Welcome to our live coverage of tonight’s Springfield City Council meeting!
Councilman Andrew Lear is not here tonight.
1. ROLL CALL.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES. July 15, 2019 And July 29, 2019 City Council Meetings And August 6, 2019 Special City Council Meeting.
3. FINALIZATION AND APPROVAL OF CONSENT AGENDAS. CITIZENS WISHING TO SPEAK TO OR REMOVE ITEMS FROM THE CONSENT AGENDAS MUST DO SO AT THIS TIME.
Councilman Hosmer asks that two Council bills related to salary increases for two city staff members, City Clerk Cotter and City Manager Gage, be taken off the consent agenda.
4. CEREMONIAL MATTERS.
5. CITY MANAGER REPORT AND RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS RAISED AT THE PREVIOUS CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS.
City Manager Gage says the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival had an estimated 65,000 in attendance.
They’re showing a slideshow and videos from the festival.
Gage congratulates the Springfield Lasers on winning their second straight World Teamtennis championship.
Forward SGF, the committee contributing to the upcoming strategic plan, is having an “old fashioned ice cream social” for people to show up and sound off.
26 new officers are part of the Springfield police department.
Gage is now addressing the Walmart incident. He thanked the Springfield police department and those involved for defusing the situation.
The Mayor also praised first responders and said Council will be talking about ways to improve security in the community.
6. SECOND READING AND FINAL PASSAGE. Citizens Have Spoken. May Be Voted On.
7. Council Bill 2019-173. (Simpson)
A special ordinance approving a Petition to Establish the Galloway Community Improvement District; authorizing the City Manager to execute a Cooperative Agreement between the City and the Galloway Community Improvement District; and authorizing City officials to take certain actions to comply with the intent of this Ordinance.
Council Bill 2019-175. (McClure)
A special ordinance adopting and authorizing the Mayor to execute the First Amendment to an Employment Agreement by and between the City of Springfield, Missouri, and Anita J. Cotter, setting out the terms and conditions of her employment as City Clerk; and authorizing payment of salary and benefits to Anita J. Cotter in accordance with the provisions set forth therein.
Councilman Hosmer said he is very happy to extend Cotter’s contract.
“She’s the conduit between us and the rest of the city,” Hosmer said.
Council Bill 2019-176. (McClure)
A special ordinance adopting and authorizing the Mayor to execute the First Amendment to an Employment Agreement by and between the City of Springfield, Missouri, and Jason A. Gage, setting out the terms and conditions of his employment as City Manager; and authorizing payment of salary and benefits to Jason A. Gage in accordance with the provisions set forth therein.
Councilman Hosmer says that it’s been a fast year with Jason Gage and a “great person for us to have interpreting what’s needed for the city.”
“When you’re a volunteer you can’t delve into city issues as much as you should,” Hosmer said, “and Jason has been a breath of fresh air.”
8. RESOLUTIONS. Citizens May Speak. May Be Voted On.
9. Council Bill 2019-180. (Simpson)
A resolution granting a Short-Term Rental Type 2 Permit for the property located at 4553 South Graystone Court, for the purpose of allowing the establishment of a Short-Term Rental Type 2 pursuant to General Ordinance 6497.
Of the 73 notices sent about a meeting, only 6 people showed up. There are 8 adjacent property owners, thus meaning 5 signatures were needed from neighbors, only 4 have been secured.
No service complaints are at the address.
Councilwoman Ferguson asked staff about difference between decline to sign and no signature. Staff said the difference is one has contact with the landowner, the other had no response.
Some of the neighboring properties are owned by LLCs and the landowner has had difficulty finding contact individuals for the properties.
Councilman Ollis is asking about the LLC that had a change of address and difficulty contacting the owners of rental properties around them.
Councilwoman Ferguson wants to know if the rentals around the one being appealed are registered with the city as required.
Chris Jensen speaks to Council. He’s the property owner.
Councilman Simpson asked why they originally had 5 signatures but one crossed it out. Jensen said a man across the street “gifted his home to his daughter in Rolla a few years ago, he signed the document, and so because his daughter owns it she had to sign it. He said his daughter wouldn’t sign it because a lawyer in Rolla she works for said if she signed she would be financially liable for it.”
No neighbors have filed any complaints or concerns.
City Attorney Lousader says she knows of no legal grounds that would have someone liable for anything by signing to allow the short term rental.
Councilwoman Ferguson asked why he didn’t get signatures from properties and he said they were owned by LLCs who did not respond to three letters. He said they are all long-term rentals.
Councilman Ollis brought up long term rental registration. He asked if the potential rental owner had contacted the LLC and had no response. The landowner told Council he followed the process laid out for him by city staff. He contacted addresses given to him by city staff.
Ollis said the city staff needs to have a registry that’s more accessible for situations like this one.
The landowner said it’s a lot like voting, people don’t care so they don’t wish to respond.
The landowner says that he doesn’t have opposition, he just doesn’t think surrounding owners cared enough to respond.
Public hearing closed on the resolution, so there will be a vote.
Councilwoman Ferguson said she doesn’t want to cause “undue or excessive layers of red tape that the government that provide to folks.” She said she just wants to make sure she’s doing the right thing.
She wants to table the measure for two weeks to see if the LLCs can be reached for this property.
Councilman Simpson said he’s not opposed to the motion but he will support it. He feels steps were taken in good faith and he believes that they reached five signatures in good faith.
“This is a case where someone went through the process and made the effort.”
Councilman McGull said his only concern is that the ordinance says 55 percent and it’s a “slippery slope” to go down it. He said that it sounds like potential rental owners aren’t being given sufficient information to get the necessary approvals from landowners.
Councilman Ollis says that he supports the landowner because he believes that they made a “good faith effort.” He’s also concern there’s a breakdown in the long term rental process.
Councilman Hosmer said he agrees with McGull that if they allow something under 55% leading to more appeals in front of Council. He said if someone doesn’t respond to a letter, it doesn’t mean they don’t care.
“If we always lean on approving if they don’t meet the threshold then there’s no need for it,” Hosmer said.
Councilman Schilling said “I don’t see any clear and present danger” and while he can see “the slippery slope thing” he approves of this situation.
Councilman Simpson points out they’ve already unanimously denied one, and they do allow appeals and this is a case where there’s no complaints and the 55% was initially passed, then why bother having an appeals process?
Councilwoman Ferguson said if the letters didn’t get to the landowners because of city staff failure, then it’s not fair to them.
Councilman McGull said if the ordinance says the letter was sent to the last known address, a landowner should be vigilant to update their information. It shouldn’t be “onerous” on the person seeking a rental to track down someone who is trying to make it difficult to be notified.
“If you own land, if you own property, and someone is asking for a legal remedy,” McGull said, “you should respond.”
He thinks the ordinance may need to be “tightened up.”
Councilman Ollis asked the applicant to come back forward.
Councilwoman Fisk asked if they were sent regular mail. Applicant said yes because that’s what he was told by Planning and Zoning. It was part of the $300 fee. Fisk asked if phone numbers were included and the landowner said no.
City Manager said addresses could be found.
The staff sends letters to the property owners, not the applicant. The database is taken from the Greene County Assessor’s office.
If they get the letter, and do not respond, it’s a non-signature. Councilman Hosmer said that requirement is 55% of surrounding owners have to sign. He says that if someone receives a letter, and doesn’t sign it, he has the right not to sign it and under the ordinance it’s counted as a no.
“If I walk off council and don’t vote, it’s counted as a no,” Hosmer said. (This is technically incorrect; it’s a non-vote. So a measure that would be voted on by Council would have 8 votes rather than 9, and Hosmer’s “vote” wouldn’t be considered.)
Councilwoman Ferguson moves to table. It is tabled 6-1-1, with Schilling voting no and Simpson abstaining.
10. Council Bill 2019-181. (Ollis, Hosmer, Lear, And McGull)
A resolution initiating amendments to the Springfield Land Development Code for the purpose of defining and regulating tiny houses, tiny house communities, and other similar land uses.
Staff said any changes to regulations are required to be started by City Council, and follow the regular process. This measure essentially starts the process.
11. Council Bill 2019-182. (McClure)
A resolution establishing the “Comprehensive Plan – Forward SGF Advisory Team” for the purpose of providing additional citizen engagement and participation during the City’s comprehensive planning process.
Staff says they’ve been working with consultants to come up with ways the public can be involved with it. They mentioned the ice cream social kickoff and a website.
The approval of the bill establishes a “Forward SGF Advisory Team.”
Mayor McClure thanked former Councilman Prater and the members of the committee for being willing to serve.
15. Council Bill 2019-183. (Lear)
A special ordinance authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to execute a contract between the City of Springfield and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, providing for a grant of funds under Section 305.230, RSMo, to the City, by and through the Springfield-Branson National Airport Board in the amount of $260,000.00, for air service marketing and promotion of the Springfield-Branson National Airport; amending the budget of the Airport Board in the amount of $288,888.00 which includes matching funds in the amount of $28,888.00 from the Airport Board; and declaring that this bill qualifies for approval in one reading.
Grant from the statewide jet fuel tax. Used for general awareness advertising for the airport.
Council Bill 2019-184. (Schilling)
A special ordinance vacating approximately 1.15 acres of public right-of-way between the 4600 and 4700 block of South Lyon and Campbell Avenue. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission both recommend approval with conditions.)
Vote in two weeks.
19. Council Bill 2019-185. (McGull)
A special ordinance authorizing the issuance of Conditional Use Permit No. 437 for the purpose of allowing an electronic message center sign in the R-SF, Residential Single-Family District, generally located at 1551 East Portland Street.
Vote in two weeks.
20. Council Bill 2019-186. (Ferguson)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Official zoning map and rules for interpretation,’ by rezoning 0.17 acres of property, generally located at 613, 615, and 617 West Division Street, from R-SF, Single-Family Residential District to LB, Limited Business District; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission both recommend approval.) (By: Alfred and Sandra Mase; 613, 615, and 617 West Division Street; Z-17-2019.)
Vote in two weeks.
21. Council Bill 2019-187. (Ferguson)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Official zoning map and rules for interpretation,’ by rezoning 25.3 acres of properties generally located at the 2200 Block of North Golden Avenue and the 3200 Block of West Turner Street, from LI, Light Industrial District to HM, Heavy Manufacturing District, subject to certain conditions; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (By: Doing Leasing & Equipment LLC; 2200 Block of North Golden Avenue & 3200 Block of West Turner Street; Z-16-2019.)
Councilman McGull noted he likes the deadlines for improvements on the property.
Councilman Hosmer is asking about the zoning surrounding the land.
Vote in two weeks.
22. Council Bill 2019-188. (Ferguson)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Official zoning map and rules for interpretation,’ by rezoning 18.02 acres of property, generally located at 1024 North West By-Pass, from R-SF, Single Family Residential District and GM, General Manufacturing District to HM, Heavy Manufacturing District; establishing Conditional Overlay District No. 174; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission both recommend approval.) (By: South Campbell Investments LLC; 1024 North West By-Pass; Z-13-2019 w/Conditional Overlay District No. 174.)
Councilman McGull asked about neighbors and staff said no one showed up at Planning and Zoning to speak against the measure.
McGull asked who can be in the district, staff said things like battery recycling, concrete plants, etc.
Councilwoman Ferguson noted the property is “currently pretty rough looking” and that this could be a good thing for the neighborhood.
23. Council Bill 2019-189. (Ollis, Lear, Hosmer, And McGull)
A general ordinance amending Chapter 98 of the City Code, Article VII, ‘Encroachments on City Property,’ sections 98-323 and 98-325; and amending Chapter 36 of the City Code, Article III, ‘Zoning Regulations,’ Division 5, ‘Supplemental District Regulations,’ section 36-454; for the purpose of modifying the City’s sign regulations to allow for the administrative approval of certain encroachments on City right-of-way, modifying the insurance requirements for certain encroachments, and increasing the authorized size of certain signs. (Recommended by Plans and Policies Committee.)
Vote in two weeks.
Council Bill 2019-190. (Hosmer)
A special ordinance calling an election on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, in the City of Springfield, Missouri, to submit to qualified voters the question of whether to continue a one-eighth of one percent (1/8-cent) transportation sales tax on retail sales within the City for a period of twenty years; authorizing the City Clerk to do all things necessary and convenient to submit said question; and declaring an emergency.
Sally Hargis speaks to council “on behalf of the business community” and is supporting the measure.
Vote in two weeks.
Council Bill 2019-191. (Fisk)
A special ordinance calling an election on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, in the City of Springfield, Missouri, to submit to qualified voters the question of whether to continue a three-quarters of one percent (3/4-cent) sales tax on retail sales within the City for the sole purpose of providing revenues for the Springfield Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ pension system; providing for a sunset on the tax at the earlier of either the end of five years from the date of commencement of collection of the renewed tax or the pension system fund reaching a fully-funded status; and declaring an emergency.
Councilman Simpson asked for them to clarify when the tax would sunset, and staff said it would be 3-4 years under the current progression.
Vote in two weeks.
Council adjourns, 7-1, Hosmer (as usual) voting no.