Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Baldwin City Council Tackles Longer Agenda at May 2 Meeting

Mayor Marilyn Pearse called the May 2, 2016 City Council meeting to order.  Pearse presented City Clerk Laura Hartman with flowers for Municipal Clerks Week.
The meeting began with a discussion regarding a non-agenda discussion from the last meeting.  The assistant City Attorney from Topeka had contacted the city of Baldwin City after reading in the paper that the discussion had compared a council policy to theirs.  That discussion was that only two cities in the state of  Kansas still requires two readings before an ordinance can be acted upon.  As a result of that contact, it was learned that Topeka had stopped requiring two readings a couple of years ago.  The discussion centered around the merits of two readings verses one. Council member Christy Darnell said she suggested hearing what the public thinks. Also commenting, Council member Cathy Gestner said she doesn't mind being the sole city in the state requiring two readings.  No action was decided as the matter was not on the agenda.
The council then moved into hearing about Community Health Planning.  Dan Partridge and Chris Tilden spoke about healthy lifestyles. Tilden asked for the cities endorsement of the new Community Health Assessment. The last assessment, which focus groups and survey's, was last completed in 2013. The Health Department hopes to have a new one every five years.
Tilden said, they would like to have a couple people from each community in the county, to be engaged with such a committee. One person from the public sphere and another from the private sector.
Also on the agenda was the first reading of ordinance 1342, the rezoning of 1708 High Street. Currently zoned Residential Light Density (RLD). The new zoning if approved would be Light Industrial (IP-1).  It currently abuts residential, a school and industrial (IP-2).  The requester of the zone change was not at the council meeting.  With an IP-1 zoning pretty much anything, other then retail can be put in there.  The planning commission recommended approval, while the staff recommended denial.
David Simmons explains why he thinks ordinance 1341
should be tabled for a while.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
Council member Steve Bauer said during discussion that whatever goes in would be good for the city. He followed his comments with a motion to move the ordinance to second reading. The motion barely passed  on a vote of 3-2, with Simmons and Darnell casting the dissenting votes.
The council then turned their focus to ordinance 1341, amending chapter eleven of the public offenses code, regarding possession of marijuana or THC. Allowing tougher prosecution, when the needs arise, in municipal court.
Council member David Simmons made a motion to table the issue until the city learns what the legislature and Governor decide on a couple bills of a similar nature that are currently before the Governor regarding the drug.
In other business the council:

  • unanimously approved the purchase of a 1995 pumping engine for the fire department.
  • considered the annual mayoral appointments. After a brief discussion of whether the judge should be local or not, all appointees where approved with Simmons being the only abstention.
  • looked at potential long-term CIP projects for consideration.
  • Council member David Simmons reported that the Public Safety has discussed Chickens and will be working on officially allowing chickens but not roosters.
  • heard about a fire where a person had a burn permit but failed to call and find out if their was a burn ban or if conditions were favorable.
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