Budget, Construction Projects (City), Deed Restrictions, HOA, Racism, Redlining, Streets, Sustainability, Utilities

Council Recap – 2/16/21

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

Recap

No public participation this week. Please know that we love to hear from residents, and there is a process in place for you to be heard, even during our current Zoom meeting format. We can also make certain ADA accommodations as well, when requested. 🙂

Diversity Committee

While most of the members of the Diversity Task Force were appointed to full committee memberships on the newly ordained Diversity Committee, there are still two seats left to fill. The mayor and staff received six applications and will be filling those spots soon.

Arts Council

Arts Council’s most recent virtual music concert occurred on Monday, February 15th, in honor of Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day, and it was a great succes! Click the link below to watch the recorded performance.

The Art of Photography juried show call for entries is live and accepting entries through March 12th.

General committees…

I heard from residents that hadn’t been contacted at all during the volunteer application process, except for the automatically received email back when they applied in late 2020. I shared during this meeting that it was our responsibility as committee chairs to reach out to every applicant to our respective committees and update them since it is about a 4 month process. For Arts Council, I emailed all of my applicants on a bcc’ed email confirming that I would be reaching out to them in late January or early February once I knew how many seats we would have open on Arts Council. I then interviewed every applicant via Zoom who replied that they were still interested. It was fun getting to know more PV residents, and the residents are who we are here to represent, so making this additional contact seems like a no-brainer.

No one on Council verbally objected or concurred with me, so I don’t know where other members stand on that. But staff did share that they have their own process, and that will include an email to every applicant after the appointment process is complete as they have done for several years. I clarified that I wasn’t suggesting that the staff should email folks mid-process; I very clearly think the committee chairs should do it. Staff members have more pressing matters on their plates.

So, I don’t know what will come of that, but I will bring it up again next year if it continues to be an issue. If you are someone who applied and hasn’t heard from anyone yet: my sincerest apologies. Our committees run on volunteers like you, we get great input and ideas from our residents through these committees, and we appreciate you. 🙂

I also asked for a deeper dive on Robert’s Rules training so our meetings can run more smoothly. If you watch, then you know. 😉 It’s through no fault of our mayor or our Council President; they both do a great job trying to keep us on task, but a lack of understanding on how Robert’s Rules works makes things take a lot longer than they need to, and there’s far too much lecturing without even a motion on the floor, IMHO.

Hopefully post-COVID, we’ll get to do that.

Oh, and super exciting news for me, ‘cus I’m a nerd: committee members are finally now listed on the committee pages on the City website. I asked for this a long time ago, but I think it got lost in the shuffle to the new website, and Councilwoman Myers must have asked, too, more recently and now it’s done. Check it out. Here’s the PV Foundation as an example: PV Foundation. Next, Sheila and I both hope to get ward info and term info on there, too. 😋

Mayor’s report

We’re still seeing a positive trend downward on the COVID-19 infection numbers, and we’re getting closer to a safe level.

Thank you to our intrepid Public Works snow removal crews for keeping our roads safe 24 hours a day up to and including our recent snowpalooza and sub-zero temperatures. And thank you, too, to our Prairie Village police officers for also being out and about helping motorists with batteries and whatnot.

Be forewarned: the JoCo appraiser sent the mayor and staff a preview of overall residential properties appraisals, and they are still rising. These can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. I, Bonnie, have heard both sides of this argument, and I feel strongly for those residents adversely affected.

Staff reports

Wes Jordan, City Administrator, talked about Evergy and the rolling blackouts. He answered some questions that he had received from residents:

  • How do they choose when/where to blackout? They use system data to balance the load across their entire service area.
  • Do they notify residents in advance? No. Analyzing the system data at peak hours moves too fast.

I asked if City Hall lost power and how the Evergy Renewables Direct program affects power losses like this. Are we on a different grid for the wind power (my novice question) or is it just an offset of credit for the wind generated. City Hall and PVPD did lose power, but they have a generator, so they weren’t down for long. Wes wasn’t sure about the grid question, so he’s going to ask Evergy more about that.

Chief Roberson noted that he has given several video interviews lately and will be a panelist in some upcoming discussions.

I asked how many official warming centers we had in Prairie Village during these extra cold days. Particularly since the JoCo Library Corinth branch closed for the day on Monday or Tuesday, and they were the only PV warming center I knew of. Tim Schwartzkopf, Assistant City Administrator, addressed my question with an answer from the link below. Unfortunately, none of these are in Prairie Village, so if you know of any here, let me know.

Information on protecting yourself during extremely cold temperatures

Deed restriction research

Tim Schwartzkopf and City Attorney David Waters researched what the City can do to remove the racist deed restrictions from old property documents. They found that the Prairie Village Homes Association followed the process they needed to, and there is no way to go back and remove the language from the historical records. It is possible we could engage a title insurance company to do a further review, but no action was taken at this time. This same information will be presented to the Diversity Committee at their next official meeting.

Mission Road flood control project

City Council approved the expenditure to kick-off the field survey and design process for this much-awaited project. A portion of the cost will be covered by the JoCo Stormwater Management program.

Belinder Avenue traffic calming

We approved the installation of traffic calming measures on Belinder Avenue from 71st Street to 75th Street. The measures include two speed display signs added near 74th Street, one in the northbound and one in the southbound direction. There was originally a plan for some neck-downs, too, but that petition didn’t get enough signatures. It could come back up again in the future, though.

International Construction Codes update

Delayed by COVID-19, Jamie Robichaud, Deputy City Administrator, and Mitch Dringman, Senior Building Official, were finally able to bring forward their recommendation to update our ICC version from 2012 to 2018. We historically update every 6 years, but the research, training, and line-by-line review process this time took over 2 years to complete since pandemic measures took precedence last year.

Several councilmembers expressed support for skipping 2018 and going straight to adopting the 2021 version which was published last month. However, after much discussion, Council voted to go ahead and adopt 2018 now, and then requested a presentation from a green building code consultant to see if it makes sense to adopt the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) to supplement 2018, or possibly start the review process for adopting the whole of the 2021 ICC – the latter of which will take at a very minimum of a full year because of the extensive research, training, and line-by-line review that is required by our staff.

Things to consider in this decision include finding a balance between sustainability and housing attainability and the regionalism that typically goes into the review and adoption process for consistency across the metro where possible. I would consider the IgCC to supplement 2018 a better solution for Prairie Village, but we’ll see what happens next. I know I personally have more to learn, and I’m already a LEED Accredited Professional working in the building industry.

HUGE thanks go to Mitch Dringman, a building professional with decades of experience in his field. We are so lucky to have him on our Prairie Village staff, and he was definitely the most knowledgeable person about building codes and sustainable construction at that meeting this week. Thank you, Mitch!

Agenda Packet for your reference

Closing

So that’s it for this week. Some things I’m working on:

  • Connected Sleepyhead Beds with the City Clerk to talk about options for having a mattress donation drive prior to large-item pick up days to divert those massive items from the landfills and help families in need of gently-used mattresses.
  • Assisting Arts Council with the organization of a brand new event: the Prairie Village ArtWalk! Coming in June 2021!
  • Still researching other arts councils, commissions, and task forces for best practices.
  • Working on surveys for Arts Council patrons, artists, and guests to see how we’re doing and get ideas for where we can improve.
  • Watched the U.S. Women’s National Team beat Canada in the round robin play for the SheBelieves Cup. USWNT plays Brazil this weekend on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. CST!
  • Attended my first UCS Housing Task Force meeting.
  • Attended a UMKC UniverCities Exchange on Urban Vacancy and Abandonment
  • Watched the non-partisan League of Women Voters of Johnson County February event: Gerrymandering & Fair Representation: What Kansans Need to Know About Redistricting.

Take care, continue wearing your masks, and get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.

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3 thoughts on “Council Recap – 2/16/21

  1. Kathi Cook

    What is the focus of the UCS task force ?

    1. Bonnie Limbird

      Hi, Kathi!
      The general focus is “housing”, more specifically, I’d say: the “missing middle” housing.
      I’m attaching HERE a link to the task force schedule and topics per workshop for you to see the varied aspects of housing we’re going to cover.
      Also, HERE is the Community Housing Study, but it is 319 pages. 🙂 There is a section specific to PV, though, that runs from page 166-181.
      I don’t believe they’re still taking volunteers, since we’ve already started, but you could always reach out to the email address in the first link to ask about it.
      Have a great weekend!
      Bonnie

      1. Bonnie Limbird

        Oh, look! I was cleaning out my inbox this morning, and I found this link to invite more people in the post-workshop #1 evaluation email! 🙂
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JOCO-UCS-Taskforce

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