Monday, February 16, 2015

02/02/15-Approved City Commission Meeting Minutes

February 02, 2015 

The Governing Body of the City of Pratt met in Regular session in the Commission Room located in City Hall.

Jeff Taylor                    Mayor
Bill Hlavachick            Commissioner
Gary Skaggs                 Commissioner
Lucus Kumberg            Commissioner
Doug Meyer                 Commissioner
Dave Howard                City Manager
LuAnn Kramer              City Clerk
Ken Van Blaricum        City Attorney
Diana Garten                 Finance Director
Gary Myers                   Police Chief     
Russell Rambat             Public Works Director
Brad Blankenship         Building Inspector
Bruce Pinkall                Recreation Director                                                           


The regular meeting was called to order by Mayor Taylor.  The Mayor instructed the Clerk to note that all Commissioners were present. 

Mayor Taylor reminded the audience and staff that this meeting was being recorded and/or taped.


Mayor Taylor led the staff and audience in the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance. 


Commissioner Hlavachick made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 19, 2015 regular Commission meeting.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Skaggs and passed unanimously. 



Ms. Pam Howell informed the Commission that the Pratt Area Humane Society would be having another color run on May 16th.  Ms. Howell stated that they had had the event at the lake last year, but they liked Lemon Park better.  Ms. Howell commented that there had been a little problem with paint being used on the streets, but they would be using chalk this time.  Commissioner Hlavachick questioned if this would be their third year.  Ms. Howell stated that it would be and they had raised $5,000 last year. 

After some discussion on the route, Commissioner Hlavachick made a motion to approve the request from PAHS to hold their 3rd annual Color Fun Run in Lemon Park on May 16th at 10:30 a.m.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg and carried unanimously. 


Public Works Director Rambat stated that Ms. Rita Hitt and Mr. Tom Jones were on the Cemetery Board and their appointments were going to expire.  Mr. Rambat commented that they had been contacted and both were willing to serve an additional term.  Mr. Rambat added that they both were very involved.  Commissioner Skaggs questioned if they were new to the board.  Mr. Rambat stated that Ms. Hitt had been on the board for some time and this would be Mr. Jones’ second term.  Commissioner Skaggs made a motion to reappoint Ms. Rita Hitt and Mr. Tom Jones to another term on the Cemetery Board.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Meyer and carried unanimously. 


City Manager Howard commented that the Armory wanted to expand their west and south parking lot   Mr. Howard explained that they would be cutting down the rise in the ground and they would need about 20’ from the City.  Mr. Howard added that they did not think they would need the easement, but two pine trees and one elm tree would be taken out.  Commissioner Hlavachick stated that he could see a need for that, but he was concerned about all the trees they were going to remove.  Mr. Howard commented that we could not do anything about them removing theirs.  Commissioner Hlavachick explained that those were one hundred year old trees.  Commissioner Skaggs commented that we should accommodate them if this was going to make it a more permanent facility.   

Commissioner Skaggs questioned whether the area to the west was theirs.  Mr. Howard stated that there was an alley there that had not been abandoned.  Mr. Howard added that the lot had been plotted and a majority of the trees that would be coming out were theirs.  Commissioner Meyer asked if it was going to all be paved.  Mr. Howard stated that they had not decided on gravel or paving.  Commissioner Skaggs questioned if we needed any fill dirt anywhere if they were going to cut that rise down.  Mr. Howard commented that they would be using that in other places. 

Commissioner Kumberg made a motion to grant the request from the Armory for 20’ of land from the City as described for the parking lot for the National Guard and to possibly work around the trees.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Skaggs and carried unanimously.   


·        Vernon Filley Art Museum: 

Director of the Vernon Filley Art Museum Wes Norman stated that they were starting their legacy drive and were contacting businesses in town.  Mr. Norman commented that visitors from Hutchinson had come by Saturday, because they were looking to build one also.  Mr. Norman explained that art classes would be starting, so it was turning into a busy place.   

Commissioner Skaggs asked if $2,500 was a minimum or if there were other levels.  Mr. Norman stated that the City was at that level because of their size of business.  Commissioner Hlavachick commented that he did not mind giving them $2,500; therefore, he made a motion to give the Vernon Filley Art Museum Foundation $2,500 annually.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg.  Commissioner Skaggs questioned if we give to the Historical Museum annually.  Ms. Garten stated that we do not, but they occasionally come to request funds from Travel and Tourism.  After no more discussion, the motion and second passed unanimously. 

·        Luca Matei’s comments: 

Mr. Luca Matei stated that he needed support from the City and that there were issues with the police department.  Mr. Matei commented that the economic situation was not better and he continued to have damage to his apartments with no support from the City.  Mr. Matei stated that people intentionally do damage and he needed help to recover the cost.  Mr. Matei added that he had not heard yes or no from the City the last time he had made that request.   

Mayor Taylor asked Police Chief Myers what happens when the police were called after a renter of Mr. Matei’s was evicted and tears up a wall.  Chief Myers stated that it would depend on the damage that had been done, but you had to be able to prove that that person did the damage intentionally.  Mayor Taylor asked if the City could give Mr. Matei the address of where that tenant moved to in town.  Chief Myers and City Attorney Van Blaricum stated that the City could not give out any addresses.  Mayor Taylor informed Mr. Matei that there was nothing the City Commission could do.  

Mayor Taylor questioned if Mr. Matei could take these claims to small claims court.  Mr. Van Blaricum stated that he could.  Mr. Matei commented that the point was that he did not have a copy of the report of the damages.  Mayor Taylor asked if Mr. Matei could get a copy of the report.  Chief Myers stated that he could get a copy of the first page but not the narrative.  Mr. Matei stated that he needed an address.  Mayor Taylor repeated that the City would be held liable if anything would happen to that person and we were the ones that gave out that address.  Mayor Taylor questioned if the court would find out where they live if the court rules in Mr. Matei’s favor.  Mr. Van Blaricum stated that that was not the court’s job.  Mr. Matei stated that he could not open a case without addresses and the police do not do anything if it was a big issue.  Mayor Taylor stated that that was due process and you had to prove that that person was guilty.  Mayor Taylor asked where Mr. Matei’s witnesses were that saw the wall be torn up and who was to say that someone else did not do the damage if the door was unlocked. 


City Manager: 

·        Steam unit tested: 

City Manager Howard stated that the steam unit had been tested last week and it had a few glitches, but overall it went well. 

City Attorney: 

·        Pit Bull Ordinance: 

City Attorney Van Blaricum stated that he had been receiving several phone calls from young people who do not like the ordinance about pit bulls.  Commissioner Hlavachick stated that he had gotten calls too.  Commissioner Hlavachick commented that pit bulls were not that bad.  Chief Myers stated that there was a certain group of people that were attracted to pit bulls, but Doberman Pinchers and German Shepherds used to be in that group also.  Chief Myers commented that the concern was that the ordinance was breed specific; however, there were a lot of reports about pit bulls even attacking children of their owners.  Chief Myers added that he did not think that we needed to change what we had established. 

Building Inspections: 

·        Parrish project: 

Building Inspector Blankenship informed the Commission that he had been checking on the dust situation at the Parrish Hotel and that the contractors were making a big effort to keep the dust down with water.  Mr. Blankenship added that they were dropping materials down from the eighth floor.  Mayor Taylor stated that he was impressed that they were doing that.  Mr. Blankenship commented that he had to stop them last Tuesday because there was no water available to them.  Mr. Blankenship explained that they were pulling water from the Municipal Building and that they had no choice.  Mr. Blankenship stated that he told them to talk to the contractor about the water making the loads heavier.

Mr. Blankenship stated that the phone calls had not been about the dust, but about the safety of breathing it.  Mr. Blankenship commented that the dust would become less as they move down.  Commissioner Skaggs asked if we had had complaints from the area businesses.  Mr. Blankenship stated that we had not.  Mr. Blankenship explained that the City would not allow asbestos type stuff to be in the air.  Commissioner Skaggs questioned how many more days they had.  Mr. Blankenship stated that they do a floor a day and they were on the seventh floor Friday but did not quite get done.  Mr. Howard commented that we had the misfortune of some windy days.

Power Plant: 

·        Steam engine: 

Mr. Ernie Smith commented that he was turning the reins over to Mr. Brian Evans since he was on an ‘as needed basis’ now.  Mr. Evans stated that the steam engine project was a challenge, but everyone had done a good job. 

Police Department: 

·        Crime stats: 

Police Chief Myers stated that the crime stats for 2014 were as follows:  72,420 patrol miles logged, 829 citations written for traffic violations, 997 misdemeanor and traffic cases filed in Municipal Court, 8,398 calls for service (385 less than 2013), 1,417 criminal cases investigated (1,611 in 2013) and 345 accidents (219 in 2013).  Chief Myers commented that the crime report for the City had declined in criminal cases and increased in certain areas, such as property crimes, counterfeiting and fraud cases.  Chief Myers stated that his opinion was that this was due to the economy. 

Chief Myers stated that the department had filed a total of 260 criminal cases in district court and 212 of those were filed by the City.  Chief Myers continued by informing the Commission that there were 141 felony cases and 133 were by the City, 119 misdemeanor cases and 79 of those were filed by the City and 8 of the 10 felony juvenile cases were filed by the City police department.  Chief Myers stated that it had been a busy year, but the total figures show that crime had decreased over the County this past year. 

·        Pit Bull issues:

Chief Myers stated that there had been some concerns concerning pit bulls and under the ordinance the pit bull was considered vicious.  Chief Myers reminded the Commission that the ordinance reads that a dangerous animal was ‘Any animal which behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an unjustified imminent threat of serious injury or death to one or more person or domestic animals’ and ‘Any animal having a known disposition or propensity to attack, bite, or injure any person or animal without provocation’.  Chief Myers also pointed out that the ordinance defines the pit bull as ‘Pit bull dog means any and all of the following dogs: 1. The Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dogs; 2.  The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dogs; 3.  The American pit bull terrier breed of dogs; 4.  Any other breed commonly known as pit bull, pit bull dog, or pit bull terrier; or 5.  Dogs which have the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds of dogs known as the Staffordshire bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, or the American pit bull terrier.’    

Chief Myers stated that the police department does not make it a habit to destroy animals and they had been accused of looking for pit bulls, but they were not.  Chief Myers commented that several animals had been taken to Skaggs Veterinary Clinic because they were aggressive or attacking.  Chief Myers added that it had cost $3,750 in boarding fees for those type of animals last year.  Chief Myers explained that the department had the ability to capture these animals by using a catch pole, but they also had a net gun and the equipment for a chemical capture.  Chief Myers explained that, if they destroy an animal, they were attacking and had been tased; however, the officer could be bitten if they missed.  Chief Myers clarified that no officer wants to use their weapon to destroy an animal. 

Commissioner Skaggs questioned how many encounters they had had with pit bulls.  Chief Myers stated that they had to destroy two but had captured four that were taken to Skaggs Veterinary Clinic.  Mr. Howard stated that the Humane Society tries to find a rescue for the pit bull since they were not allowed in the City.  Commissioner Skaggs asked if the Humane Society took vicious animals.  Mr. Howard stated that they do not and they were not equipped to.  Chief Myers commented that they had captured a vicious animal per the Ordinance, but the Humane Society had taken them since they were not aggressive.  Chief Myers added that they take them knowing that they were not to be incorporated back into the City.  Mr. Howard stated that he would rather deal with an owner rather than a parent whose child had been attacked.   

·        Police #’s: 

Commissioner Skaggs asked how many officers Chief Myers had.  Chief Myers stated that he had fourteen commissioned officers.  Commissioner Skaggs questioned how many vehicles they had.  Chief Myers commented that he had two primary patrol units and other older cars were the supervisor’s individual vehicles.  Commissioner Skaggs asked how many miles a vehicle had before it was traded in.  Chief Myers stated that it was around 100,000.   

·        New Dispatch equipment: 

Commissioner Kumberg questioned if the new dispatch equipment had been installed.  Chief Myers stated that that would start tomorrow.  

Finance Department:

·        Sales tax: 

Finance Director Garten stated that January sales tax was up about $8,800 over last year and that was based on November sales.

Mayor and Commission:

·        Downtown Park: 

Commissioner Skaggs questioned the status of the downtown park.  Mr. Howard stated that the last contact he had had with the group was in December, but EBH Engineering had been working on the easements for the Parrish project.  Commissioner Skaggs asked if the ball would be carried by someone else due to different ones being associated with Leadership.  Commissioner Kumberg stated that there should not be any trouble seeing this to the end.   


Commissioner Hlavachick made a motion to adjourn.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg and carried unanimously. 



02/02/15-Approved Recessed City Commission Meeting

February 02, 2015 

The Governing Body of the City of Pratt met in Recessed session in the Commission Room located in City Hall. 

Jeff Taylor                    Mayor
Bill Hlavachick            Commissioner
Gary Skaggs                 Commissioner
Lucus Kumberg            Commissioner
Doug Meyer                 Commissioner

Dave Howard               City Manager
LuAnn Kramer             City Clerk
Ken Van Blaricum       City Attorney
Brad Blankenship         Building Inspector
Kenny Gates                 Zoning Commission Chairman
Fred Badders                Zoning Commission Vice-Chairman
Eric Nystrom                Zoning Commissioner
Tom Haltom                 Zoning Commissioner
Frank Laubhan             Zoning Commissioner
Linda Hart                    Zoning Commissioner
Lola Shumway             Records Secretary
Kenton Ladenburger     Economic Dev. Board Member
Jack Galle                     Economic Dev. Board Member
Darrel Stroda                Economic Dev. Board Member
Steve Mills                   Economic Dev. Board Member
Curtis Nightingale        Economic Dev. Board Member


The recessed meeting was called to order by Mayor Taylor.  The Mayor instructed the Clerk to note that all Commissioners were present.



Mayor Taylor commented that the City Commission had passed the landscape ordinance a few months ago and since then there had been some concerns from the ED Board that had come forward.  Mayor Taylor stated that one concern was that this ordinance would cause landscaping to be too costly and could hurt development and the Commission did not want to do that.  Mayor Taylor explained that the City of Pratt needed a landscaping ordinance, but it was not to put their thumb on anyone or force them to do something.  Mayor Taylor commented that it had come to his attention that so many feet of landscaping per parking stall added too much and the trees could distract from the business.  Mayor Taylor explained that the Commission had passed this because the Planning and Zoning Commission had spent a lot of time on it, but we were open to hear concerns so that it could be refined. 

City Manager Howard commented that City staff had put together a list of concerns after the ordinance had been passed and that the trees were the biggest controversy.  Mr. Howard explained that EBH had a landscape architect look at the Home Lumber property and Knight’s Construction had looked at it with a local landscaper.  Mr. Howard added that Home Lumber president John Humphries wanted a grand entrance; however, this ordinance would take away from that along with cutting into his parking.  Mr. Howard added that it would also cost around $50,000.   

Commissioner Skaggs questioned where this format came from on the ordinance that was passed.  City Attorney Van Blaricum stated that it was largely passed from something similar to Dodge City.  Commissioner Skaggs commented that he thought that it was ready for the City Commission’s stamp of approval since the Planning & Zoning Commission had been working on it for a couple of years.  Building Inspector Blankenship stated that it started with Arkansas City and had switched over to Dodge City and that was where some of the wording got messed up.  Commissioner Skaggs stated that he did not understand how there was one that the Planning Commission was working on and then there was the one the City Commission got.  Mr. Van Blaricum stated that they had looked for a more organized ordinance and the Dodge City one was clear on what it did.  Commissioner Skaggs commented that it should work for us if it works for Dodge City.  Mr. Howard commented that he did not see that it was being used by Dodge City.  P & Z Commissioner Nystrom commented that he was not in agreement with the ordinance because of the trees. 

ED Board member Jack Galle stated that he had read the ordinance and it had some major issues.  Mr. Galle stated that we needed to back-up a little and look at the overriding question of why we needed the ordinance.  Mr. Galle stated that there were three sections that were pertinent to Pratt and he did not see trying to fix a problem when there was no problem.  Commissioner Skaggs commented that there had been new construction that did landscaping in a helter skelter manner and some did nothing.  Mr. Nystrom stated that the property on East First Street was KDOT’s property and, if this had been in effect for Maurice’s and Hibbett’s, KDOT would not have allowed trees.  Mr. Nystrom added that Dan Gillig’s place would also have a different look.  Commissioner Skaggs stated that he agreed that too many trees was not a good thing.  Mr. Galle commented that this should be a business decision and be beneficial to a business, but this ordinance was good for the community and not the business.  Mr. Galle added that it goes back to whether we have a problem or not.  Mr. Galle stated that some businesses on First Street have tress and some do not.  Commissioner Skaggs commented that it could look better.  Mr. Galle agreed, but he asked if we were truly getting a benefit. 

Commissioner Skaggs questioned if we were going to modify or scrap this ordinance.  Mr. Galle stated that we could not separate the two, so if it was not good for the business then it was not good for the community.  Mr. Howard commented that O’Reilly’s was the only business that never intended to do landscaping and we had to say that that was okay because we did not have an ordinance in place.  Mr. Howard stated that Wal-Mart did not want shrubs due to a potential trash issue, so they went for the sprinkler system and grass.  Mr. Van Blaricum stated that he could work on a new ordinance leaving out the trees.  Mr. Howard stated that most people plant trees anyway and it had never been an issue.  Mr. Howard added that the ordinance could be as simple as stating that they had to submit a site plan to Mr. Blankenship.  Mayor Taylor commented that they should have it reviewed before construction begins.  Commissioner Meyer stated that the key would be to make sure it would be enforceable.  Commissioner Meyer commented that Mr. Blankenship may be more lenient than the next guy, so a checklist would make it consistent when we were no longer here.  Commissioner Meyer added that vague was good, but we needed to have a buffer between residential and commercial and offer them guidelines, such as what types of trees do well in this area.  Mr. Howard agreed and added that we needed to think about dealing with bigger businesses.   

Mr. Van Blaricum stated that he could do an ordinance along those lines, but questioned if we really wanted to include residential property in the ordinance.  Mr. Nystrom commented that you had to have erosion development because you cannot leave the ground bare.  Mr. Howard stated that people fifty years from now would ask why we did things the way we did.  ED Board Member Kenton Ladenburger commented that it looks a lot better than it did in 1990 when he first came to town and there was a toilet sitting on the porch of the house you saw coming into the town.  Commissioner Skaggs stated that an additional 50’ setback would have been better as in the case of the Servateria.  Mr. Ladenburger stated that Skaggs would have lost parking in the back if we had had this ordinance.  Mayor Taylor stated that this was not our intent. 

Mr. Galle pointed out that the paragraphs that talk about setbacks could be in our code somewhere else as could the site distance.  Mr. Galle stated that those were positives, but could be in with something already.  Mr. Galle commented that we needed to acknowledge what position we put people in and be careful of what we think and do.  Commissioner Hlavachick stated that we need an ordinance, but not this one and it should be simpler.  Commissioner Hlavachick commented that they should direct Mr. Van Blaricum to draw up a draft and then they could look at the concerns to see what we wanted.  Mr. Howard stated that he wanted the Planning Commission to still be involved.   

Planning & Zoning Commissioner Badders stated that, in defense of what the P & Z had talked about for two years, they had finally decided that they could not do anything more.  Mr. Badders added that, if it was not good enough, we could hire a landscape architect to come up with a plan.  Mr. Howard stated that they could have the local landscaper come to a Planning & Zoning meeting to see what insight he had.  Mr. Howard added that Park Superintendent Eckhoff would also be willing to help.  Mr. Van Blaricum stated that this had passed knowing that there would be building blocks.  Commissioner Skaggs suggested that half of them work on commercial and the other half work on residential.  Mr. Howard stated that we want businesses to thrive and have visibility, but we also want the City to look good.  Mr. Howard added that the ED Board could come to the Planning & Zoning meetings also if this goes back to them.  Mr. Nystrom questioned if we had anything on erosion control.  Mr. Blankenship stated that we did not, but we enforce self-screening for new construction.  

Mr. Howard stated that 99.9% of businesses that come in have a site plan and it was practical.  Commissioner Skaggs commented that he would not like to build a $300,000 structure and not know what the neighbor was going to do.  Commissioner Skaggs suggested that, if the P & Z did not want this back, we hire Younie Landscaping or someone to help.   Mr. Badders stated that they had looked at ordinances from other places and they were not 100% agreeable, but he thought they had a compromise.  Mr. Van Blaricum stated that he was not sure that we needed to hire a professional to help with commercial property, but we needed a checklist that would be generally agreeable.  Mr. Van Blaricum added that we should work on commercial first and then work on residential. 

Commissioner Kumberg stated that the intention of this ordinance was for commercial and this was making it too difficult for residential.  Commissioner Kumberg added that it was easier to sell property if there was landscaping in place, but we were making it too hard and made us look like a homeowners association.  Mr. Nystrom commented that we want to make sure that the ground was covered.  Mayor Taylor commented that not everyone wants trees in their yard.  Commissioner Meyer stated that we should have guidelines if they were going to plant trees.  Mr. Howard stated that the disagreement about the downtown was 50/50 for trees because they block the store front, attract birds and there were leaves to deal with.  Mr. Howard added that we would knock out a big part of the ordinance if we could agree on what to do with trees.   

ED Board Member Nightingale questioned what would happen to the ordinance that was in effect.  Mr. Howard stated that it would be repealed.  Mr. Nightingale commented that that might sway business’s minds about coming to Pratt.  Mayor Taylor stated that he appreciated all the work that was put into this ordinance by the Planning & Zoning Commission.  Mayor Taylor added that we needed to make this ordinance simpler and easier for both commercial and residential.  Mr. Howard commented that the P & Z Commission had been working on annexations, zone changes and plats, so this was not the only focus for them. 

Commissioner Skaggs questioned what ordinance fencing and setbacks came under.  Mr. Blankenship stated that there was a new one for Sandy Creek on what you could and could not do.  Commissioner Skaggs asked if we should have separate ordinances.  Mr. Howard stated that he could mention that.  Mr. Van Blaricum stated that he would put together a couple of ordinances and could have a draft for consideration for the first meeting in March.  Mr. Howard mentioned that they could repeal this ordinance in this meeting.  Mr. Van Blaricum agreed, but added that we could also consciously not enforce it.  Mr. Howard stated that we would be violating our own ordinance so he would rather it be repealed and taken off the books.  Mr. Stroda clarified that Home Lumber did have a plan to do some landscaping.  Mr. Howard stated that they did have their own plan and there would be trees all the way around the building. 

With no further discussion, Commissioner Skaggs made a motion to repeal Ordinance 1413 as passed by the City Commission on November 14, 2014.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hlavachick and carried unanimously. 


·        Properties not in right zoning area: 

Mr. Laubhan commented that the Davis/Kahmeyer situation brought to light that there were properties sitting in areas that were not in the right zoning area.  Mr. Laubhan questioned how they had gotten zoned in a residential area and if the Elks could go out of business and sell to a tavern or if they would be restricted to R-2.  Mr. Laubhan stated that the Davis’ wanted to sell their business to the Baker’s but keep the garage and do a lot split.  Mr. Laubhan added that this brought up the issue of what would happen if the Elks wanted to move or sell their building.  Mayor Taylor stated that they would probably not be able to rebuild if it burned down.  Mr. Blankenship clarified that, if commercial property burned down in a residential area, they could not rebuild.   

Mr. Howard stated that it had probably been grandfathered in.  Mr. Badders commented that someone had to zone that R-2.  Mayor Taylor questioned if there had even been a zoning ordinance back then.  Mr. Nystrom questioned what ‘grandfathered in’ actually meant.  Mr. Howard stated that, when originally zoned, the use did not fit that zoning but they were going to allow it, but if it were sold or burned down, it could not be put back.  Mr. Laubhan questioned if that pertained to the property or the owner.  Mr. Howard stated that it would depend on what you put in it.  Mr. Laubhan commented that that meant that the Elks could not sell to another business and stay at R-2.  Mr. Laubhan stated that it was irrelevant how it got there, but the issue was how we control it.  Mr. Laubhan added that that type of business should be able to stay that way if it was there now.  Commissioner Skaggs questioned if they could serve alcohol if that was what they do now.  Mr. Laubhan stated that it should be able to be the same type of business, such as leaving Kahmeyer’s as a professional office and not a liquor store.   

Mayor Taylor commented that the lot split was what created the problem for the Davis’.  Mr. Nystrom commented that Baker’s were curious about what they would have done if they sold.  Mr. Howard stated that you could not do a lot split for other variances.  Mayor Taylor commented that that might be something that we start to look at.  Mr. Nystrom stated that it could be attached to the deed with a definition.  Mr. Laubhan suggested notifying property owners that they were in a non-compliant area so they would know before they see it attached to a deed.   

Mr. Laubhan stated that another issue would be the City limits.  Mr. Laubhan commented that there were properties in town that sit isolated in the County.  Mr. Blankenship stated that we do not get deeds when we do zoning and the only one he had seen was to the old Wal-Mart nursery.  Mr. Blankenship questioned who would enforce the issues that would be on a deed.  Mr. Nystrom commented that the title company would know if there was an attachment.  Mr. Howard stated that we had been contacted by banks concerning non-conforming zoning.  Mr. Van Blaricum commented that banks were aware of whether there were zoning restrictions and the background was on file at the Court House.  Mr. Howard added that it was buyer beware if it was a cash transaction.   

Mr. Galle questioned if the City could change zoning subsequent to a purchase.  Mr. Van Blaricum stated that we could, but it would not be wise for the City to do that.  Mr. Howard commented that a lot of Cities force zoning, but the laws were tougher these days.  Mr. Van Blaricum explained that the Elk’s was a private club and, if it burned down, the owner could request that it be developed as residential.  Mr. Howard clarified that you could not rebuild it in R-2 Residential if it burned down.  Mr. Van Blaricum commented that it could be rezoned if sold as a residence with a garage. 

·        Movie Theatre: 

Mr. Nightingale stated that there would be someone here to do a feasibility study for a movie theatre on Thursday after 11:00 a.m.  Mr. Nightingale explained that this was a national company that runs movie theatres and one family does the design, one does the building and the others manage it.  Mr. Nightingale commented that they were looking for possible locations including the current location.  Mr. Nightingale added that a one screen theatre was not a feasible financial plan, but three or more screens was.  Mr. Nightingale questioned if we could make that swing here.  Mr. Nightingale stated that bigger chain restaurants look at what your town has to offer and this would be a positive for Pratt. 

Mr. Nightingale stated that there were two phases to this and that the first phase was a tabletop and now we meet with these people on sight Thursday.  Mayor Taylor questioned if this was confidential.  Mr. Nightingale stated that it was not and we had already spent money on it.  Mr. Nightingale explained that they had the theatre in Great Bend and he was sure that they had used Pratt within their draw and we would be infringing in that area if we go back.

Mr. Nightingale commented that you get a finger on the pulse of the investors and they come forward to see what we have to offer.  Mr. Nightingale added that restaurants had looked at the area where the motels were and we had looked at putting a theatre in that area.  Mr. Howard stated that we would help with that since we own the land and we could also contribute to the project.  Mr. Nightingale commented that he had talked where other communities that had put in their theatres and this was pretty generic to what other communities had done, but we could make it happen.  Mr. Howard stated that most of the utilities were already close to being there, so there would not be a cost since it was already paid for.   

Commissioner Skaggs commented that the City owns the corner property northeast of the Complex.  Mr. Howard stated that the Sandy Creek Addition was zoned residential now and the area west of the motel was probably the least desirable for residential.  Mr. Nightingale commented that the investors wanted certain land in Great Bend and ended up spending twice as much as that to get the theatre built.  Mr. Nightingale added that we could not use Great Bend’s numbers because they started throwing money at the sight.  Mayor Taylor stated that this was exciting because that was a concern for many in the community. 

Mr. Nightingale commented that there was a Facebook page to save the Barron Theatre and that was where the conversation got started.  Mr. Nightingale stated that a community owned theatre was not the way to go, but we need to get creative financial options.  Mr. Howard commented that we would be the bank if it was a community owned bank.  Mr. Nightingale explained that their questionnaire asked about serving alcohol, luxury seating and first run movies.  Commissioner Hlavachick asked about individual costs.  Mr. Nightingale stated that the ticket pricing would be set by the management group.  Mr. Nightingale commented that a sales tax incentive could be for that location only and could go back towards the debt or whatever. 

·        Forward thinking: 

Mr. Galle stated that we needed to think forward ten years down the road and question if it was appropriate for the City to have ownership of properties.  Mr. Galle commented that he understood the City’s position to have properties available, but there was a risk of not knowing what was going to happen.  Mr. Howard stated that the movie theatre was a good example of that and anything the City wants to buy usually drives the price up.  Mr. Nightingale commented that Newton had bought property, zoned it and ran utilities on the City’s dime and their Industrial Park was still empty.  Mr. Badders added that Greensburg was the same way.  Mayor Taylor commented that the City had been fortunate with Prairie Parkway and Sandy Creek.  Mayor Taylor added that property in Sandy Creek had been sold to the church and the hotel, which had paid for the property.  Mayor Taylor stated that there were houses being built and we had infrastructure out there also.  Mr. Howard explained that the church would be bringing in about six hundred workers for their new structure and that would have an impact on the town through the summer.  Mr. Howard stated that they were very professional about the plans. 

Commissioner Skaggs stated that he had heard that Cunningham might be a possible site for a truck stop.  Mr. Howard commented that there was a group that wanted to do one.  Commissioner Skaggs questioned if the local one had hit a snag or was moving forward.  Mr. Howard stated that it was always in the works, but the property owner would not sell.


With no more discussion, Commissioner Hlavachick made a motion to adjourn.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Meyer and passed unanimously.                              


02/16/2015 City Commission Meeting Agenda

FEBRUARY 16, 2015

1.      CALL TO ORDER (Remind audience that meeting is being recorded and/or taped. 
2.      ROLL CALL 
4.      MINUTES    
         February 02, 2015         Recessed Commission Meeting
         February 02, 2015         Regular Commission Meeting
5.      BUSINESS: 
5.1          Consideration and Approval for The Vernon Filley Art Museum to Serve Free Alcoholic Liquor – Stan Reimer; Ken Van Blaricum, City Attorney 
5.2          Consideration and Approval of the Lease Agreement with South Central Wireless Inc. – Dave Howard, City Manager 
5.3          Discussion on Legislature’s Moving Municipal Elections to the Fall of Even Numbered Years – Mayor & Commission (Approval of Res. 021615 would oppose moving elections and be sent to Topeka) 

6.      OPEN AGENDA (City Matters Only)(3 Minute Time Limit)
7.      REPORTS:
7.1             City Manager
7.2             City Attorney
7.3             Department Superintendents
7.4             Mayor
7.5             City Commission
8.      ADJOURN