arkville’s Board of Aldermen briefly revisited its proposed municipal ban on smoking in all public places at Tuesday night’s meeting, with this round of discussion assuming a much more amiable demeanor.
It was announced that another Parkville restaurant, Stone Canyon Pizza, has voluntarily decided to ban smoking on its premises. The new policy will take effect in the next several weeks.
The decision was applauded by Mayor Kathy Dusenbery and others. But Dusenbery declared that “[the owner] was glad that he had the choice.” Blue Agave, which is scheduled to open next week, will open as a nonsmoking restaurant on a temporary basis.
Much to the chagrin of supporters of the issue, the council previously decided by a one vote margin to table the proposed ban at its last meeting. A majority of the council sided with opponents over concerns that its imposition would unduly burden Parkville’s restaurant industry as the city is situated in a vast metropolitan area with ample alternatives for would-be consumers within minutes of its city limits. The city pledged to work with other area governments and the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) to rally support for a metropolitan ban on smoking in public venues over an eight-county area.
While he reasserted his desire for Parkville to lead by being the first to enact the ban, Alderman J.C. “Charlie” Poole offered an upbeat report to the city after attending a meeting to discuss the issue last week that was hosted by MARC. He said that the consensus at the meeting was moving in the direction of a regional ban, a compromise pursuit that he bemoaned the last time the council convened.
Poole recollected some of the more intricate issues involving the matter. For instance, questions were raised about whether a smoker with a personal office in their home would be permitted to smoke in the workplace. It was suggested that if the smoker employed any other individuals that he or she would not be permitted to smoke. Other concerns relating to the hospitality and casino industries were also addressed.
Dusenbery told Poole “I think that the one thing you’ve picked up is that there are a lot of different issues to it.” Poole responded “I just hope that a year and a half from now that we’re not still sitting here talking about it and we’ve done nothing.”
Tom Hutsler, who announced that he would oppose Poole for his Ward 1 alderman seat next April after Poole initially proposed the ban, applauded MARC’s work. He said “The most important thing is that we keep a level playing field for the entire industry.”
Cheryl Thorp, the executive director of the Platte County Visitor’s Bureau, approached the council with an opportunity to participate in a marketing partnership with the county to promote tourism. The partnership will provide $83,039 in advertising for Parkville in various tourist publications. The city’s portion in the venture is $15,183, which will be further offset by support from various merchant organizations. The Platte County Development Corporation pledged $5,000 and the Parkville Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Parkville Association will provide $2,500 each.
Thorp’s research projected that the return on the participant’s investment is $37.56 for every advertising dollar spent. She maintained that Parkville merchants would reap more than $3 million through direct tourist expenditure. The board unanimously approved Alderman Dave Rittman’s motion to incorporate the expense in the city’s 2005 fiscal year budget.
Dusenbery offered a proclamation to declare October as Down Syndrome Month in Parkville, which was approved by the council. Alderman Linda Arnold thanked Dusenbery for the declaration, stating that it was a very important cause to both of them. Amy Allison, who is the executive director of the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City and a Parkville resident, brought the issue to Dusenbery’s attention. She thanked the city for their support saying that the proclamation was designed to promote awareness.
Allison said “There have been wonderful advancements made in dealing with Down Syndrome. We have countless children and adults with downs living in our communities who are leading fulfilling, productive lives.”
She added: “We are proud of them.”
Police Chief Bill Hudson’s new employment agreement with the city was approved by the council. Rittman took the opportunity to commend Hudson and his department for the work they do to keep Parkville a safe place to live and work. Hudson thanked him for his comments but insisted that all accolades belong to officers, not him.
Hudson gave an update on an 8 year-old girl who was recently attacked by two dogs. He said that her injuries were much less severe than originally believed and that there was sufficient cause to remove the dogs from Parkville. In the interim, both dogs remain in quarantine.
Hudson also brought the council up to date on the city’s year-to-date crime statistics. He explained that the last few weeks had been busy for the department. Several shoplifters were apprehended in a stolen vehicle. Information obtained from the arrests revealed that the group had recently stolen numerous other vehicles in the area. A fugitive was apprehended in Parkville on multiple warrants. And the department is preparing warrants for the Platte County Prosecutor in an illegal check writing scam.
The city gave preliminary approval to two proposed development projects. The council gave tentative approval for the developers of Thousand Oaks Estates request to provide private open space and recreation improvements and a cash donation to the city in lieu of parkland dedication for its development. The plan calls for providing private open space that would include a bird sanctuary and valley overlook in the project. Developers also sought to donate $25,000 to the city to put toward its greater citywide park needs.
Developers of Plaza North presented preliminary plans on their project to the city seeking the council’s support with the county. They cited that they were there as a courtesy to the city as the development is planned at the intersection of Highways 45 & K outside of the city limits.
Several aldermen were concerned about the project’s potential negative impact on the city’s already problematic traffic situation. Alderman Jack Friedman dismissed the developer’s assurance that the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) was reviewing the traffic impact study that they had prepared.
Friedman said “You have to understand that we are a little hesitant about MODOT.” He continued “They’re the ones who gave us Barry Road, the intersection at Hen House, ….”
The council agreed to direct the city’s staff to issue a letter of “interim support for the concept” to Platte County while citing the city’s concerns that additional traffic studies should be conducted.
In other business, Gary L. Stumbo was appointed to the planning commission. The council decided that it would discuss whether to reduce the number of people on the commission at a later time.