira. I mean, you know, I agree. I think they’re working hard to solve it. Obviously it’s just not solved. And that’s the idea of the independent study is we were getting conflicting information or, you know, what we don’t want to do is say you’re not telling us the truth and that’s just not healthy for anybody. So, I think I suggested a while back was, you know, can we get somebody independent to look at this. And I think it’s a great idea because at the end of the day we need some advice from an outside source that says this is what we’re dealing with and this is what’s causing it and then where do we go from there and how do we fix that. So, you know, and I agree. They’re going to be there, you know, they were there when I bought the house. And so, you know, we knew what we were getting into. Obviously things have happened in the last few years that, you know, we didn’t have that issue when we got there. So, you know, at the end of the day our goal is all the sale is let’s solve this issue. I mean, everybody might have a different opinion of how we get there. But I think everybody has the same thing in mind is let’s get this resolved and let’s get rid of the odor and make everybody’s life real comfortable again.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. I will accept a motion.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: So moved.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I’d like to speak before you do that.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Because, I’m just curious [inaudible; talking off mic]
MR. RAINEY: That’s correct. You’re right. There’s no super majority. There’s no protest petitions, so it’s --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible; talking off mic.] Okay. I just want to be sure.
MR. RAINEY: Five to approve it. In the event the motion is to table it, then it would be a simple majority of those present and voting.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay. Thank you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: I move that we table SUP-13-08-10, a Special Use Permit Issued to Deffenbaugh Industries to Allow for an Odor Study.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Second.
MAYOR DISTLER: A motion has been made and seconded. All t hose in favor say aye.
COUNCILMEMBERS NEIGHBOR, KEMMLING, VAUGHT, MEYER, SANDIFER, KENIG: Aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay.
COUNCILMEMBERS PFLUMM, JENKINS: No.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Pflumm and Mr. Jenkins voting in opposition. Motion passes.
I certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from the electronic sound recording of the proceedings in the above-entitled matter.
/das June 21, 2016
Deborah A. Sweeney, Recording Secretary
Stephen Powell, City Clerk