Planning and Zoning
The April meeting of the City of Cameron Planning and Zoning Commission was held on Monday April 9 at 6:00 p.m. During the meeting Tim Wynes, City of Cameron Economic Development Director offered an update on the cat house which had been on city property near the animal shelter, then was moved to property owned by the Manions - who had originally requested a Special Use permit. According to Wynes the structure was moved out of the city limits on February 14.
The next topic of discussion by the commission was a proposed new fee structure and updated fees Wynes and Building Inspector Paul Beckwith have been working on along with City Staff. Some of the points made by Beckwith and Wynes were how much lower than other municipalities Cameron's fees are. The fees have not been updated in quite some time and have not been kept in line with rising costs of materials, wages, and costs of living. According to Wynes and Beckwith the current fee structure does not come near recouping many of the costs associated with all of the jobs the City Staff does. Members of the Commission spent time looking over the fees and the discussion went back and forth between the Commission and the staff, as the commission attempted to get a clearer understanding not only of the proposed fee increases, but also the reasons behind them. Wynes made it clear to the commission several times that the fee structure he had presented them with was a "working document" and subject to more revision at the advisement of the commission. At the end of the discussion, the commission recommended to Wynes, Beckwith, and city staff they do more research and rethink some of the fee structures to make them easier for not only contractors who might be building in the city, but also for the average citizen to understand. Commission Chairman Mike O'Donnell said that it was apparent the fee structure was going to need a lot more work and discussion, but also voiced his preference that once the fee structure was worked out, the commission open the documents to public hearing and encourage contractors and individual citizens to take a look at the proposal and give their input into it as well before a final document was sent to City Council to be voted on. The rest of the commission agreed and Wynes and Beckwith said they would do the research and bring a new working document back to the commission at the May meeting.
The commission moved on to new business, which began with Phil Andrus from Century 21 coming before the board on behalf of Rick Spencer, a contractor working in Cameron to request permissions in regards to lot splits in town. Andrus said Spencer is working on building a duplex on a piece of land currently and plans to build several more. Andrus said Spencer was seeking permission to build the duplex and come back later to request the lot split if it was necessary because the structure was being sold to one buyer instead of two, as would necessitate the lot split. Andrus said there was a lot of money being spent on a survey that may not be necessary if the structure and land is sold to a single buyer. Andrus was also seeking blanket permission on Spencer's behalf to be able to forgo the lot splits on the remaining duplexes he planned to build as well.
O'Donnell was concise in his initial answer of, "No."
Members of the commission, including O'Donnell, went on to explain it is their responsibility to look out not only for a current owner, but for others who come along down the line, saying many of the problems incurred in Cameron currently are because such things were not done in the past and without a survey the duplex may be built in such a way that when a lot split is done, it may result in an irregular size lot or a bigger problem down the line. O’Donnell said it would seem to be better to plan toward the lot split and get the survey done before construction begins so the contractor will know exactly where the wall will be. Andrus, who said he has served on a board like the Cameron Planning and Zoning Commission admitted that he understood and saw their point. At the end of the discussion, Andrus asked for exactly what would be necessary to facilitate the building of the duplexes and said he would take the information back to Spencer to follow the process.
The final item on the commission agenda was an ordinance being worked on by Beckwith and city staff concerning minimum standards for the maintenance of non-owner occupied dwellings. Beckwith said the city of Excelsior Springs instituted just such an ordinance and their fire calls went down significantly in a year. The intention of the ordinance would be to be certain rental properties are being maintained by the owners and landlords of the property in such a way that anyone renting the property will be safe. Beckwith said he received a call from a family requesting an inspection on another matter in recent months and while he was in the home he observed the grout on a chimney was gone and because of the way the home was heated, the family had been being slowly poisoned by carbon monoxide. The family had been sick over six months when the problem was discovered. It is because of situations such as that, Beckwith believes such an ordinance should be considered. The commission asked Beckwith to make a checklist of items which can be reviewed and come back to the commission with more information before they make a decision to move it on to Council for consideration.
Wynes then offered updates on construction projects going on around town. Wynes asked on behalf of Manions if preliminary plans and final plans could be submitted at the same time. The simple answer was no. O’Donnell went on to explain when it was platted out there were some problems that were likely going to occur during the second phase because it wasn’t all platted out at the same time, so most likely with storm water there are going to be some issues, the commission wants the opportunity to see the preliminary first.
Wynes went on to report there is some resurfacing going on at the truck stop, the hospital is doing new construction in their pharmacy area and remodeling occupational therapy. Phase two plans for the north truck stop have been received as well. The city owned two residential lots and they have been sold. Wynes said he believes they plan to build single family homes on them. The April 11 Business Park meeting has been cancelled. Dirt work has begun on a lot on Walnut, Wynes said he believes will be a commercial office space. City staff has also received new ipads and are still doing computer software training.
O’Donnell asked Wynes and Beckwith to look into a building on 3rd Street whose windows are being boarded to be stuccoed over, which for O’Donnell is a fire hazard, because there is especially only one out of the building and that is the center stair case.
The next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting will be May 14 at 6 p.m.