This week’s theme: On the trail without a fact sheet!
On the trail was written by Ferde Grofé – an American composer as part of his Grand Canyon Suite. The song has become a jazz standard since Tenor Saxophonist Jimmy Heath covered the tune on his sixth album in 1964. A recent favorite version was composed and performed by Walter Smith III.
Recommended musical track for your listening pleasure: Walter Smith III, On the Trail here.
Meetings at City Hall and elsewhere this week…
PIAC is on-going. Check your local listings for the latest. Virtual and in-person meetings all week.
Lots of critical proposals here to chew on.
So many ordinances have no fact sheet and no staff report. The lack of information is disconcerting.
Please contact your council person and Mayor Lucas’ office for more details.
TIO (Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee)
Lucas, Loar, Bunch – presiding
Wednesday August 17, 2022 – 9:00 AM
The City Council is authorizing a number of contracts related to water services and engineering for stormwater and green infrastructure. We encourage you to track which firms are selected for these projects and to reach out to their community affairs and planning teams. These projects WILL have an impact on your neighborhood. Town Fork Creek, Blue Hills, and other neighborhoods take note.
220702 – Update on the Trails KC Plan and prioritization of capital improvements. If you have trails in your neighborhood – please take note! This is really exciting for those of you who like to hike or ride bikes in the city. Our trails are critical infrastructure – so please support this work. But let’s also make sure that all neighborhoods are included – especially those that are too often left un-connected.
220702 – Update on the Trails KC Plan No fact sheet.
A copy of the 2008 plan is here: https://kcresearch.org/islandora/object/kcresearch%3A10415
Will this update include the “Greenline” around downtown? Stay tuned…
220667 – Barney Allis Plaza Redevelopment – held in committee.
Neighborhood Planning and Development
Barnes and Bough presiding
Wednesday August 17, 2022 – 1:30 PM
HOME-America Rescue Plan funds will appropriated – 220688. This particular action appears to be the Housing Department’s efforts to prevent homelessness and support housing services. Ask Jane Brown for more details.
Chapter 88 – Amendment to allows ADUs. No fact sheet provided.
220698 – Amending Chapter 88, Zoning and Development Code, by enacting new sections to be known as Sections 88-305-15, Accessory Dwelling Units, and 88-810-005, Accessory Dwelling Unit, for the purpose of establishing regulations for accessory dwelling units to provide housing choice while preserving the character of neighborhoods.
An ADU is an accessory dwelling unit. These units are typically a converted garage or new construction in the backyard of a single-family home (which of course raises questions about how big does your backyard have to be to fit a new unit in the back…).
Unclear how the City is handling the approval process for these and if neighborhoods will be able to collectively develop a preferred approach. Kevin Klinkenberg (Main Street) and others have been promoting a citywide approach to the ADU option – but we’re not convinced that’s what all neighborhoods want or need.
We haven’t found a staff report – but we’re working on find one – on the trail again!
This Item will go to Council on Thursday if approved at Neighborhood Planning and Development. We are encouraging leaders to call City Council and get more details before there is a vote.
A note on ADUs: Some people think being able to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit will solve the City’s housing crisis. The evidence suggests otherwise: https://shelterforce.org/2022/05/17/why-adus-cant-solve-the-nations-housing-crisis/
While we’re not against ADUs – we know that the current development regime in Kansas City will favor neighborhoods and homeowners with adequate resource$$$ first, which won’t be equitable – unless there’s a plan to address equitable development – which we cannot find at this point (On the trail again! This one is Wynton Kelly piano trio!!!) https://youtu.be/p4jt1_75jh4
ADUs can add more rental units to the City’s housing stock – but there’s no guarantee those units won’t become VRBO or other short-term rental units (unless of course that is explicitly address in the Chapter 88 text amendments – but we haven’t found any details, so we can’t tell you what will happen. On the trail!)
Families with extra space and money could build a unit for Grandma to live in a house in the backyard. That’s why these units are often called “Granny Flats.” In areas with high housing costs and high land costs – ADUs are often the cheapest way to get new rental units.
Please note: ADUs are the only form of housing that put the development process in the hands of the homeowner – according to our friend Jason Neville. He has a great video here about how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbIBu6MjkJI
If we want to see an increase in ADU development – especially as affordable housing – we will have to take steps to address the issues of access to capital and affordability requirements. Again –we haven’t seen any details, so we can’t tell you what will happen. Based on the lack of information – we think this ordinance needs more public debate and discussion…. On the trail again!
220699 – RebuildKC recommendations – Neighborhood Services
Minor home repair, infrastructure, sustainability programs, community programs and other projects will be reviewed – about $15 million in estimated project costs. It’s about time we moved forward on this work… but who knows which of the 1,000s of neighborhood projects will move forward?
220700 “Affordable Housing Set Aside” – new Code Section 74-11. No fact sheet.
Repeals ordinance 201038, which appears to be a prevailing wage ordinance for affordable housing.
Enacting a new Code Section, 74-11, “Affordable Housing Set Aside;”
directing the City Manager to develop a pricing sheet, provide priority
consideration for certain projects, and provide an annual housing report
to the Council; and repealing Ordinance No. 201038.
220701 – Administrative process for awarding standard incentive packages for residential, office and industrial developments.
This one has blown up on Twitter and in other locations…. It appears to promote some regularity in the development of incentive packages as “Standard Minimum Incentive Packages.” We’re not sure why this one isn’t better coordinated with the City’s equity goals and the Comprehensive Plan update… but that might be asking too much. Anyway, it appears to require a CBA (Community Benefits Agreement?) for Class A Office and Industrial – assuming that’s what CBA means in the Attachment A.
It also appears to discourage overbuilding of parking by excluding any parking in excess of minimum standards by not subsidizing more parking.
Residential Incentives seem to target Downtown (4th District) and Third District – areas that already have a diversity of multi-family housing stock and certainly have sites suited for more density and development. This approach – however, would not promote incentives for multi-family construction in historically single-family only areas, raising questions about the location of new MF housing units.
Speculative Class A office target areas include Downtown – which we wonder if downtown needs incentives at this point. Isn’t downtown its own incentive by now?
Finance, Governance and Public Safety
Shields and Hall, presiding
Wednesday August 17, 2022 – 10:30 AM
Multiple settlements for lawsuits and other financial obligations.
220663 Calling an election on November 8, 2022, for the purpose of authorizing the issuance of an amount not to exceed $175,000,000.00 in General Obligation Bonds to finance various public improvements across two ballot questions; directing the City Clerk to provide notice of the election; declaring the City’s intention to reimburse itself from bond proceeds for bond related expenditures; directing the City Clerk to notify the responsible election authorities of this election; recognizing this ordinance as having an accelerated effective date; and establishing an effective date for the voter authorization.
Details from the Fact Sheet:
This ordinance puts a question on the November 8, 2022 ballot to provide authorization to issue $175 million in general obligation bonds over an estimated period of 20 years for the purpose of paying for basic capital infrastructure, including parks, recreation and entertainment, City Hall improvements and affordable housing projects. The authorization for the bonds will be used over a period five years to match the roll off of existing debt. This is designed to be a “no tax increase” GO bond authority.
220679 RESOLUTION – Directing the City Manager to develop a funding and implementation plan for a hotline staffed with experienced and trained professionals designed to provide alternatives to individuals, especially youth, who are considering violence; and requesting a report back to the Council within sixty days.
Anyway – that’s it for now – sure to be more to report soon…