Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Zoning and Buy Local Tops Baldwin City Council Agenda

Kevin Surbaugh

The January 17, 2017 Baldwin City Council Meeting was called to order by Council President Kathy Gerstner, in the absence of Mayor Marilyn Pearse. The council quickly approved the minutes from the last meeting and the cereal malt beverage license renewal for Moose's BBQ and the Kansas Belle Dinner Train.
The council had no new business on the agenda, but had two issues on old business. The first was ordinance 1358 which seeks to clean up the cities zoning law.  One of the changes would allow vehicle sales in Baldwin City along Highway 56. The other would change the maximum size of accessory buildings from a 40x30 to 1,200 square feet and cannot be taller then the main structure, without a special use permit.
Ed Courton, Baldwin City Economic Development Director, said in regards to car lots, parking must be on a hard surface. However, someone could say they aren't parking cars, but displaying cars. There is nothing specific that says you have to have this or that.
City Finance Director, Brad Smith, clarified a statement that he made in the previous meeting, He admitted that statement was half wrong, when he said sales tax goes to the city of the buyers residence rather then the location of the sale. The fact is that the sales tax would go to the city of the selling location, with any difference to the city of residence. For example a car lot in Shawnee would collect sales tax on the sale. Then when the buyer registers the car, their counties treasure office would collect the difference between the two locations. In this example Olathe, has a higher tax rate, so that difference would be paid at that time.
City Council Member Tony Brown said he would hate to limit the type of business on the highway. However, he would be open to restrictions to meet before opening a new business such as a car lot.
Gerstner questioned what teeth our zoning laws have in regards to signage and quality. She doesn't want to see the big floppy guy sign at edge of town, nor does she want a bunch of cars parked so close, it's hard to walk in between them. She doesn't want to bog it down, but she also wants to make it look nice.
Courton responded that certain requirements can be set for all businesses to meet, but the city needs to be fair to them all and not signal out a specific business in those requirements.
Council-Member David Simmons moved that ordinance 1358 be passed and Brown seconded. The ordinance passed unanimously.
Next on the agenda was the "Buy Local Policy," after discussion of the proposal at the previous meeting, the staff eliminated the twenty mile area from the local language. The proposed policy read:
 It is the policy of the City of Baldwin City to “Buy Local” whenever it is reasonable. It is
recognized to be good public policy. Also, each dollar invested in the local economy is
recognized to have a “multiplier” effect as the invested dollar is spent by the recipient again
in other local areas that in turn again spend it locally, etc. The implementation of this policy
will be the responsibility of the department heads, City Administrator and City Council,
within their respective spending authority. In cases where all other considerations are
equal, and the additional cost in dollars and/or percentage terms is reasonable, the choice
to buy local is preferred. The following guidelines are to be observed when considering a
“buy local” preference.
a. A business is considered to be local when it has established a permanent place of
business within the Baldwin City limits for at least six months. The place of business
must be a physical facility and excludes a portion of a home or apartment, motel
rooms or post office boxes.
b. The business must not have any outstanding fines, code violations or other amounts
due to the City, other than current utility balances and shall have all appropriate
City licenses current and in good standing.
c. For purchases:
i. Under $500.00, every effort will be made to buy local, when possible;
ii. Between $500.00 and $5,000.00, the buy local policy will be used unless a
savings of 5% or more can be achieved;
iii. From $5,000.00 and over, the buy local preference will not apply.
d. The policy does not apply to bids for the construction of sidewalks, curb and gutter,
pavement (either new of repair), improvements to roads and streets, public
buildings and facilities or any public improvements commissioned by the City
e. The policy does not apply to cooperative purchasing agreements or where the
source of funds prohibits such a policy. For example, funds provided by a grant
could restrict application of such a policy.
f. If two or more “local” businesses submit bids of an equal amount, the award shall
go to the business determined by coin flip. The procedures of the coin flip process
will be determined by the City Administrator.
Smith suggested that perhaps the city should require local businesses get a"free" business licenses from the city if they want to do business with the city.  Some council members questioned whether they want to go there.  In response, Smith said that while ultimately it's up to the council, it would help the city know who is a business. With some businesses not having a physical location on High, but inside someones home, it could be hard to know of  a particular business and could ruffle some feathers of some one local that didn't get chosen by the city. Some kind of registration would help the city know of the business and let the city know the business wants to do business with them.
Discussion then turned to the requirement of purchases under $500 always being local, while purchases between $500 and $5,000 would be local unless a savings of at least 5% or more can be achieved. It was pointed out that 5% of $500 would only be $30. Perhaps that $500 amount should be raised.  At the same time Simmons wasn't sure that there should be a cap.
Gerstner suggested the following changes:
c. For purchases:
i. Under $500.00 $1,000, every effort will be made to buy local, when possible;
ii. Between $500.00 $1,000 and $5,000.00 $20000, the buy local policy will be used unless a savings of 5% or more can be achieved;
iii. From $5,000.00 and over, the buy local preference will not apply.
The council decided to postpone the vote on this policy until a clean copy of the policy can be presented at the next council meeting.
In other business:
The council heard from Glenn Rodden, City Administrator, regarding First Street.  The county will pay the $345,000+ for engineering. Due to the fact the road hasn't been surveyed, the engineering study would take about two years.  At which time construction could begin with the costs being split 30/30/30/10.
  • City 30%
  • County 30%
  • Landowners 30%
  • Township 10%
After completion the road, called First Street, would become a city street as, in the words of Rodden, it should have been from the beginning. 


  1. Replies
    1. Gabe, First Street is a narrow county gravel road, in which one side of the road is in the city limits and the other side is in the county/township. City residents along the road have been complaining for a number of years that it isn't paved.
      The city and county are looking to remedy.

    2. Thank you for the quick responds. Are we talking about the 1000' long stretch between 56 and Ames by the wooden spoke? $345k is a lot of engineering and surveying for such a small road.

    3. Great question. I used to live right there in that section, right behind the Wooden Spoke.
      No, the area of First Street being discussed is on the other side of the Highway. The neighbors with concerns tend to be those in the development, which is the side of the road in the city. One in particular has a daughter with allergies.

    4. More specifically it's the road going to Signal Oak.

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