Transit Policy Stalls
May 26, 2016

The proposed ‘Transit Oriented Development Policy’ran into opposition Thursday at a joint meeting of two Kansas City Council committee.

Sponsor Jolie Justus pulled the proposal back at the end of the meeting.

Several council members, including three from the Northland, raised questions about the scope and intent of the plan.

Northland Council member Dan Fowler said he had just received a copy of the lengthy plan. He was concerned that only transit activists had been involved in drawing up the proposal.

“There has been no effort to reach out to those groups beyond those in the city center.” Fowler said, “That’s my concern. Something is going to be passed that most of us are not aware of”.

He added in was in favor a general transit policy,. He think less densely populated parst of the city, like the Northland and South Kansas City, need to be more involved. .

The proposal is intended to guide development along the streetcar line downtown and along some of the city’s bus stations, especially ones of the dedicated MAX bus routes.

The goal is to try and link economic development and transit.
City leaders claim the new 2 mile downtown streetcar route helped revive downtown and south of the loop.
Kansas Citian Sheila Styron testified at the hearing with her guide dog at her side. Styron is blind.

She said it’s right for the city to require business to make sure there bus station near by their operations that the disabled can use easily.

Kansas Citian Fred Gambino noted he owned property in Olathe, Kansas.

He says the city needs a transit guidance plan.
“Because without a policy, there’s no policy. And you’re going to end up like Olathe. Heaven help us,” he said.

The planning department leaders say they will arrange for a set of meetings in both the Northland and South Kansas City before drawing up a revised transit development policy.

Transit Policy Has to Streetcar Plan
May 26, 2016

Kansas City, Missouri’s Director of planning says there is no intent to expand the new streetcar line through a new transit policy.

” No. It is not implicitly a plan to expand the street car,” said Jeffery Williams, Planning Director.

The issue came up early in a lengthy Thursday morning meeting on the proposed “Transit Oriented Development” proposal the council is considering.

Northland Council member Heather Hall brought up her concerns about the streetcar expansion early in the meeting. She says she has concerned about a possible expansion.

” I do. I hear, as he (Williams) was discussing the plan, ‘future streetcar expansion’ is in the policy. To me, that means future streetcar expansion,” she said.

Hall remains skeptical about the no-expansion pledge.

Catholic Dorm ControversyStill Simmers as. It Heads for Council Decision
July 15, 2015

The intense controversy over plans for a Catholic dormitory set for the neighborhood between Rockhurst University and UMKC is headed for the full the city council.

The Council’s Planning Committee voted to send the plan on to the full council.

“This is farm from a sure thing,” advised chairman Ed Ford after voting to send the plan ahead.

The plan for a dorm to house Catholic students at UMKC is facing stiff opposition from some of the residents near its location, on the property of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church at 52nd & Troost.

The diocese says it wants to provide a Catholic culture for UMKC students who desire it. The dorm would be across the street from the catholic Rockhurst University.

Some of the opponents, however, include members of the Catholic parish. They think the diocese is thrusting an unwanted plan upon them

“it’s this project, it’s not housing,’ said parish member Vince Gauthier, one of the opponents of the plan. Opponents complain the church refuses to compromise on the plans.

Not everybody is going to agree on how it’s laid out, or designed, or pieces. But we do think it’s a connector between these two universities” said Fr. Kenneth riley of the Kansas City Catholic diocese.

KC Council Approve Fire Department Cuts in Effort to Avoid Lay-Offs
May 11, 2012

The Kansas City Council today voted 10-2 in favor of a new 3-year contract with the city’s firefighters union. The agreement factors in a $7.6 million cut to the fire department and strives to avoid layoffs, but neither side was fully satisfied.
The pact calls for the retirement or attrition of about 33 of the most senior firefighters and takes two underused companies out of service. It also requires firefighters to work more hours before overtime kicks in. Additional savings will come from the retirement or voluntary departure of about 17 other department employees from the ranks of battalion chiefs, deputy chiefs and civilians.
Supporters said this was a good deal that came out of contentious negotiations with Local 42 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
“We will be working to make sure we have the excellent department our citizens deserve,” said Councilwoman Jan Marcason.
Council members Ed Ford and Jim Glover voted against the deal and said they had major concerns about a multiyear agreement that they aren’t sure the city can afford.
Councilman John Sharp voted for the agreement and said he was glad it avoids layoffs, but he worried that closure of the station near Richards Gebaur Air Base will in fact jeopardize public safety in south Kansas City.

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James Chides Council as New District Maps are Approved
December 9, 2011

From Prime Buzz & the KC Star:

The Kansas City Council voted 11-1 in favor of a new redistricting map that follows the recommendations of a citizens advisory committee.
Councilman John Sharp was the lone dissenter. He argued the map is detrimental to many 4th and 6th District residents, neighborhoods and community organizations. He said there would have been a way to tweak the map to respond to those concerns, but the advisory committee and city council were unwilling to consider any changes to respond to constituents. He said the map as designed is clear gerrymandering, and does not create districts that are geographically compact.
Sharp warned that opponents of the map may launch an effort to overturn the map or to put it on a ballot for a public vote.
But supporters of the map said it was the result of a lengthy, thoughtful and fair advisory committee review process. They argued that moving the lines to accommodate the 4th and 6th Districts would create other problems and could violate the Voting Rights Act.
Mayor Sly James, clearly frustrated with how every debate in this town turns divisive, blew up when Sharp complained that the city turned a deaf ear to all the people who turned out for public hearings.
James said he has listened to all the comments, but people have to get their priorities straight. “Do you love your council district more, or your city more?” he asked.

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