The City Council of the City of Columbia, Missouri met for a regular meeting at 7:00 p.m., on Monday, January 6, 2003, in the Council Chamber of the City of Columbia, Missouri. The roll was taken with the following results: Council Members JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN and CRAYTON were present. The City Manager, City Counselor, City Clerk and various department heads were also present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the regular meeting of December 16, 2002, were approved unanimously by voice vote on a motion by Mr. Loveless and a second by Ms. Crayton.
APPROVAL AND ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA INCLUDING CONSENT AGENDA
The agenda, including the Consent Agenda, was approved unanimously on a motion made by Mayor Hindman and a second by Mr. Hutton.
SCHEDULED PUBLIC COMMENTS
Scott Williamson - Pedestrian Safety Near Rock Bridge High School.
Scott Williamson, 1112 Glenwood, a Rock Bridge student, spoke about the lack of sidewalks in front of the high school. He expressed concern for pedestrian safety. He indicated that 314 people signed a petition he circulated in favor of a sidewalk or pedway in this area. Mr. Williamson noted that a sidewalk along the 163 outer road would also provide a connection between Bethel Park and Rock Bridge State Park.
B412-02 Amending Chapter 2 and 29 of the City Code as they relate to City Council voting and abstentions.
The bill was given second reading by the Clerk.
Mr. Boeckmann explained the history of Council abstentions in association with protest petitions. Under the current ordinance, the vote of an abstaining member goes with the majority, if there is a majority. He noted that a super majority is required (five votes out of the seven) when a protest petition has been submitted. If someone on the Council abstains from voting because of a conflict of interest, that vote would go with the majority under current regulations.
Mr. Boeckmann reported the fairness of this practice had come into question and he noted that Columbia's ordinance is not in compliance with The Missouri Zoning Enabling Act as interpreted by the Courts of Appeals. He explained case law from Independence, Missouri where at the time there was a 3/4ths rather than the current 2/3rds requirement for a super majority, so there was a 4-1 favorable vote. The question was whether or not that met the 2/3rds requirement. The Court decided it did not. He explained that the parties were in agreement with this ruling because there was a vacancy created by the death of a Council member, so the membership was reduced to six for the purpose of calculating the majority. Under the law at that time, the Mayor was not legally required to abstain. The Court said the Zoning Enabling Act overruled the common law and that it had to be a favorable vote which means the person actually had to vote and there could not be a constructive vote. In the Independence case, he said the Court ruled that the Mayor's vote did not go with the majority. Mr. Boeckmann concluded that under The Zoning Enabling Act, a constructive vote (when someone abstains) cannot be counted in reaching the super majority. In the instance of a vacancy on the Council, or when someone is legally not able to vote, these votes are not counted. In other words, if someone has to abstain because of a conflict of interest and is legally not able to vote, then the super majority would be calculated with the six members and only four affirmative votes would be needed. Mr. Boeckmann noted that some people perceive this interpretation to be unfair and there is really no benefit to submit a protest petition if a Council member is forced to abstain from voting.
Mayor Hindman understood there to be a difference between abstaining and being legally prohibited from voting. Under the conflict of interest statute, he said there are certain very specific situations that prevent one from being able to vote. Mr. Boeckmann replied that was true. Mayor Hindman understood that if a member were to abstain because of what they felt could be a perceived conflict, the vote required would be five because it is not truly a conflict and only when there is a true conflict would it be treated as though it were a six member panel. Mr. Boeckmann concurred.
Mr. Janku understood Mr. Boeckmann's basic conclusion to be that the proposed amendment is all the Council is able to do under state law. He understood the Council could not adjust the number from four to five. Mr. Boeckmann said that was correct and added that Springfield had tried to do that and it had not worked.
Mr. Janku asked if an abstention could still be counted toward the majority vote. Mr. Boeckmann said that would still be the general rule under this ordinance change. Mr. Janku asked if the Council could amend the ordinances to that effect. Mr. Boeckmann replied affirmatively.
Mayor Hindman opened the public hearing.
John Clark, 403 N. Ninth, encouraged the Council to request an opinion from the Attorney General's Office. He did not think what was being proposed was fair.
Mayor Hindman closed the public hearing.
Mr. Janku read from case law in the Independence case where it was stated that an Attorney General's opinion can be entitled to no more weight than that of any other competent attorney. He felt the proposed amendment is all the Council can do in regard to voting and abstentions.
B412-02 was given third reading with the vote recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. VOTING NO: NO ONE. Bill declared enacted, reading as follows:
B413-02 Voluntary annexation of property
located generally east of Maguire Boulevard and north of New Haven Road,
establishing permanent M-C zoning.
The bill was given second reading by the Clerk.
Mr. Beck explained this small .11 acre strip is located on the east side of town. Annexation is conditioned on M-C zoning. Both the staff and Commission recommend approval.
Mayor Hindman opened the public hearing.
There being no comments, Mayor Hindman closed the public hearing.
B413-02 was given third reading with the vote recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. VOTING NO: NO ONE. Bill declared enacted, reading as follows:
B423-02 Calling for bids for the extension
and upgrade of water main along Brown School Road from Highway 763 to
The bill was given second reading by the Clerk.
Mr. Beck explained that this area was once part of Public Water Supply District No. 1. When it was under the District's jurisdiction, there were a lot of two-inch lines built in the area. Mr. Beck explained the City's proposal to replace these lines with a 12-inch water main. The estimated cost of the project is $241,000. He stated the new line will improve service to existing customers plus provide for future growth.
Mayor Hindman opened the public hearing.
There being no comments, Mayor Hindman closed the public hearing.
B423-02 was given third reading with the vote recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. VOTING NO: NO ONE. Bill declared enacted, reading as follows:
B414-02 Approving the final plat of Alpine Estates, Plat 2; granting a variance to the Subdivision Regulations.
The bill was given second reading by the Clerk.
Mr. Dudark explained the variance request pertains to the requirement that R-1 and R-2 zoned lots are prohibited from having direct access to collector streets. He noted that this particular section of Mexico Gravel Road is included in the Subdivision Regulations as a collector street, when in effect it becomes a local residential at its Y-intersection with Brown Station Road. He said this particular plat will have access to the local residential street to the south, but will not have direct access to Brown Station Road. Mr. Dudark indicated that staff is supportive of the variance and added that the Subdivision Regulations should be amended to remove this particular section of Mexico Gravel Road from the collector street classification.
B414-02 was given third reading with the vote recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. VOTING NO: NO ONE. Bill declared enacted, reading as follows:
B417-02 Accepting a donation from Jim
and Billie Silvey for the purchase of a police motorcycle and equipment
for the Police Department; appropriating funds.
The bill was given second reading by the Clerk.
Mr. Beck noted that the Silvey's were present this evening and thanked them for their continuing financial support to the Police Department.
Chief Boehm explained the Silvey's donation in the amount of $16,500. This gift, along with the appropriations the Council approved in the FY03 budget, will provide two motorcycles and two traffic officers. He was certain this donation will enhance the Police Department's traffic enforcement efforts. Chief Boehm noted that this is just one of many donations that Mr. and Mrs. Silvey have made to the Police Department over the years.
B417-02 was given third reading with the vote recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. VOTING NO: NO ONE. Bill declared enacted, reading as follows:
The following bills were given second reading and the resolutions were read by the Clerk.
B415-02 Appropriating funds received from the SEMA Grant for
police and fire equipment.
B416-02 Amending Chapter 19 of the City Code as it relates to military leave.
B418-02 Authorizing acquisition of property for storm water control purposes.
B419-02 Authorizing acquisition of property necessary for construction of the Blue Ridge Road Project.
B420-02 Authorizing acquisition of an easement necessary to construct Crescent Meadows South Lagoon Interceptor.
B421-02 Approving the engineer's final report for the Hinkson Creek Trail Phase II Project.
B422-02 Appropriating funds for Share the Light Program.
B424-02 Accepting easements for water and electric purposes.
R1-03 Setting a public hearing: construction of water main along Liddell Lane from East Dusty Rhodes Lane to the south of Mount Hope Road.
R2-03 Setting a public hearing: construction of water main along Oakland Gravel Road from Starke Lane to Gregory Heights Subdivision.
R3-03 Setting a public hearing: construction of water main along Business Loop 70 to serve Head Motor Company property.
R4-03 Setting a public hearing: construction of water mains serving B & B Crossings.
R5-03 Setting a public hearing: construction of water main serving Vanderveen Plaza, Plat 1.
R6-03 Authorizing an agreement with the Missouri Department of Health for issuance of birth and death certificates.
R7-03 Authorizing an agreement with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to fund lead testing of children less than six years of age.
R8-03 Authorizing an agreement with Buck Consultants for review of the City's medical and dental plans.
R9-03 Authorizing the City Manager to initiate a request for rezoning of City-owned Auburn Hills park land.
R10-03 Amending an agreement with Affinis Corporation for bridge replacement on Garth Avenue over Bear Creek.
The bills were given third reading and the resolutions
were read with the vote recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS,
JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. VOTING NO: NO ONE. Bills declared enacted
and resolutions declared adopted, reading as follows:
R11-03 Authorizing an agreement with The Curators of the University of Missouri in connection with the EPA Clean Water Act Phase II Storm Water Regulations.
The resolution was read by the Clerk.
Mr. Beck explained that this is a joint project between the City, County Commission and the University.
Mr. Patterson noted that the contract is in the amount of $52,751. He pointed out that this is the third year for the appropriation of Phase II education and public outreach efforts cooperatively being done by the University, Boone County and the City of Columbia. He indicated that in October, the Council authorized Mayor Hindman to submit a letter of support for the Hinkson Creek Water Quality Improvement application. He said the $52,000 contract with the University is also being partially used to leverage matching amounts for that grant. This spring, Mr. Patterson reported that City staff will submit an application to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for a Phase II permit. He thought in the next year the Council will want to review the method by which long-term public outreach and education efforts are implemented. For this year, staff recommends approval of the agreement.
Mr. Janku asked about the County's share of the cost. Mr. Patterson replied that the County has a similar contract to this, and the University is participating by waiving their indirect cost they charge on contracts which amounts to about 24%.
The vote on R11-03 was recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. VOTING NO: NO ONE. Resolution declared adopted, reading as follows:
R12-03 Adopting a list of high priority
transportation improvement projects and requesting federal assistance
in funding these projects.
The resolution was read by the Clerk.
Mr. Beck explained that Congress is in the process of writing a new federal transportation bill. He said the bill will authorize funds not only for roadway work, but also for safety programs, transit programs, and any other transportation purposes. In Columbia, he noted the City's airport, railroad and various other operations will be eligible for funding under the new Transportation Act. Mr. Beck reported that it was communicated if local government and the business community would agree upon a few high priority projects, it would be helpful in Columbia's quest for funding to submit this list of priorities to Congress. He related that the City, County Commission and the Chamber have agreed upon the following three high priority transportation improvement projects: U.S. 63/I-70 Interchange, MO 740 Stadium Extension to I-70 and MO 763 widening. Mr. Beck said a second list was also prepared in case funds become available in other categories.
The vote on R12-03 was recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. VOTING NO: NO ONE. Resolution declared adopted, reading as follows:
R13-03 Repealing R197-02 and withdrawing
City's support for the Columbia Housing Authority's Affordable Housing
Project in Wyatt Lane Acres.
The resolution was read by the Clerk.
Mr. Beck explained that passage of this resolution would withdraw the City's support for previously approved legislation.
Charles Little, 5200 Sandstone, said he and his wife purchased their home in June of 2002. Had they known of this proposal, they never would have build their home in this location. In September of last year, he said David Bryan, Public Information Officer for the MHDC, reported that Kodiak's approach in regard to this project was still unproven. Mr. Little referred to a study published by the University of Wisconsin pertaining to low income housing that Mr. Harpole's company is using as a guideline. That study concludes by saying it is better for communities to scatter rather than concentrate housing developed for low to moderate income individuals. Out of the 150 homes Mr. Harpole has built in the last five years, only 50% of the original tenants continue to reside in the same dwellings today. Mr. Little stated that he and the residents of northeast Columbia feel this project should have been presented on a much smaller scale. He presented a petition with 200 plus signatures of homeowners in this area who are opposed to the proposed development. Mr. Little asked the Council to listen to the voice of the voting public in this area and notify MHDC that the City has withdrawn their support of the proposal.
Marsha Perkins, an almost eight year resident of Garden City, commented that she knew nothing about this development until some neighbors posted signs of such. She spoke in opposition to the proposal. Ms. Perkins raised concerns about the lack of public transportation in this area. She also believed the homes would always be rental units, thus increasing the rental inspection work that is conducted by the City. Ms. Perkins maintained the additional families in the neighborhood who would reside in the proposed homes would overload the school system. She further commented that because there are no sidewalks in the Wyatt Lane Acres, there will be no place for the kids to play except for in the streets.
Lori Wells, 4904 Sandstone, explained that she had moved to this area to get out of the inner City and away from crime. Ms. Wells indicated she has only lived in the subdivision for one year and she was concerned about the devaluation of her home. She was also concerned about this project being compared to that in Indian Hills.
Sue Wallace, 5710 Candlewood, explained that the property value of her home has steadily increased over the last 18 months. As a single mom, she said her retirement is in her house and she did not want to see this project affect her property values.
Lois Miller, 4908 Sandstone, commented that a family with an income of $31,500 would not be left with much after paying monthly bills. She could not understand how the homes would be well-maintained unless something was cut out. Ms. Miller was fearful residents in the proposed homes would not stay for 15 years and that the development would be turned into Section 8 housing units.
Richard Lowe, 3909 Springcress, was not opposed to helping people, but he did not think that low income residents should be helped to the point that existing properties would be devalued. He noted the proximity of Indian Hills Subdivision and the Bear Creek development from the Wyatt Lane neighborhood. He wondered why northeast Columbia is being used for Section 8 housing projects. Mr. Lowe supported the scattering concept. He asked the Council to support the neighborhood.
Tracy McCumber, 3907 Thornwood, reported that she purchased her new home in July of 2001. She indicated that she and her husband have worked very hard for this home. Ms. McCumber stated that most residents cannot afford to have their home investment be devalued. She was upset that decisions have seemingly been made without the neighborhood's participation.
Trudy Buckman, 3911 Beechwood, has resided in this area since August. She explained that she moved from a low income neighborhood between Sexton and the Business Loop to get away from criminal activities. Ms. Buckman commented that she had worked very hard to get out of the low income neighborhood, but was fearful that these problems have now followed her.
Susan Darby, 3808 Wyatt, explained that her home was put on the market right after she heard about this proposed project. She said that three people have looked at her house, but the realtor told her that people are not willing to buy homes in this neighborhood because of the development.
Greg Miller, 4908 Sandstone, understood that Mr. Harpole would receive tax credits from this project. He wondered if residents in the neighborhood would be entitled to the same tax credits.
Tonya Henry, 3908 N. Cottonwood, suggested the City look at bettering the housing stock in the inner City before expanding outward.
Lisa Nauman, 20 E. Forest, believed the concept that Columbia has a lack of affordable housing is a myth. She noted there is a chronic problem in her neighborhood with vacant houses. She spoke of her support for in-fill development. Ms. Nauman thanked the City for the current programs that help citizens of modest means purchase homes. She reported that she purchased her home through the City's homeownership assistance program, and she has plans to utilize this funding for improvements to her house.
Sherry Helm, 5201 E. Wilson Turner, commented she resides in the Wilson Turner Subdivision which is one-half mile from Wyatt Lane Acres. She pointed out that all of the homeowners in Wilson Turner own five and ten acre lots with homes appraising between $150,000 and $200,000. Ms. Helm maintained that while the concept and the idea of what the developer is trying to do may be a good one, she did not think this is the right area.
Jeff Hensey, 5403 Arrowwood, listed other cities where Mr. Harpole has had similar projects. Within those counties, he noted the poverty levels range from 12-18%. The poverty level for Boone County is about 10.5%. Mr. Hensey related that Columbia may have a need for public housing, but other counties need it more.
Steve Bittle, 3936 N. Wyatt Lane, explained that he and his family have lived in the area for many years. He spoke about the problems in the Indian Hills Subdivision. Mr. Bittle did not want to see that type of situation at his doorstep.
Kimi Kohrmeyer, 5100 Wilson Turner Road, spoke in opposition to the development.
Carol Smith, 4008 Thornwood, felt this was economic segregation. She said she would welcome a $90,000 next door, but did not think it was fair for those people who would be living in the $90,000 homes to be living in one section and not have other opportunities. She said they would be segregated because there was no way for them to travel, walk, or bike to a job from Wyatt Lane into the City of Columbia.
Richard Roller, 5707 Mexico Gravel, spoke of the gradual incline occurring on the north side of town. He thought the addition of 36 low income homes would cause this to be reversed.
John Clark, 403 N. Ninth, suggested the Council condition approval of any project by this developer to scattering. He said Columbia is massively income segregated and this has a particular affect on the schools.
Tammy Gunn, 3965 Wyatt, spoke in opposition to the project.
Earl Smarr, 3631 N. Wellington, wondered if any Council member would like to have this development at their front door and lose 25% on their property investment.
Margie Bittle, 3936 N. Wyatt, spoke in opposition. She asked those in support of this resolution to stand. Approximately 150 people stood in support.
Wallace Malveaux, 4808 Aztec, said he has lived in Indian Hills Subdivision since 1971. He reported that the low income development in Indian Hills has been a detriment to the neighborhood. Mr. Malveaux supported the scattering concept.
Jeff Porter, 5406 Arrowwood, pointed out that this project is touted as a homeownership program, but for the next 15 years it will be a rental program. He related that it is a cleverly disguised rental program because there is no guarantee that the developer will sell the homes to somebody else that does not have the same idea. He said it could be turned into Section 8 housing at a later date. Mr. Porter commented that a project such as this would not devalue farm land as much as it would residential properties. He was skeptical that Wyatt Lane Acres is the only area available in the City of Columbia for this kind of development.
Dan Simon, an attorney with offices at 203 Executive Building, explained that he is the lawyer for the Housing Authority of the City of Columbia. He noted that he does not represent the developer, but that the Housing Authority stands arm-in-arm with the developer and his corporation in this matter. Mr. Simon spoke about the residents who will occupy the homes. These will be good, hard working, lower income people who otherwise will be deprived of the opportunity to live in and eventually purchase decent single family houses. He said if this proposal is approved, it would provide the City of Columbia, through the various tax credit programs, with an approximate three million dollar subsidy for lower income housing.
Mr. Simon believed the fears of those in opposition were based on the supposition that housing values of existing homes would deteriorate and that their lifestyles are going to deteriorate. He said it appears that residents are fearful the proposed homes will somehow not be quality houses, or that the structures will not be maintained to the standards of those throughout the area, or that the people who will occupy these houses are somehow not proper, good quality neighbors. Mr. Simon reported the proposed homes would be at least the equivalent of the average of what is already there, appraising in the neighborhood of $115,000 to $125,000. He passed around photographs depicting the kind of houses that will be constructed, and described the square footage and number of rooms.
In respect to maintenance of the homes, Mr. Simon referred to the lease and the application for the lease. He noted that the restrictions in the lease are far more strict than the subdivision restrictions in this particular subdivision. The people occupying the houses will pay between $500 and $550 per month for rent. For that, these individuals will received 100% maintenance with a $100 deductible. Mr. Simon indicated that the tenants will be required to mow their own yards; however if they do not, he explained they would be a violation of the lease and would be subject to eviction. Furthermore, Mr. Simon said the Housing Authority is going to manage this project directly. The homes will be inspected four times annually by the landlord, the landlord's syndicator will inspect them three times, and the State of Missouri will inspect them every third year. He said they will be the most highly inspected housing units in the City of Columbia.
In regard to the quality of the people living in the houses, Mr. Simon explained that the tenants have to be employed with the rent being no more than 30% of their income. He pointed out that there is no way these people can qualify for Section 8 housing. Mr. Simon reported the proposed project is not, cannot be, is not intended to be, nor will it possibly be a Section 8 housing development. He related that tenants will be subject to intense screening. For a family of four, the income maximum will be $34,300 per year. Mr. Simon maintained that the quality of a person is not dependant on the quality of their income. While it is true this development will be rental housing for a period of 15 years, he said it is a very unique concept wherein the tenant develops a substantial amount of equity in the home. At the end of 15 years, the renter will be able to buy the home for 55% of its then appraised fair market value. If the tenant leaves in the meantime, they forfeit all equity in the home. Mr. Simon explained the project has been set-up in this manner to encourage people to stay and to encourage neighborhood stability.
Mr. Janku asked about the concept of scattering the houses. Mr. Simon felt that scattering assumes there must be a reason for it. He wondered if the assumption is that people living in these houses need to be diluted throughout area neighborhoods. Mr. Janku argued that the project could be a good thing and thus needed to be spread throughout the community. Mr. Simon responded that the developer looked at acquiring home sites in the central city area, but to no avail. Those lots that were available were priced at an exorbitant amount. Mr. Simon related that in order to proceed with this type of project, one must be able to control the lots for a significant period of time on the basis of a contingency, that being the approval of the tax credits. He noted that most land sellers are unwilling to take lots off the market and tie them up for a significant period of time on the basis of a contingency. He said if it could be done for 20 to 30 lots so that the seller will have a significant gain if the deal goes through, there is incentive for him to do so. However, there is no incentive for just a few lots. Furthermore, in order to provide affordable housing one has to be able to control land and construction costs. Mr. Simon explained that the Housing Authority has proceeded with this project because they felt there was a community will to try and develop low income housing for working, lower income people.
Regarding the covenants and restrictions, Mr. John asked whether such was in place on these lots before negotiations were started. Mr. Simon said there were none. In that case, Mr. John questioned whether it could have been possible for anyone to come in and build a 900 square foot house with a carport. Mr. Simon agreed with that statement. However, he has now been told there are some restrictions which will be recorded. Mr. Simon noted that one of the conditions of purchase is that the development restrictions be recorded before the lots are sold.
Mr. Simon pointed out that the developer, Mr. Harpole, does not need to rezone or plat any land. He said the lots in questions are within an existing, platted subdivision and anyone could build houses on them. He remarked that whoever those people are they would still need to use water, flush their toilets, and their kids are going to be expected to attend the public schools. He did not see how the burden of this project was any different than what would occur with any other family.
Mayor Hindman asked about the terms of the lease. Mr. Simon reviewed some of the rules and regulations the tenant will be required to comply with, what the costs are if they do certain things, automatic termination of the lease in certain events, what pets are allowed and not allowed, etc.
Mr. Hutton wondered why the developer felt it necessary to include so many restrictions. Mr. Simon responded that Mr. Harpole felt it was important to include such to preserve the quality of his investment. He pointed out that Mr. Harpole does not have the option to walk away from this project at the end of five years and turn it into a Section 8 project. He explained that federal government rules do not allow that.
Mayor Hindman asked if Mr. Harpole would consider building some non-rental property in the same area. Mr. Simon said he would because he has enough confidence in his product to agree that for every ten houses built, he would construct one house intended for sale in the $150,000 price range.
Jessica Robinson, on behalf of the Columbia Board of Realtors, 2309 I-70 Drive NW, spoke of the need for affordable housing in Columbia. Over the past ten years, she remarked that average housing prices have increased faster than income. Although vacancy rates for both rental and owner units have remained fairly steady, the Housing Authority's waiting list continues to grow. She pointed out that this summer the Mayor took action encouraging the Columbia Housing Authority Task Force to find creative solutions to support the concept of mixed use development and mixed incomes living together. But now, citizens will not tolerate the concept of economic diversity. Ms. Robinson stated that resident's perceptions that subsidized housing devalues property are often not based on fact. If there is no difference in type or style of construction, she asked how property value could be affected. She felt there was only one answer, with the objection being to "those people".
Mr. John asked if it was true the agreement stipulates that if the homeowner did not buy the property at the end of the 15 years, the Housing Authority could do so. Mr. Harpole confirmed that was part of the deal.
Mr. Loveless asked Mr. Harpole how he selected this particular site. Mr. Harpole explained that he spent all summer searching for places to build in Columbia. He spoke to many developers telling them what type of properties he builds and what type of program he offers. Many people would not talk to him after that point. When looking in the inner City, Mr. Harpole found that people wanted an exorbitant amount of money for the lots because this is a low income project. He reported the extremes went from five lots for one million dollars, dropped to $300,000 before he left the table, to an old run down house in need of razing with an asking price of $50,000. Mr. Harpole indicated that one option he secured was for a $15,000 house which would have to be torn down. Before a contract could be signed, that property was sold to a church organization. In addition, Mr. Harpole was not able to secure the contract on the Brown School Road location.
Mr. Janku asked about tenants losing their equity if they move after a certain period of time. Mr. Harpole replied they would lose their discount. Mr. Janku wondered what happens if a person's income rises above the allowed level. Mr. Harpole explained that the income limit is set for the initial move in, and after the first year their income can go to any level. He noted that he cannot raise the rent, nor will he be able to evict someone on that basis. As long as they are good tenants, pay the rent, and take care of the home they may stay the full fifteen years. Mr. Janku inquired as to what would happen if the tenant's income went down. Mr. Harpole responded that if it goes down and the person cannot make the rent, his organization would look for other means to assist the tenant. If the renter cannot take care of the house, they would have to leave and someone else would get the house.
Ms. Crayton remarked that there are a lot of people who qualify for the income limit on this project but would not qualify for Section 8 housing. She asked how these people would learn about this program. Mr. Harpole responded that brochures will be sent to the main employers in Columbia to inform them of the program and the income guidelines.
Jay Wilson, 5300 Tessa Way, a realtor and builder, explained that he has built MHDC houses in north Columbia off of HH. He stated that he had a person buy one of the homes who did not qualify for MHDC, but they were looking for a quality home. He thought Mr. Harpole would build quality homes.
John Payne, 10951 I-70 Drive NE, landowner of the property under contract, explained that 12 lots would be developed in the first phase and 24 in the second phase. Out of 100 lots, this proposed project would account for 36% of the houses in the subdivision. Mr. Payne said there were no restrictions when the first 14 lots were sold in the subdivision, but he had told everyone that the homes must contain at least 1,200 square feet. Mr. Payne thought the market would take care of the restriction issue, but he has already recorded the restrictions Mr. Harpole required in the contract.
In rebuttal, Mr. Little noted that the neighbors were never informed about the proposal. He also noted that at last Monday's meeting, the cost of the proposed houses was lower ($80,000-$90,000) than what had been stated this evening. Mr. Little believed that the new home buyers, such as himself, should have been told of this potential development before purchasing their homes.
Mr. Hutton spoke in defense of the Housing Authority. Under the leadership of Doris Chiles, he stated the Housing Authority is tremendously improved from what it was several years ago. Its operations is head and shoulders above where it was prior to Ms. Chiles coming on board, and the housing task force is doing exactly what they are supposed to do. Mr. Hutton could not fault the group for trying to provide low income housing. He also commended Mr. Harpole. It was his understanding that Mr. Harpole is a quality developer and a quality person. Mr. Hutton was truly sorry that he was being dragged through this mess. However, he maintained this issue is not about the Housing Authority, the task force, or Mr. Harpole.
Mr. Hutton reported the community has received a lot of information about this project -- some accurate and pertinent, and some not so -- but a determination and decision has to be made in regard to its development. He supported the City's efforts to provide low incoming housing for those in need, but he did not want to do it at the expense of existing homeowners and neighbors. At the last meeting, Mr. Hutton outlined the reasons for his opposition to this development. He reviewed three significant problems which include: 1) the location of such is significantly different from what was stated in the resolution passed by the Council at their October 7th, 2002, meeting; 2) it is wrong to develop what would almost exclusively be a low income neighborhood, primarily because of the inherent problems created by doing so; and 3) the location for the project is wrong, not because it is in the third ward, but because Mr. Hutton did not believe it is appropriate to build a development such as this in any neighborhood that is already partially developed and owner/occupied as it is inherently unfair to the existing residents to do so.
Mr. Hutton related that he met with the Housing Authority task force last Friday, and he was told that Columbia might be denied future MHDC money if this development is opposed by the Council. In addition, it would deny an opportunity to put $3 million dollars into the Columbia economy, but Mr. Hutton wondered at what cost. He supposed an argument could be made that the project would not necessarily hurt a neighborhood. As a matter of fact, the Council has been provided a study performed by the University of Wisconsin that says developments of this type do not lower property values. Although Mr. Hutton was not prepared to totally discount the results of this study, he pointed out a couple problems with it. First, the subject areas included Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, which obviously are both substantially different than Columbia. Mr. Hutton stated that he does not understand all the nuances and terminology found in a study such as this, but it flies in the face of common sense to say that proximity to low income housing does not lower property values. He indicated this concept is unexplainable and may even put the entire study in question.
Mr. Hutton noted that property values are only part of the equation. There is also the issue of the homes within the proposed development being used on a rental basis for 15 years. The plan stipulates that after the 15 years, the tenant will then have the opportunity to purchase the home at a discount, based upon the number of years they occupy the house. The thinking is that if they are in a rent-to-own situation, these individuals will take better care of the property than if they were strictly renters with no chance to be homeowners. Mr. Hutton had agreed with this philosophy until the developer was asked at a recent meeting as to what percentage of the original tenants still rented and occupied the homes in the Licking development, and the answer had been 50%, and this was after just a few years. He commented that this is the most telling and important piece of information that has been heard. Mr. Hutton noted that if this trend were to occur in Columbia, it would create a transitional neighborhood with no pride of ownership, and it would not necessarily provide low income homeownership opportunities which is the entire goal of the project.
Mr. Hutton reiterated that this is a tough decision. He spoke of the significant arguments both for and against the project. In some ways, he thought this is a roll of the dice. No one knows how the development will turn out. Mr. Hutton acknowledged that maybe the proponents are right, and this will be a quality project and meet the needs of many people without hurting the neighborhood. But on the other hand, maybe this assessment is wrong and the potential problems that have been identified will actually occur and the development becomes an albatross for the neighborhood and for the City as well. Mr. Hutton commented that either way the vote goes may be construed as a mistake, depending upon the person's opinion of the issue. However, he indicated that if he is going to make a mistake with his vote, he would err on the side of the existing neighborhood and residents. He did not think these people should be put at risk. Mr. Hutton believed the City should continue to work with the housing task force for other opportunities. He concluded there surely must be ways to accommodate low income people without jeopardizing existing neighborhoods. Mr. Hutton urged the Council to oppose this development, but the City could communicate to MHDC Columbia's continued commitment to utilize this economic opportunity to provide low income housing for the community.
Mr. Hutton noted that passage of this resolution will withdraw the Council's support for the project. No matter how the vote comes down this evening, he reported that as the third ward councilperson, he will write a letter to MHDC opposing the development and pointing out his views.
Mr. Hutton made the motion to amend Section 2 to read: "The City Manager is directed to send a letter to the Missouri Housing Development Commission withdrawing the City's support for the Housing Authority's Affordable Housing Project in Wyatt Lane Acres, but expressing the City's desire to pursue other opportunities with regard to future MHDC projects." The motion was seconded by Mr. Janku and approved unanimously by voice vote.
Mr. John perceived in this situation most of the fears people have expressed are of the unknown, i.e., the tenants will be bad people. He believed residents are fearful that the renters might need a subsidy to get into the home. In regard to the scattering of this development, Mr. John noted the City has implemented several programs for the inner city - a homeownership program for City employees to buy houses in the inner city, and subsidized home programs for houses purchased in the inner city. He also pointed out that the City gave thousands of dollars to Habitat for Humanity to build a new subdivision next door to another subdivision -- that is street to street -- for 900 to 1,200 square foot homes with carports. Mr. John stated that these types of projects have been done in different places around Columbia. He questioned why this one should be scattered to an area containing no sewer or water and the development would have to occur from scratch. Regarding the restrictions on the tenants, Mr. John said these are far more significant than the restrictions on the rest of the people in the neighborhood. He noted the houses being proposed will be comparable to those in the neighborhood. Mr. John explained that the reason some low income developments have brought down neighborhoods is because they were built of lesser quality, smaller houses, smaller lots, less restrictions and it showed. He did believe this is a scattered development because there are 100 lots in Wyatt Lane Acres, 100 or more lots in the adjacent Garden City Subdivision, and 1,000 lots between Thessalia and the other surrounding neighborhoods. Although there might be some turnover in regard to the 15 year rental period, Mr. John commented that the end tenant has the option to purchase the property. If the tenant is unwilling to do this, the Housing Authority can buy the homes and offer them at a subsidized rate.
Mr. John felt the primary issue residents had with the project was not wanting "those people" in their neighborhood. He thought it was unfortunate that the residents are afraid for that reason because other such projects have created that fear. Mr. John maintained that Columbia cannot move forward if people continue to live in the past and in fear. He was hopeful the City was above that and asked that the Council vote against the resolution.
Mr. Coffman indicated that he attempts to support neighborhoods in situations such as this, but in this case he felt resident's fears were based on issues of low income housing projects that are different than what is being proposed. He noted that there are not a lot of $100,000 homes available in Columbia. Mr. Coffman doubted the project would have a significant impact on the values of other homes in the neighborhood.
Ms. Crayton also felt this project would not devalue the existing homes in the area. She believed there is a precedent in this community of shutting low income people out of neighborhoods. Ms. Crayton stated that everyone should be given a chance to have a nice home.
Mr. Janku commended Mr. Harpole for being innovative with his different projects. He listed the different housing organizations the City supports. However, Mr. Janku felt this project was too remote to meet the standards needed by the low income families in the community. He maintained the Council has a strong record of supporting homeownership as well as rental programs. Mr. Janku related the City's past commitment to budget HOME monies for the support of low income rental projects. He spoke of his desire to sit down with the Housing Authority and share his ideas. He pointed out that the Council had not been involved with this particular issue until the very last minute, and then after the legislation was passed the location had been changed. Mr. Janku stated the process that was followed in this case had been flawed.
Mayor Hindman commented that he also has some concern about the location of the development as he felt it was too far out. He spoke about the lack of public transportation and sidewalks in this area. However, he believed the tenants who would live in the proposed homes could deal with the issues of transportation. Mayor Hindman thought this project is an opportunity to take a major step in providing affordable homes for working people. He noted that the lease has a huge number of safeguards, far more than what one would find in a non-rental area. If the Council denies support tonight on the theory the project would be better if the development was scattered, Mayor Hindman maintained the City would be faced with a battle from area residents every time an affordable housing development is proposed. In reference to the proposal tonight, he believed not only would there be an incentive for the tenant to stay the full 15 years in order to purchase the property, but the developer is also willing to build a $150,000 house for sale to an owner/occupant for every ten houses rented. Mayor Hindman was convinced this project would not hurt the neighborhood and that the fears are unjustified.
Mr. Loveless recognized the need to provide homeownership opportunities for those folks who are of limited income. He applauded the Housing Authority and Mr. Harpole's willingness to try to do that. Although the Council gave their endorsement to that concept, he said this project changed from what was originally endorsed. After seeing the quality of the homes Mr. Harpole intends to build and the covenants involved, Mr. Loveless stated he was not convinced that property values would decline. However, despite assurances made by Mr. Simon, he was also not convinced that property values would not decline. Mr. Loveless indicated if he was going to err in his vote, he would rather it be on the conservative side and in favor of those folks who already have their homes.
Mr. Hutton agreed with Mr. John in that the remaining lots will eventually be developed, but he questioned to what quality. He said that would essentially hinge on how this project turns out. In reference to the fears expressed by residents, Mr. Hutton reported these folks cannot afford to buy the lots in question to keep them from being developed like other neighborhoods can. As the Council representative for the third ward off and on since 1989, he has seen things change dramatically in the north side of town. Mr. Hutton related that northeast Columbia always seems to be the dumping ground for everything, and now residents are finally getting to the point where they have overcome this obstacle. He observed that the Indian Hills neighborhood has fought hard to improve their subdivision because it was a blight, and now it is much improved over what it was.
The vote on R13-03, as amended, was recorded as follows: VOTING YES: JANKU, HUTTON, LOVELESS. VOTING NO: JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, CRAYTON. Resolution defeated.
Mayor Hindman made the motion that the City Manager send
another letter reiterating support for the project, but making it conditional
upon the builder putting in at least one $150,000 owner/occupied home for
every ten houses that he builds. The motion was seconded by Mr. John.
Mr. Hutton asked if Mayor Hindman would accept a friendly amendment to include in the letter that it was a 4 to 3 vote of the Council in favor of this proposition. Mayor Hindman said he would not.
The motion made by Mayor Hindman, seconded by Mr. John, was approved by voice vote.
Mr. Hutton made the motion that the letter to be written by Mr. Beck so stipulate that the Council had a two and one-half hour discussion on the issue with lots of public input, and that the final vote had been 4 to 3 in favor of the project. The motion was seconded by Mr. Coffman and defeated by a show of hands.
The following bills were introduced by the Mayor unless otherwise indicated, and all were given first reading:
B1-03 Approving the final plat of East
B2-03 Approving the final plat of Vanderveen Crossing, Plat No. 10.
B3-03 Approving the final plat of Northland Acres Estates, Plat 1-A, a replat of portions of Lots 27 and 28 of Northland Acres Estates.
B4-03 Rezoning property located at the southern terminus of Sandman Lane from C-1 to C-P; approving the Tires Plus C-P Development Plan.
B5-03 Establishing Sanitary Sewer District No. 157 (Rollins and Burnam Avenue).
B6-03 Establishing Sanitary Sewer District No. 160 along Lakeview Avenue and Fir Place.
B7-03 Accepting easements for sewer, road, utility and drainage purposes.
B8-03 Calling for bids for the construction of Forum Boulevard from Dunbar Drive to Old Plank Road.
B9-03 Authorizing Change Order No. 1; approving engineer's final report for the construction of the Cow Branch Pump Station, Force Main and Outfall, and Trunk Sewers CB-4 and CB-5 Improvement Project.
B10-03 Confirming the contract for the construction of the Vintage Drive Area Drainage Project; appropriating funds.
B11-03 Calling for bids for the construction of water main along Liddell Lane from East Dusty Rhodes Lane to the south of Mount Hope Road.
B12-03 Calling for bids for the construction of water main along Oakland Gravel Road from Starke Lane to Gregory Heights Subdivision.
B13-03 Authorizing construction of water main along Business Loop 70 to serve Head Motor Company property; providing for payment of differential costs.
B14-03 Authorizing construction of water mains serving B & B Crossings; appropriating funds.
B15-03 Authorizing construction of water main serving Vanderveen Plaza, Plat 1; providing for payment of differential costs.
B16-03 Accepting a deed of dedication for water main purposes.
B17-03 Amending Chapter 16 of the Code to establish law enforcement policies relating to marijuana.
B18-03 Calling a special election to consider an initiative ordinance that would establish law enforcement policies pertaining to marijuana.
B19-03 Calling the municipal election to be held April 8, 2003 to elect Council members for Wards 2 and 6.
REPORTS AND PETITIONS
(A) Intra-departmental Transfer of Funds.
(B) City of Columbia Volunteer Hours.
Leigh Nutter explained that volunteer hours in 2002 totaled a little over 39,000 and had a value of over $625,000. She indicated that number is slightly down from last fiscal year, but noted that the majority of City departments have increased their volunteer hours, especially in Police, Public Works and the Office of Volunteer Services. She noted that staff is working on some new programs for this upcoming fiscal year to include a program at the Airport and the Health Department.
Ms. Crayton spoke about the many other volunteers that work behind the scenes throughout the City.
(C) Underground Power Lines on Crestmere
Avenue Behind the Library.
Mr. Beck thought the Council should consider adopting a policy for undergrounding when public buildings are constructed. Mayor Hindman agreed and said undergrounding is something the private sector should do as well.
Referring to the report, Mayor Hindman asked if the area included the entire length of Crestmere from Garth to Parkway. Mr. Malon said it did. Mayor Hindman wondered about the cost of undergrounding just in front of the library so as not to affect the adjacent residential properties. Mr. Malon responded it would cost less for this shorter strip, but there would still be the question as to who is going to reimburse CenturyTel for the work. As indicated in the report, it is obvious from now on the telephone company is going to want to be paid. Mayor Hindman asked who owns the poles. Mr. Malon was not sure, but said if the poles belong to the City, CenturyTel would have the right to replace them with their own. Mayor Hindman felt the issue needs further review and suggested that it be discussed at a work session. He spoke of his preference for undergrounding on the library property up to the residences. Mr. Malon replied that staff would look at this section.
(D) Progress Report - Use of Building
Adjacent to Field Neighborhood Park.
Mr. Hutton noted that the project budget was $5,000 for exterior renovation. He did not think that would touch what the building needs on the outside. He asked if that amount was meant to be all-inclusive. Mr. Hood said he did not know the answer, but would contact the group and investigate. Mr. Hutton thought if it did not need a roof now, it would at some point. He added that the building needs total tuck pointing, weather and water proofing, in addition to the probable replacement of all the doors and windows.
(E) Planning and Zoning Commission
Mr. Janku made the motion that the issue be referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission as part of the ongoing review of Commission procedures. The motion was seconded by Mr. John and approved unanimously by voice vote.
BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
COMMENTS BY COUNCIL, STAFF AND PUBLIC
Ms. Crayton asked about City departments sending representatives to a community meeting to discuss the City's homeownership and home maintenance programs. She indicated that she would secure a location for the meeting. Mr. Dudark replied that staff would participate in any way they could.
Mr. Janku commented on the need for a bus shelter on the north side of Ash in the vicinity of The ARC.
Mr. Janku pointed out the lack of crosswalk markings at the intersection of Clinkscales and Ash.
Mr. Janku asked that in public right-of-way, particularly the strip between the street and the sidewalk, the area disturbed by construction be repaired to the level it was before the work occurred. He spoke about a section along Broadway and Garth that has been torn up and nothing has been done to it since the library opened.
In regard to the Garth/Blue Ridge improvements, Mr. Janku stated there is a continual problem with cars not being able to make the 90 degree turn at this intersection. He related that Public Works had gone out and put in additional signage, but another accident occurred within the last few weeks, which was unrelated to the weather. Mr. Janku reported that the car crashed through a privacy fence and into a resident's backyard. He noted this type of accident has happened several times. Mr. Janku stated some type of barrier is needed at this location to protect that property until the improvements are made.
Mr. Hutton commented that he thought the process in regard
to the housing development issue was flawed. He said the information coming
to the Council was poor, as was the education process with the neighborhood.
When he met with the Housing Authority Task Force on Friday, Mr. Hutton indicated
they discussed this issue. He noted the City and developers in Columbia have
learned over time that these types of controversial matters need neighborhood
input. Mr. Hutton suggested the Housing Authority do a better job with the
process in the future. Mr. Janku reiterated his willingness to meet and work
with the group. Mr. Hutton spoke about previous Council discussions in which
they considered the possibility of setting aside CDBG money over a number
of years so that a certain number of lots could be purchased and then a developer
could begin construction on a project. He stated it would be a self-funding
process because the developer would buy the lots back. That money could then
be used to purchase more lots.
Mr. Janku asked about using HOME funds for this purpose. Mr. Dudark responded a home would have to be built within one year of buying the lot. He reported there is more time if CDBG money is used.
In reference to the earlier discussion on B414-02, Mr.
Loveless asked that the necessary legislation be prepared to have the ordinance
amended to allow driveway access on the one section of Mexico Gravel Road.
Mr. Janku suggested staff also look at other streets since many new roads have come into existence. Mr. Dudark replied that staff would thoroughly review the ordinance and see what needed to be edited.
Mr. Coffman announced that he would not be running for a third term on the City Council.
Mayor Hindman made the motion that staff be directed to look into the sidewalk situation discussed earlier by the Rock Bridge student and report back with possibilities for a sidewalk/pedway. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hutton and approved unanimously by voice vote.
The meeting adjourned at 11:00 p.m.
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