Prairie Village responded to City of Fairway Police Department and the heartbreaking loss of Officer Oswald. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Fairway PD family, and his city which he served.
Presentation on Petitions by City Attorney
Mayor Mikkelson prefaced this presentation with a small introduction regarding these petitions and the public availability of all of the petitions, the cover letter from the petition writer, Rex Sharp (spouse of the challenger to my seat this fall), and our City Attorney response. Also included online are the answers to several frequently asked questions about the current form of government, what next, etc.. You can find those documents and answers HERE.
City Attorney David Waters then summarized the letter he sent to Johnson County Election Commissioner in response to these petitions.
There are essentially three petitions:
- Rezoning petition
- seeks to establish limitations on the city for, and to redefine, rezoning
- Abandonment of Mayor-Council petition
- seeks to abandon the current mayor-council form of government. (This is the oldest and most common form of government in the state – and the structure Prairie Village has operated under since receiving its charter in 1951. Currently, 554 of the 625 cities in Kansas operate under a mayor-council form of government.)
- Adoption of Mayor-Council-Manager petition
- seeks to reduce the number of representatives per ward from two to one, effective immediately. (This would mean that any council member elected in 2021 would be automatically removed from Council, and only members elected in the upcoming 2023 election would be allowed to serve as Council Members. Your representation on council would be cut in HALF. 😢)
Rezoning Petition notes from attorney:
- Attorney identified flaw: statutory requirement for specific language regarding identity of the signatory
- Attorney identified flaw: statutory requirement for specific language on each page of the petition signature pages
- Attorney identified issue: KS Supreme Court has ruled that administrative changes can not be administered through a petition, and this reads as an administrative change.
- Attorney identified issue: inconsistencies and conflicts in the language of the petition
Abandonment of Mayor-Council petition/Adoption of Mayor-Council-Manager petition notes from attorney:
- Attorney identified flaw: use of “current” for mayor term, no language for “future” mayors.
- Attorney identified flaw: doesn’t describe the role of the city manager or the mayor or even how they would differ from the current form of government
- County Attorney identified flaw: did not comply with statutory requirements, but were still distributed for signature
- County Attorney identified flaw: two separate ballot initiatives with two separate ballot outcomes could leave the City without a form of government
- Attorney identified flaw: adoption petition conflicts with statutory requirement that changes take effect at the next regular election by stating that it should take effect immediately
An example of a well-written ballot measure to change form of government for comparison – Lawrence, KS has ONE ballot measure to abandon an old and adopt a new form a government (not two ballot measures), and it follows KS statute by taking effect at the next regular election.
Comments/Clarifying Questions from Council/Mayor
- Cole: is there any legal advantage to having two separate form of council petitions? Not that Mr. Waters could think of.
- Cole: what happens when the county attorney says these don’t meet statutory requirements? It is unclear.
- Greg: can the petitions be amended after the signatures have already been selected. Not to his understanding.
- Piper: where can the residents who have questions look for clarifications or answers to any questions they may have? The City petition page and/or the County Election office may also be a resource.
- Dave: is the City under a time constraint for any decisions? No, the petitions have not be validated, so there is no action required at this time.
- Dave: will the County Election officers responses come to City Council even if determined to be invalid. He believes so.
- Dave: if /when they do, what is our action requirement and timeline? It depends on the particular petition and if they are determined to meet requirements.
- Dave: if a change is made via petition, is there a time constraint on future changes along the same topic? If it is deemed to NOT be an administrative change, then it can not be changed for 10 years per statute.
Where are we now?
The petitions are with the JoCo Election office where the signatures and other requirements will be reviewed for compliance, and we have not yet heard back. Depending on what that offices says, it’s important to know that Council can not advance petitions that VIOLATE STATE STATUTE. Period.
During public participation, Mayor Mikkelson always invites residents to the podium one-by-one to speak for three minutes. These were the residents who spoke at this meeting. Here are rough recaps of those statements:
- Leon Patton – Mr. Patton shares a lot of information with Council via email, and tonight spoke about the housing forums over the last few weeks, and worries that we have too much trust in our consultants.
- Tom Clough – talked about impartiality and code of ethics
- Chris Kaberline – thanked Dave & Piper for their service and how they have handled this crazy year particularly well. Is open to a review of the form of government, but he’s not sure 3 months is enough time to do that. He would hate to lose half of his representation.
- Pam Justus – talked about costs for new City Hall/Police Department, salary adjustments, benefit consultant, community center exploration.
- Karen Gibbons – put the petitions on the ballot (one of the Stop organizers)
- Mary Michael Sterchi – people signed the petition because they want to keep R-1 zoning in PV. (Regardless of what she said during her comments, Council is not getting rid of R-1 zoning. R-1 zoning is already being maintained (it was never going away), and we’ve already removed ADUs from the housing recommendations.) She’s also afraid the Council is going to bankrupt the City with a new police facility.
- Chet Hanson – quoted Lincoln – wants to know why the Council resists the will of the so many people who have signed the petition, and said, “Don’t mess with this city; it’s a wonderful city to live in!”
- Anne Ireland – wants more answers and information. What do zoning modifications change or solve for the city? Can we require the builders to keep the value of the dwellings attainable instead of mansions? If so, why aren’t we doing that when they teardown homes now?
- Scott McKenzie – believes Council isn’t listening. Thinks we’re in this for personal gain (??)
- Cooper Weeks – takes issue with the word “scheme” in the attorney’s letter to the county election
- Paul G. – There is a lot of misinformation going around including former councilmembers’ “expert” advice, debt load, and he believes the underpinning of all of the stop group machinations is racism.
Council members have an opportunity to respond at the end of public comment. This month, I think it’s important you hear directly from the Council members own mouths what was said. Click on the link HERE, and then go to the minute mark listed below for each member:
- Inga Selders – 1:16:07
- Greg Shelton – 1:19:55. Highlights:
- May 7, 2018, former councilmember and Stop member, Brooke Moorhead on updating the Village Vision and housing – “I think we do need the mix, and I agree on the different housing options. And instead of spreading horizontal, spreading more vertical with multi-use, multi-tenant… taking advantage of those corners, that are there next to parks, and going up for millennials and seniors who are looking for alternatives… I remember in, you know, out electioneering: that’s what people 50+ are looking for. I want to stay in Prairie Village, and we need to keep those. There’s no reason why we can’t grow our population, grow our income base, and offer alternatives, but I do think we need to do more than just another of revisiting to the first Vision. I think we need to bring in concepts that are maybe foreign and a little different and refresh what we’ve got coming into prairie village. I’m all for this. ” (minute 2:41:07 for full remarks)
- May 7, 2018, former councilmember and Stop member, Dan Runion on whether collecting public input on a revised comprehensive plan was worthwhile – “I guess I’m concerned about spending $50-80,000.00 and hearing back what each of us has voiced in terms of here’s what, you know, each of us sees, you know, less density, more density, that sort of thing. And I’m hoping that, well, that’s one of them. That’s probably my chief concern. Is that we pay $50-80,000.00 and hear, packaged back in a nice presentation, basically bits and pieces of what everyone wants, and I would hope that what we would get instead, I guess, a process to identify recommendations on where to go without having put out there specifics.” (minute 2:49:05 for full remarks)
- BONUS (not cited by Greg): May 7, 2018, former councilmember and Stop member, Sheila Myers on updating the Village Vision and housing – “… my wish list… I would like to see some recommendations of where we might want to increase density in transitional areas like you said along corridors… 75th, the area where they’re putting a carwash in, like for example, that kind of has been redeveloped against some neighbor’s wishes there, and I’d like to see some recommendations for some innovative housing that might be more affordable to people, so it’s under $800,000.00 that maybe there’s some innovative senior housing concepts we can consider like smart housing. I would like to see some suggestions like that, and consider some zoning buffers. If there’s residential commercial transition between that, green space or something. So that’s what I’d like to see.” (minute 2:38:00 for full remarks)
- Cole Robinson – 1:33:40
- Ian Graves – 1:41:25
- Dave Robinson – 1:43:30
- Terrence Gallagher – 1:52:08
- me 🦜 – 1:58:21
- “I mainly just wanted to thank my fellow council people for your thoughts tonight, because I know some of it probably wasn’t easy to say in front of the whole group, especially as people were filing out and talking over you. I apologize for that. And then the massive amount of facts and information that you guys have shared tonight. It’s, like I knew it in my head, but in my heart it was vindicating to hear proof that this didn’t come out of nowhere; that previous councils were headed in this direction as well. And it’s hard to hear for over a year that you’re doing something that nobody wants, even though you know that’s not true, and its nice to hear that… it’s nice to have it said out loud even if most of the people left to hear it, so hopefully more people will tune in to watch later. And I just want to thank everybody for being here that does stick around and that gives their feedback one way or the other. As a ward 3 rep, and Lauren’s on the screen up there, we also respond to ward 3 messages. We get the mass emails to the entire council, and if we can identify a ward 3 resident, we do try to respond to every single one, so always email any questions, any whatever even if you’re not in my ward. Ms. Ireland can attest: I was having email conversations with her this week, so, even though I couldn’t answer all of her questions, they were very, very in depth and I needed some time. so she’ll still hear from me in the future, it just wasn’t today. That’s it. thank you.”
- Ron Nelson – 1:59:56
- Chad Herring – 2:09:44
Environmental Committee Chair, Councilmember Reimer, shared that the committee elected to participate in the Climate Action KC Summit 2023, held September 9th, at the $500 sponsorship level, and two representatives will attend.
Teen Council Chair, Councilmember Reimer, said that she and staff are ramping up again for the 2023-24 academic year. They will begin accepting applications in a few weeks, and then applications will be due September 15th and the tentative date for orientation is Monday, October 2nd. Apply HERE.
Substance Abuse Continuum of Care Fund of UCS (formerly the Alcohol Tax Fund)
SACCF liaison, Councilmember Reimer, shared that the annual grant process kicks off next week, and reviewing will start in September
Lastly, SMSD liaison, Councilmember Reimer, shared that SMSD has started a new podcast that will be available every other week. Shawnee Mission Mic’ed Up starts August 10th on whatever platform you get your podcasts.
The school begins for students between August 15th and 17th depending on the student’s grade
Back-to-School with a Firefighter
Municipal Foundation liaison, Councilmember Selders, shared what a wonderful event that was the 2023 Back-to-School with a Firefighter. At least twenty firefighters from CFD2 were on hand to shop with the students, and big thanks to them, Target, Village Pres, the PV Municipal Foundation, Meghan Buum, and more!
Parks & Rec Committee
P&R Committee Chair, Councilmember Gallagher, shared that the P&R committee received a letter from a couple local kiddos asking about a new swing set to replace the one that was damaged in their neighborhood park during the recent storms and sharing how much they love their PV parks.
Tree Board Committee Chair, Councilmember Graves, said that the board met August 2 and talked about the assessment of damage from the recent storm. City arborist, Bridget Tolle, estimated that there was 35,000 cubic yards of tree debris to be collected. At 75mph winds, even healthy trees can fail. A lot of the trees at the curbs though didn’t necessarily look healthy however, so they talked about education for the community about the tree canopy and tree maintenance. The committee will be looking at programs and funds to revitalize the urban canopy to bring to Council for consideration. More info on upcoming native tree sales coming in the next Village Voice.
JazzFest Committee Chair, Councilmember D. Robinson, shared that JazzFest is 4 weeks away, and we’re pulling for good weather!
- PV awarded two (2) national budget awards!
- KC Ballet’s renovated south campus is almost open, and they’ll have tons of new adult classes. There will be a ribboncutting at 8:30am on August 18th.
- New JoCo bus route through PV from Lenexa City Center to the Mission, KS transit hub. (But the bus doesn’t stop, so I think (Bonnie here) we need to talk about if and where we’d like to include a PV stop for this new route.)
City Administrator Wes Jordan shared that the City has instituted quarterly update meetings with Republic Waste services to keep on top of their service issues.
Also Evergy will be in for an update soon. It’s been on the plan of action for awhile, but now they need to give an update on issues highlighted by the recent storm.
Tree Cleanup Update
Public Works Director Keith Bredehoeft shared that they hope to be complete with pickup by the end of the day Wednesday (Aug. 9). They upgraded from 4 to 5 trucks to meet that deadline. However, they do anticipate the need for a second pass, and more detail will be coming.
Deputy City Administrator, Nickie Lee, shared that 12 houses in PV were deemed uninhabitable, and those assessments were first priority for our Codes department, but the recent investment in Codes software was a gamechanger for this storm in allowing the codes inspectors to keep up with the storm issues on top of their normal business.
Mission Road Drainage project
Mission Road will be back open later in October. The Schools are aware and the City is working with them and PVPD to make sure detours are available and the pedestrians are all safe. Stay up to date on the project HERE.
Council considered two items relating to Windsor Park!
- Contract to approve the proposal from Pro Electric L.C. for the electrical repairs at Windsor Park.
Windsor Park Courts and Pavilion currently do not have power. The electrical cables in the court electrical box have been damaged by small animal activity and subsequently overloaded/fried all the connections in the box. The cables running north from the courts, through the conduit under the creek, and up to the box on the north side of the park are fused. This prevented the electrical contractor from simply pulling new cables through the old conduit. Additionally, a new service is required for the upcoming restroom construction at Windsor Park.
- Contract with Combes Construction LLC for the Windsor Park Restroom Improvements. Check out this long-awaited new amenity at Windsor Park!! ➡
Note that the inflation of costs on this project were in the 10-12% range that we have been seeing in nearly every cost center.
Both approved unanimously.
Sidebar: Pickleball at Windsor Park has a couple of issues that the Parks & Rec committee will be addressing at their next meeting for resolution options to bring to Council.
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share this newsletter/post with your PV neighbors! Again, I’m happy to chat live if you have any questions.
Please be well and have a great week!
P.S. MARK YOUR CALENDAR for the NOVEMBER 7th GENERAL ELECTION to support me in my re-election. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!! 🤗 If you’d like to volunteer, click HERE.