Sunday, February 25, 2018

Council Approves Rezoning of a House that Used to be a Business

Kevin Surbaugh

The February 20 meeting of the Baldwin City Council was called to order by Mayor Casey Simoneau.  The only consent agenda items were the minutes of the February 6 regular meeting and the February 13 special meeting (in which they discussed the purchase of real property).
Discussion resumed from the previous regular meeting, regarding the rezoning of a house at 111 6th Street. The property currently co-owned by Kevin Markley has been used as a commercial property for more than a decade. Most recently as a flower and gift shop.
Council-Member David Simmons voiced concern about rezoning the property back to residential as it has been a business for so many years and has businesses on two sides of it. The Rainbow Preschool on one side and the now vacant previous location of  Kwik Shop. Not to mention the Cranberry Market that used to be in that location that sits across the street. In the end, the council approved the rezoning of the property on a vote of 4 to 1, with Simmons casting the lone dissenting vote.
The council also discussed hiring a third party to conduct a utility rate study at an expense of $6,750. The debate was centered on whether the city should spend that kind of money when the city has done the same studies internally. Council-Member Tony Brown said that the city had limited funds that the nearly $7,000 could be better spent on.  Simmons said that he doesn't know that the study would change anyone perception. Council-Member Susan Pitts moved to approve and Council-Member A. J. Stevens seconded. The motion carried on a vote of 4 to 1 with Brown casting the dissenting vote. 

In other business the council:

  • Unanimously an agreement with Sensus Software to upgrade the cities utility meters for five-years at which time, the software would need to be replaced because it "will be antiquated," said Simoneau. With the upgrade, all city residents will be able look-up, on the cities website, their real-time usage.
  •  Postponed any further decision on a request from Midland Railway for help with repairs to its tracks that got washed out during heavy rains this past year.
  • Again delayed action on a $10, 000 quote for equipment to live stream city council meetings online.  Brown said, "Sounds like the same car with a lower price." The council hopes someone will be able to be at the next meeting to help answer these questions. 
  • Appointed City Administrator Glenn Rodden to represent the city to the KMEA (Kansas Municipal Energy Agency).
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