President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on November 5, 2008, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mrs. McNear took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Diehl, Galster, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and Harlow.
The minutes of October 15, 2008 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
Mrs. McNear read a thank you letter from Larry Radel. I want to thank you all for giving me that proclamation and Larry Radel day from the City of Springdale. That night of October 15, 2008 will always be very special and dear to me. I will keep it in my heart forever. You have made me feel very special for fighting and serving the greatest country in the world. Thanks again. Im proud to say Im living in the City of Springdale. Semper Fi.
Mrs. McNear said the second letter is from OKI stating that my term on the board expires January 8, 2009 and they are looking for an appointment for next year. Mrs. McNear agreed to do it again.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS - none
OLD BUSINESS - none
PLANNING COMMISSION DISCUSSION
Mrs. Harlow said we have two letters from Planning Commission dated October 29, 2008. The first letter is a recommend proposal for the Tri-County Retail Revitalization Plan. It states that at their meeting of October 14, 2008 the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that City Council consider requesting a proposal from McBride, Dale, Clarion Firm for a revitalization plan for the Tri-County retail district. The second letter is in regard for a proposal for an updated Zoning Code. Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that City Council consider requesting a proposal from McBride, Dale, Clarion Firm for updating the Zoning Code for the City of Springdale.
Mayor Webster said I received this letter Thursday. I was a little concerned because it sounded like what Planning Commission was requesting was very similar to what weve been doing, although what we have been doing is more of a global vision than actual study. So I immediately called Mr. Butrum and we talked it through a little bit. I guess there was some miscommunications on the intent of the letter. I though there was enough difference of opinion that its important that we all get on the same page. I asked Mr. Butrum if he and Mr. Okum could attend the meeting tonight. I would like Council to hear firsthand from them what their concerns are. Some of you were there last Thursday to hear the final presentation on the study. It wasnt a whole lot different from what Council heard back in April when KKG gave a presentation. Our recommendation on the plan at this point is that Council adopt that as a vision of what wed like to see there. Its not a detail retail study plan and its totally different than the SR 4 Corridor Plan was about as far as dictating architectural, etc. We see the next step is for Council to adopt that by ordinance or resolution and then Ive asked Jeff Tulloch to convene with KKG, Anne McBride and Bill McErlane to come up with a next step plan. In light of that Jeff has to put together a list of things they see as being necessary. Id like to share that with Tony and Dave. Jeff thinks they can turn this around in the next thirty days. If you would want to hold off adopting the study until then, thats fine too.
Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director, said there is a step here. Weve done a Comprehensive Strategic Plan that involves ten components that are discreet kinds of things that the plan calls for us to address. You go from the Strategic Plan to the next steps but they themselves require definition. For example, under Land Use Planning and Zoning, which is one of the elements that will be addressed, we want to get the input of KKG and Anne McBride to see what kinds of things there are that we need to do immediately and long term to help facilitate the Strategic Plan. The short term things are what do we do with new development that is being proposed, say at the intersection of Kemper and SR 747? Planning Commission wants some direction as to whats going on there. Another item would be our current Land Use Plan which probably requires updating. There are things in the Strategic Plan that say that this areas ought to be multi-use, office, mid rise residential, retail and even hotel, whereas the current Land Use Plan calls for it as regional retail. We need to modify that. It goes beyond that into overlay districts, PUDs, etc. The intent of the Strategic Plan wasnt to identify all those steps. It was to identify those things as issues. Now we need to address and identify the next steps and proceed with how we implement those. Thats just one item. There are financing issues, tax increment financing, BID (Business Improvement District) which could be a very important tool for implementation of the plan. Basically that involves an additional assessment of the properties that exist within the retail district. It creates a revenue stream to fund an entity that would be responsible for the promotion and marketing of the retail district. We are addressing next steps that we intend to accomplish within thirty days, come back to Administration and then to Council to identify needs that we have in respect to implementation.
Mr. Osborn said when Jeff refers to the Land Use Plan he is not talking about the Zoning Code. He is talking about the Comprehensive Plan. We all intuitively feel that one of the first things that ought to happen is to modify the Comprehensive Plan to reflect these recommendations. Leading up to that we would like our planners to give us a more specific recommendation on specific steps we should take and how we should follow those. Ultimately, we will solicit a proposal from Anne McBrides group to modify the Comprehensive Land Use Plan but on the other hand, I think it would be premature to rush in and start altering zoning classifications in those areas right now because this is a dynamic plan, the intention which is to bring back a major redevelopment of almost 400 acres of land, very high priced land. Thats not going to happen by us trying to dictate up front, this is how its going to happen because we are going to zone it this way. We need to leave flexibility in the plan so we can attract major investors to come in and say, within the framework of what you envision, this is how we see it being built and being built in a way that is profitable to the private sector. Where is all the money going to come from to do all of this? Its no coming out of the Citys coffers; its coming from the private sector. So we have to have some type of outline in place that would suggest what we would be willing to negotiate. Then we have to sit down with that private sector group and have a give and take type exchange until we both reach agreement on plan that we feel is beneficial to the community and they see profit from their side. Land use is going to be on the front of this but in a more overreaching sense and not specific.
Mayor Webster said thats the way we see the next steps. Having shared that with you Id like to ask Dave and Tony how that doesnt fit with what they are challenged with.
Mr. Butrum stated it does fit. The plan we are talking about in the letter is really a little p, not big P. Its more of a general case of things that we can do and put in place so that we have tools as we have applicants coming forth. We already have applicants that are at ground zero of the revitalization district at SR 747 and Kemper with Thompson Thrift. If there are any tools that can be fast tracked that gives us something to look at objectively so that when we render decisions like for this applicant here now, and there are rumors to possible changes in development, when were making decisions, we dont want those to be arbitrary. We want them to be enforceable. We want to have some backbone to them. We wanted something in place that gave us some guidelines and that sounds like thats the direction it is going. I think there is an opportunity to impact the architectural features on the key corners right away with the proposed development that Thompson Thrift is doing. Thats an area that perhaps could be fast tracked. We werent looking to get more involved in the plan. Its just where are opportunities to put things in place that would help us with decisions.
Mr. Okum said I agree. I was here Thursday and Im extremely excited about the proposal and the work that has gone into the plan. We can only hope that at least part of those visions can come to be. At Planning Commission level we dont want to be arbitrary. We want to be fair and we want to help them move to where this plan and vision are. I didnt want Planning Commission to be put in a position that when a proposal comes in that we are reacting and not being progressive. I think the Comprehensive Land Use Plan is key. I think we are close to five years from the last time it was updated so its a good time to look at it. I think Council acting on an acceptance of the vision is critical to Planning Commission. It may not be in zoning because I dont think the Zoning Code needs to be edited for that purpose. Its too early for that but long term I believe it will require some changes. Another area where Planning Commissions responsibility falls is the adoption of the Thoroughfare Plan. There are some road elements that are on that vision. There is potential that there might be a road there and when the developer wants to make a change or redevelop, at least we have the tools so that we are fair. We are not trying to jump ahead of Council and the Administration. Were just trying to get some direction.
Mr. Galster said I think it is important to remember when we started the revitalization presentation we invited Planning and BZA. After that meeting everyone was excited. There was thinking outside the box. A lot of things were set aside with an understanding that we would need to be more flexible in order to make this kind of a vision happen down the road. Planning Commission is asking what are we doing to start to incorporate some of this into our thinking. Thats where it came up. We understood the need to keep the revitalization plan separate from the Zoning Code. I agree with Mr. Tulllochs points but there are three or four that I think are important to Planning so how do we move forward to incorporate that so we are as equipped as we can be to deal with any redevelopment that happens now, six months from now, or six years from now.
Mayor Webster said when someone wants to make an investment in the City we try to welcome them with open arms but I think it is somewhat unfortunate that Thompson Thrift happened when it did. The timing could not be worse. The first six months of this year all we did was live with the GE project and this got put on the back burner. Had we not been faced with that we would be way into this and would have had the tools enacted that you need. With Councils concurrence we would like to not engage another firm. Wed like to give Jeff another thirty days. I think we are going to be leaning on the same resources for updating the Zoning Code as we are this and I think this is more important before we do the Zoning Code.
Mr. Okum said if Council acts in the next thirty to forty-five days that puts us two meetings away. There is a lot of importance and strength to Council acting on a vision. That gives us something to work with at Planning Commission.
Mr. Tulloch said the presentation is substantially the same. I would get a copy to Council members and then come in at the next meeting and request the resolution.
Mr. Danbury asked where are we with the applicant?
Mr. Okum replied it is only a concept plan. I dont think we can control the architectural elements at that sight anymore than whatve already approved. They will be submitting a final plan in January.
Mr. Danbury asked if they already have something, wouldnt that establish the standards?
Mr. Butrum responded that this is the danger or the positive depending on what they come back with. There is the architecture of the building itself and then the architecture of the feature that we would want to duplicate. We dont want that to be ad hoc so that every corner looks different when it comes to those architectural features. They proposed something that we did not comment on either way because we wanted to see where the City is going. Things are happening rather quickly. They proposed two phases. We are now talking three phases. One is the old BP, two is the Tiffany Glass building and three would be incorporating Skyline and Ponderosa who still have ten year leases on their sites.
Mr. Vanover said the initial concept was turned down because it only involved the corner. Planning is not looking for a cookie cutter yet. We just want to know where the stakes are. We need a defensible position we can barter from.
Mr. Osborn said the second item on the list is architectural standards. We recognize that is something we need sooner rather than later. As to how we can influence development in the interim, the consultant has pointed to the refurbished former Penneys site as the style of architecture that he will be recommending. I dont think its too late to have more influence on what the southeast corner looks like. Jeff has been in contact with the owner, has tried to get the owner together with KKG to bring the project closer to what weve seen occur at Tri-County Mall. What they are proposing now is not that far off and wouldnt be a big cost item to modify further to reflect what happened at Tri-County Mall.
Mr. Galster said the applicant has seen the vision and is excited about it as is Fifth Third. Planning Commission took a lot of time to make sure the applicant understood that this was a cornerstone development. We want them to understand how important this property is to the overall picture and I think they do.
Mr. Diehl asked would it be beneficial to include Tony and Dave involved in staff discussions?
Mayor Webster replied I think that would be premature. Lets let them try to identify what resources we need in this first round. Later we would want Planning Commissions involvement.
Mrs. McNear said we have a liquor license change of ownership for Romanos Macaroni Grill. There were no objections.
Mrs. Harlow said we have board positions that are expiring and a couple that have already expired. Mr. Bushs term on Charter Revision expires on 12/31/08. Mr. Wilson, will you contact him and ask him if he wants to be reappointed? Mr. Potts
position on Civil Service expires 12/31/08 and thats a Council appointment. The Mayors appointments for Board of Health expire 12/31/08. Mr. Wetterer and Mr. Kortaneks positions expired 5/31/08. The Volunteer Firefighters board appointments are up for renewal on 12/31/08.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Health - November 13
Planning Commission - November 11, 6:3 pm
Board of Zoning Appeals - November 18
Planning and BZA Training - November 11
Chamber of Commerce Business Expo - November 6
Finance Committee - November 25
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Danbury made a motion that Council go into executive session as a meeting of the whole to discuss possible real estate acquisition. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 7:47 p.m.
Council reconvened at
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT - none
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Council adjourned at p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council