Posts tagged with De Soto City Council

Council grants rifle club special use permit, city reports 'hiccup' in Dollar General plan

The De Soto City Council agreed with the city Planning Commission's recommendation to grant a special use permit to the Mill Creek Rifle Club to expand their range by 100 yards, making it a 600-yard range, at their meeting Thursday night.

The permit is contingent upon the club completing several additional steps before the expansion, including obtaining a floodplain development permit from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and reaching a legal agreement with the Zimmerman Trust, which currently owns the property the club hopes to expand upon.

The permit will have no expiration date and will allow the club to operate seven days a week from 5 a.m.-11 p.m. as requested.

City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle informed the council during the meeting that the proposed development of the new Dollar General at the intersection of Penner and Lexington Avenues has hit a "hiccup" due to budget overruns by the development company.

An outside development company, Tennessee-based GBT Realty Corporation, purchased the 1.3 acre lot from the city for $140,000 with plans to build a new store that would then be leased by Dollar General for a new store. Guilfoyle informed the city that the sale of the land officially closed this week and that building permits were ready to be issued since the council had approved the final plat of the land. The sale was conditional upon GBT building the Dollar General store on the land within a year of closing.

According to Guilfoyle, GBT contacted him earlier in the week and stated that due to city requirements, such as landscaping, road improvements and building fees, their project is now approximately $77,000 over budget. Guilfoyle then said that GBT warned they may "pull up stakes and leave" if the city could not "help reduce" the overage. Guilfoyle also pointed out that through a policy error on the city's part that GBT has yet to pay the excise tax, approximately $12,000, on the property, which would bring their total overage to $89,000.

"There are several options if, and that's a big 'if,' the city believes there is a threat of Dollar General relocating," Guilfoyle told the council. "Staff has looked at the overages as GBT has presented them and we've outlined ways the city could cut that overage while avoiding a cash payout."

The options presented by the staff ranged from reducing the landscaping requirements, an overage of more than $20,000 in GBT's budget, to refunding a portion of the land's sale price as the city got more out of GBT than the appraised value of $100,000 for the acreage.

"I feel we need to work with these people, we can refund some of that sale price because I'm still shocked we got that kind of money in the first place," said Councilman Ron McDaniel. "We want this store and we need this store for this town to grow."

His fellow council members and Mayor Dave Anderson agreed with McDaniel to a point.

"I'm not incredibly worried that [GBT] will pull up stakes and leave," said Councilman Randy Johnson. "I think they're grasping at straws but I think we can probably knock some off of the landscaping requirements and be done with it."

After further discussion, Councilman Rick Walker moved that city staff draft an agreement to cut approximately $40,000 from the list of overages to be presented to GBT on the condition that the company pay the $12,000 excise tax on the property without objection or appeal. The motion passed unanimously. If GBT accepts the city's proposal, construction will move forward, if not, Guilfoyle will return to the council for further action.

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City Council to revisit 83rd Street bike ban issue

Armed with a petition with more than 300 signatures, a large group of De Soto citizens spoke before the De Soto City Council last night requesting that the bicycle ban on 83rd Street be reinstated.

The ban, which was lifted in September, had been in effect for more than a decade and has been the subject of debate ever since. The discussion was not on the meeting agenda but several citizens used the Call to the Public portion of the meeting to voice their continued concerns.

"I've lived in this town for 11 years and I've never been too involved before but this is an issue that I feel can't be ignored," said Mike Vukas, who spearheaded the petition to reinstate the ban. "This a matter of public safety. I would like it if accidents never happened and this is an easy way to avoid some accidents."

Vukas was joined by his fellow citizens in asking the council to reconsider their previous action and listen to what the people of De Soto want.

"You [the council members] were elected to support and represent the people of De Soto and I don't feel you've done that by lifting this ban," said Tim Maniez. "We don't want to make political threats and we don't want to drag this out but the next step is a recall election and nobody wants that so please reconsider."

After hearing from the public and defending their previous actions, the council voted unanimously to have staff bring a new ordinance to counteract the lifting of the ban for the next council meeting on Thursday, Dec. 1.

"I'm opposed to regulations and the government telling people what to do but I'm willing to revisit the issue if this many people are concerned about it," said Councilman Randy Johnson.

Councilwoman Lori Murdock also defended the ban lift and added background to the decision for the audience who questioned where it came from.

"Lifting the ban was discussed at multiple meetings before it was voted on, I brought it to the council after several De Soto residents asked me to address it," she said of the decision. "This is not a personal decision for me, I was acting how I believed people in De Soto wished, it wasn't until after we lifted the ban that I heard complaints."

Murdock stated she plans to use the time before the December meeting to speak with people who signed the petition to hear their concerns and to speak again with those who asked her to have the ban lifted to guide her next vote.

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Nov. 17 De Soto City Council meeting

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Council to vote on special use permit for rifle club

The De Soto City Council is set to vote on a special use permit that would give the Mill Creek Rifle Club the go-ahead to begin expanding their range, which is located on 95 acres at the north end of Gardner Road, by 100 yards.

The permit includes a zoning change for the property to one of three designations that would allow for the longer range and would also allow the club to file for change permits required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state. The city Planning Commission has recommended approving the permit request.

The full agenda and supporting documents for tonight's meeting may be downloaded from the city's website.

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Council approves new contract with Honey Creek, makes appointments to park and fire boards

The De Soto City Council approved a new, five-year contract with Honey Creek Disposal for the city's refuse needs at their regular meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3.

City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle recommended accepting the contract as the city's rates, minus the new $4 charge for the county-mandated recycling program that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2012, will remain the same from the city's last contract signed in 2007. According to Guilfoyle, De Soto's refuse rates through Honey Creek are "very competitive" in comparison to the rates paid by surrounding municipalities.

During the discussion of refuse rates, Councilman Ron McDaniel asked that a reminder be sent to all De Soto residents reminding them of the new, county-mandated curbside recycling program beginning in January. Randy Weldon of Honey Creek said his company will be sending out reminders. The program, which will provide curbside recycling of all materials except glass, was started on a voluntary basis earlier this year. Residents will still be able to recycle glass at the Ripple Glass container in the parking lot at city hall.

The council also approved a new appointment to the Northwest Consolidated Fire Board and renewed the appointments of three members of the Park Board. Jennifer Chick was named to the fire board to replace Kent Dvorak, who resigned his position due to a personal relocation. Ron Crow, Darrell Zimmerman and Larry Johnson were granted another term to the Park Board for a two-year term. They re-join recently-appointed members Belva Thrasher and Loya Beery.

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Council votes to vacate school utility easement, accepts final plat for Dollar General site

The De Soto City Council on Thursday unanimously voted to grant a new water utility easement to the De Soto USD 232 school district for the De Soto High School construction project. The new easement is necessary as the school's addition plans will encroach slightly on the old easement, requiring the public water main to be relocated, which will be done by the school's contractors during their building process.

The council also voted 3-1 to approve the final plat for the new Dollar General site at the intersection of Penner and Lexington Avenues. Councilman Randy Johnson cast the dissenting vote and councilman John Krudwig was absent from the meeting.

The council approved the plat on the recommendation of the De Soto Planning Commission, who approved the final site plan on a conditional basis. Per the commission's instructions following the results of the traffic study done on the intersection, a pedestrian crossing beacon with a button-activated light must be installed at the intersection and new traffic lane striping will need to be painting, all at the expense of Dollar General. The traffic study did not warrant the installation of a new traffic light at this time. If a traffic light is needed in the future, Dollar General will have to pay $10,000 towards the cost of the light, per their land purchase agreement with the city.

The council also unanimously decided to join a self-insurance pool for property and liability coverage through MPR insurance providers, the same company the city uses for its medical coverage, contingent on the state of Kansas approving MPR's application to offer such coverage in Kansas.

According to City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle, MPR needs a minimum number of Kansas municipalities to meet the property premium threshold required by the state, if the application is denied, De Soto will not be without insurance and will be able to renew their usual policy with a different company.

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Oct. 20 De Soto City Council meeting

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Council to consider approving final plat for new Dollar General

The De Soto City Council is set to review and possibly approve the final plat for the new Dollar General store to be built at Penner Avenue and Lexington Avenue, across from Lexington Trails Middle School at their regular meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at city hall.

The plat has already been approved by the city's Planning Commission, who has also recommended that the council approve it as well.

Also on the agenda for tonight's meeting is a public hearing regarding vacating a portion of a public utility easement for USD 232 in relation to the De Soto High School Phase II construction project.

The full agenda and supporting documents may be downloaded from the city's website.

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Council to meet tonight for 'Visioning Workshop'

The De Soto City Council will meet at 6:30 tonight at city hall for a "visioning workshop."

Goals of the evening, which was proposed by multiple council members several weeks ago, include identifying some primary goals the council hopes to achieve in the coming years and discuss how the council could attain those goals.

By law the meeting must be open to the public but unlike a standard council meeting, the agenda does not include a time for public input.

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Council votes to vacate Right-of-Way, hears public comment on bike ban repeal

The De Soto City Council approved three motions last night: vacating the public Right-of-Way of Tract A on 87th Street and removing its designation of "open space"; granting a noise permit and road closure for a neighborhood block party on 82nd Street and approving the request for audit services by Lowenthal, Webb and Odermann.

In addition to these items of business, the council also heard nearly an hour's worth of feedback from De Soto citizens regarding the council's decision to life the bicycle ban on 83rd Street.

Several members of the public came forward during the call to the public to voice complaints with the decision the council made, many citing their opinion that opening the road to cyclists will make an already dangerous road even more so.

"This is a major public safety issue now," said former city councilman Tim Maniez. "There's no room on that road for vehicles and bicycles, there's no place to go if something goes wrong."

The council also heard concerns from school bus drivers who use 83rd Street multiple times a day to travel between schools in the district.

De Soto resident and member of the Planning Commission Bob Garrett also spoke before the council during the regular meeting regarding his concern for public safety and his belief that the council did not act in the community's best interest when repealing the ban.

"By lifting this ban you didn't represent De Soto like you're supposed to, you represented people outside this town," Garrett said. "There was no public hearing about lifting this and you didn't let the people have a chance to talk."

Councilman Rick Walker answered Garrett's complaints regarding the lack of a public hearing by pointing out that a hearing didn't take place when the ban was put into effect more than 10 years ago so he felt there was no need for one now.

Council members Randy Johnson and Lori Murdock also defended the council's decision by outlining what they saw as the benefits to the community now that the road is open to cyclists.

"First off I'll say that if you are a cyclist and you ride [on 83rd Street] at certain times then you're an idiot," said Johnson. "But there are economic benefits, most cyclists will come through town and spend money at [gas stations], also there are some people who will just outright not spend money in a town that has a ban like this just on principle, so it is an economic benefit."

Councilwoman Murdock agreed with Johnson's opinion that lifting the ban will be of economic benefit and also declared it a matter of personal rights.

"Lifting this ban is giving a right back to the people that was taken away from them," she said. "Maybe it isn't the safest road to ride but it is the right of any cyclist to do so. The responsibility for safety must be in the hands of every rider and driver, I drive that road every day and I'm careful, just like I am on every road in Kansas. I keep my eyes open and follow the laws."

City Attorney Patrick Reavey answered questions regarding the city's liability should an accident occur by assuring the council and the public that because the city has not identified the road as a bicycle route that the city cannot be held responsible for any accidents.

Discussion of the matter ended with former councilman Maniez inquiring about the possibility of the citizens repealing the council's decision or at least requesting a public hearing to discuss the matter further. Both are possibilites, according to Reavey, so long as Maniez and anyone else interested can collect a petition with the signatures of at least 10 percent of the residents who voted in the last election.

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