Platte City resident Jared Innis, 2008 Fourth St., questioned the city’s proposed land swap with alderman Bill Knighton at the city’s aldermen meeting Tuesday night. In a proposed contract to exchange real estate, city administrator Keith Moody recommended the board approve the land transfer, which would deed to Knighton a 6,600-square feet tract of land, triangular in shape, that Knighton has leased from the city for the past 10 years.
City attorney Keith Hicklin has drawn up a contract, which the aldermen considered approving on Tuesday evening.
Knighton recused himself from the discussions, leaving the meeting room.
Knighton Body Shop uses the land, which is enclosed by a chain-link fence, as a storage lot for automobiles, Moody stated.
In exchange for the tract, Knighton would deed over to the city a larger tract of land which slightly abuts the rented triangular one.
Innis questioned whether the transfer was of equal value.
“Has there been a land appraisal at these two properties,” Innis asked.
“I have a concern because it seems the city-owned property is more valuable,” Innis said.
Innis referred to the fact that the parcel that Knighton leases from the city has better access.
“I think this property should be offered to the public in a sealed bid process. Also, there are ethical issues inter-mixed because of Mr. Knighton’s membership on the board of aldermen,” Innis said.
Alderman Kenneth Brown appeared to partially agree with Innis.
“It might not be a bad idea to get some appraisals. I think it would be at least prudent to do an appraisal to make sure it’s an apples-to-apples exchange,” Brown said.
“It stinks, it’s landlocked, and we can’t get to it,” Van Lew said.
Moody made a lengthy case that the triangular-shaped city property could be awkward to build on and is, therefore, not as valuable perhaps as the Knighton-owned parcel.
Moody also noted that the Knighton parcel is (at 8,476 square feet) larger than the city’s parcel and is rectangular in shape. The Knighton parcel does have some limited road access, Moody admitted.
The rented triangular parcel abuts a third parcel that Knighton owns directly next to the triangle. The proposed land transfer would create a larger, rectangular parcel, Moody said.
Aldermen George McClintock, Jim Palmer, as well as mayor Dave Brooks, appeared intent on moving to approve the land swap, making such observations as the expense of a commercial land appraisal would outweigh the benefit to the city of the transfer.
Ultimately, the aldermen voted 6-0 to table the contract and to authorize Moody to seek out three bids for appraisal of the two land parcels.
Discussion between alderman Aaron Jung and McClintock and Brooks became testy on two occasions during the meeting: once when Jung reported to the board an update on the Platte City Chamber of Commerce.
McClintock and Brooks became agitated when Jung mentioned chamber discussion regarding whether or not to support the city’s new involuntary annexation effort.
“Our interest is, of course, the chamber agreed that we are a team. The chamber should support annexation. . . or stay neutral,” Brooks said.
The other incident occurred when the board considered Tina Zubeck’s request that the city consider purchasing a minimum of four 4-by-8 feet banners that promote the Pirates ROCK! character education program.
Zubeck is the Platte County R-3 schools community relations director.
Moody told the board that there is money in the budget available to purchase the banners (which cost $176 each) or even a set of lamp post banners (which cost $1,200 for a set) because of about $3,000 in savings in the city’s “banners” line item.
Van Lew noted that for the city to display Pirates ROCK! banners for a year, which the school desires, it would require a new city ordinance. The city’s current sign ordinances prohibit banner display for that length of time, he said.
Jung seemed to favor the purchase of the four banners.
McClintock appeared agitated at Jung and told the board that the city should not become “locked-in” to materials that will only be relevant for one year.
The aldermen voted 6-0 to table Zubeck’s request in favor of having Moody prepare a fact sheet, in response to McClintock’s request, which the aldermen will use to reconsider the purchase later.
In other discussion, business and action, the Platte City board of aldermen:
• Approved the mayor’s appointment of Paul Johnson to the planning and zoning commission.
Johnson introduced himself to the board, telling them that he grew up in St. Joseph, earned an architecture degree from K-State, works as an architect for a downtown Kansas City firm and resides with his wife and four children in a house in the Estates of Platte Valley.
• Considered police chief Richard Sayles recommendation that officer Sgt. Jason Carnes be awarded a municipal Purple Heart for a shoulder injury he received during a disturbance call in the 900 block of Platte Falls Rd. on July 26, 2005.
The injury required Carnes to undergo surgery and subsequent therapy on the shoulder and rendered him “unfit for duty” for seven month afterward,” Sayles said.
Sayles also recommended to the board that they award Det. Sgt. Elizabeth Willoughby a Certificate of Commendation for her negotiation efforts in persuading a suicidal, knife-wielding man to disarm himself and surrender on Sept. 9 during a call in the 200 block of Marshall Rd.
“Sgt. Willoughby single-handedly defused this situation using skillful communication tactics thereby preventing what could have been a serious personal injury situation,” Sayles stated in his written recommendation.
The board voted unanimously to approve Sayle’s recommendations.
• Voted 6-0 to approve an agreement for the purchase of Mobilfone telephone service which will provide the city with 11 cellular phones and 4,400 pooled minutes of usage. Mobilfone’s bid of $329.92 per month was $5 less per month than Sprint/Nextel’s bid.
• Approved 6-0 an ordinance making a new section of public street a ‘no parking’ zone: The new ‘no parking’ section is on either side of Mill St. from its intersection with O’Rourke St. for 1,300 feet to 115 Mill St.