City Council heard an update from Mayor on his and staff’s reaction to the George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and repeated murders of black bodies by uniformed officers around the country, moved a proposal for backyard hens out of committee and to the next phase for future review and approval, and heard an update on the pool and a reminder for Large Item Pickup beginning this weekend! Read on for more.
This is the Prairie Village City Council meeting recap for Monday, June 1, 2020. You can see the full agenda and board packet HERE.
Council members present at roll call: Herring, J. Nelson, Selders, R. Nelson, Poling, Limbird, Myers, Reimer, Runion, McFadden, Graves, and Gallagher.
Here are the highlights of this meeting:
Chad Herring, Ward 1, and the Finance Committee met for the first time via Zoom last month. I am on this committee, and we heard a comprehensive report regarding the current state of the city’s finances and the effects of COVID-19 as well as the goals of the 2021 budget. The next meeting will be on June 4th at 4:00 pm on Zoom.
Chad Herring also let us know that the Tree Board will be meeting on June 3rd at 6:00 pm on Zoom and will be considering how can we protect trees that are in the city’s right-of-way. Neighboring municipalities do have ordinances in effect and the Board will be reviewing those.
Jori Nelson, Ward 1, said that the Environmental Committee has been talking about trees, too, and considering how to protect our 50-60+-year-old trees. They are looking at the Mission Hills ordinance to see if there is something there that we could adopt.
The Committee is also sponsoring the Plan It Native Plant Sale. The sale is online, and pick-up is in the pool parking lot on June 6th. (All pre-ordering will be closed after June 4th.)
The committee has also discussed looking at purchasing software that measures greenhouse gas and possibly holding a paper shredding/electronics disposal drive to be coordinated with Overland Park and our own Large Trash Pick-up Day in 2021.
Mayor Eric Mikkelson read the following statement at Monday’s city council meeting:
The Chief and I, and I dare say everyone here at the City, are deeply concerned about the tragic, senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and what has ensued. Over the last several days we’ve been in contact with the local NAACP, Mayor [Quinton] Lucas, and area Chiefs to express support and offer assistance. For decades we have proactively been implementing training (including anti-bias and cultural diversity training), supervision, hiring practices and many more measures in our Police Department to reduce the risk of such incidents here and to ensure our justice in Prairie Village is fair and impartial. As of earlier this year, we deployed Body Worn Cameras in PV. We use de-escalation techniques to ensure force is only used when necessary, and only appropriately.
Needless to say what we saw on that video was wrong and would have been fundamentally inconsistent with how we train and operate in Prairie Village on many levels. But like most American cities, Prairie Village has racism in its past (such as in our historic deed restriction covenants) and thus, in my view, we have an obligation to be vigilant and proactive to stamp out racism everywhere it might emerge.
While we all condemn the riotous destructive behavior we’ve seen by a few, including in our good neighbor KCMO, it would be wrong to condemn the criminal riots without acknowledging and recommitting to address the injustice that precipitated it. Martin Luther King Jr. may have addressed this paradox best in his address to Grosse Pointe High School on March 14, 1968, shortly before his death, when he said:
I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.
It is poignant and sad that that message, 50 years later, is a message we still need to communicate today. My belief, widely shared throughout our organization, is that we are better together…listening civilly and insisting on justice.
We celebrate and encourage diversity in Prairie Village, racial and otherwise, and remain actively committed every day to fair, impartial justice.Thank you to the SM Post for sharing the full text from Mayor Mikkelson and other NEJC mayors HERE.
Ashley Freburg, Public Information Officer, updated Council on the ideas that came out of the COVID-19 communications task force meeting last week:
- Reach out to local small business owners to see what support they would like.
- Create a comprehensive list of businesses with their reopening hours, limitations, and mask requests to post on City website.
- City Signage around town.
- City standard store window poster advising customers of mask requirements per store.
- Social Media Storytelling to enhance community like this story below:
Residents can also expect to see a new and improved City website coming later this summer!
Jamie Robichaud, Deputy City Administrator, reminded us that the first week of Large Item Trash Pickup is this weekend for north of 75th St and East of Belinder below 75th St. per the map below.
Additionally during the course of hearing about the City’s Reopening Plan, Council voted to continue all council and committee meetings via Zoom for the foreseeable future with any council member able to bring the issue back up for another vote at any time.
We also voted to cancel the July Arts Council show and event as well.
Meghan Buum, Assistant City Administrator, let us know that youth tennis programming through JCPRD is starting up this week at Harmon Park tennis courts. And while the Kansas City Junior Tennis League program was canceled by their board, city staff have been working with our tennis pro, Tracey Cooper, and have developed an alternate junior tennis league program for our youth that would include some of the challenge play, but not the match play within the clubs in order to limit the interaction. The alternate program started today and is able to accommodate more players. Registration was still open as of Monday. Click the image below to go to the registration site.
Regarding the Pool: I asked Meghan if there had been any changes to the circumstances behind our recent decision to close our pool for the 2020 season and if there was any chance we could still open it back up later in the year. Meghan let us know that city staff has not stopped evaluating the pool closure. They continue to talk with peers all over the region and state about best practices and options, and they will continue that throughout the summer and beyond. Red Cross is still following CDC guidelines for social distancing, and they can not recommend the in-person training. There was much more to be shared, questions about how other cities are opening, etc. and I encourage you to watch her remarks and the ensuing discussion for yourself beginning at minute 1:43:25 of the recorded meeting HERE.
FYI – Metro Area City Pool Status
- Kansas City, MO – closed
- Prairie Village – closed
- Fairway – closed
- Leawood – open with restrictions
- Lenexa – one of three outdoor pools will be open with restrictions
- Merriam – outdoor pool closed until July 25th, restrictions unknown (updated 6/9/2020 & 6/19/2020)
- Mission – closed
- Olathe – two of four pools will be open with restrictions
- Overland Park – closed
- Roeland Park – closed
- Shawnee – closed (updated 6/15/2020)
Consider Revised VillageFest 2020 Budget
Approved unanimously. Budget reduced to account for smaller scope and not soliciting donations.
Consider Permanent “Neck Down” Traffic Calming at 67th St between Nall and Roe
Approved unanimously after conversation regarding bicycles and increased usage for walkers during the current COVID-19 crisis.
Council Committee of the Whole
Consider Changes to Solicitor Regulations
Modifications to this portion of the City Ordinance have been proposed due to increased complaints from residents of overly-aggressive solicitors, solicitors not leaving when asked, solicitors ignoring “no soliciting” signs on homes, etc., and nothing in the code currently allowed staff to address complaints or revoke permits. These changes only apply to “commercial” speech or endeavors to sell you something for profit and NOT to political campaigning, scout troops, etc..
I won’t go into detail on the changes, some of which were just language clean-up, but I think it’s important for all of us resisdents to know the following:
- Commercial solicitors MUST have a permit to go door-to-door in Prairie Village. You can ask them to show you their permit, and if they don’t have one, you should report them to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Commercial solicitors must only be soliciting for business that have business LICENSES that allow them to do business in Prairie Village. So before you purchase any services, be sure to make sure they have this license to do business within city limits.
- Until June 8th, NO PERMITS HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR 2020, so until then, if a solicitor is coming to your door, they do not have permission to be doing so, and please let the city clerk know.
The ordinance language was approved unanimously to go to the full Council at a later date.
Consider Amendment to City Ordinance to Allow Backyard Hens
Bringing this before Council has been a grassroots resident-led effort. Here are some parameters of the proposal that were approved to move forward:
- Requires a City Permit with a fee similar to our pets.
- No Roosters.
- Only hens over 16 weeks of age and a maximum 6 hens.
- Structures required and to be specified in the ordinance similar to our beehives.
- The ordinance will include means for revoking permits if regulations aren’t followed.
- Regulations for odors, noise, waste, and waste removal will be specified in the ordinance.
- Must check with applicable Home Owner’s Association to make sure yours allows hens.
This proposal was approved 8-4 with members R. Nelson, Runion, McFadden, and Gallagher voting in opposition.
It will now go to city staff to draft the ordinance and come before the Council at a later date for a vote again.
Just a Couple Reminders:
- June 10th – Arts Council Meeting via Zoom
- June 15th – City Council Meeting, 6:00 p.m. on Zoom via Facebook Live which is accessible to ALL residents even if you don’t have a Facebook account.
STAY WELL & enjoy the rest of the week. Have fun purging and people watching this weekend!