This meeting is almost three and half hours long, much of that is taken up by public hearings on zoning matters. I do not even attempt to understand the pros and cons of each zoning matter and find most public hearings on zoning maters to be very boring. I watch most of the public hearing portion of the video in double speed. If you want to be sure I didn't miss something important, you may want to watch the meeting for yourself.
If you are going to watch the meeting, you really need a copy of the agenda and the staff analysis, To access those documents as well as my commentary on the agenda, follow this link. I am not going to go into the same depth of analysis and background in this blog post as I do in my analysis of the agenda, so if want more background on an issue than is posted here, see (update) What's on the Council Agenda for Feb. 7th: New AirBnb rules, $16M more for General Hospital, $ to build affordable housing,
The Metro Police Chaplin offers the invocation. I noticed that he prayed "in the name of Jesus," which now seems rare in public prayers especially before political bodies. Prayers have become much more secular and inclusive. Some recent prayers have not been prayers at all but poems or songs.
Councilman Bill Pridemore offers a eulogy to Office Mumaw who recently lost his life in the line of duty. All appointments to boards and commissions are approved unanimously. A couple of changes to council rules are approved. One would add additional transparency to zoning issues by requiring that a request for rezoning include the name of the purpose paying the filing fee.
Airbab supporters act out: At 29:07 in the video a man who is partaking in a public hearing on a zoning matter speaks off-subject in favor of STRP (airbnb type rentals). He says the place is packed with STRP supporters and there are another two hundred in the hallway. His comments is followed by applause and cheers from the audience. Vice Mayor Briley chastises the crowd. I agree with the Vice Mayor. We must have decorum in the chamber and there should be no outburst of applause and cheering or booing. There has long been a council rule prohibiting signs in the chamber. I think that rule should be enforced and the signs confiscated. My sysmpathies are with the STRP supporters but I disapprove of this show of disrespect.Resolutions: Below are the ones of interest.
BILL NO. BL2016-487 is a rezoning in Councilman Kendall's.district that a lot of people speak on. Most speak in favor but their is concern that this will lead to greater "gentrification" of the neighborhood. To see the discussion see timestamp 21:15 to 40:12 in the video.
BILL NO. BL2016-491 which would requires that building façades fronting a street shall provide a minimum of one principal entrance (doorway) and a minimum of 25% glazing is deferred indefinitely. Good. That seemed like an overly restrictive proposal and I never did determine the logic for it.
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2016-493 is the sidewalk bill which tightens up the requirements that developers build sidewalks. In my view this is a flawed bill. It would require a developer to build a sidewalk in front of his residential development even it that would be the only sidewalk portion on a street. This has been deferred before and is agains deferred to the first meeting in March.
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2017-555 in council member Murphy's district changes the zoning on a bunch of parcels totaling 39 acres from R10 and RS40 to RS10. This is a bill disapproved by the Planning Commission. The sponsor defers the public hearing till the first meeting in March and rerefers the bill back to the Planning Commission.
BILL NO. BL2017-559 would allow members of the metro council to initiate rezoning of property owned by the metropolitan government. Now the mayor may do so or department heads but not the district councilman. It is deferred two meetings.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-519 would have approved a sole-source contract for over a million dollars for a five year period between Metro and Host Compliance, LLC to provide services to identify unpermitted STRPs, collect data on the extent of all such non-compliance, estimate rental activity for permitted and unpermitted properties, compare estimated rental activity with hotel/motel tax receipts from the property, and maintain a 24 hour complaint hotline. As it turns out Host is not the sole-source for this service and the city is issuing an RFP (request for proposals).Bills on Second Reading:
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-536 authorizes grants of $8,339,401.00 from the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing to certain nonprofit organizations to construct affordable or workforce housing. This will build 332 units of housing, 30 of which will be SRO's (Single Room Occupancy housing) for Dismas House to provide housing for discharged former prisoners. Councilman Kevin Rhoten was the lone vote against this resolution, but did not speak in opposition. To view the discussion see timestamp 1:14:28 -1:27:49.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-538 throws another $16 million into the money pit known as General Hospital. It passes with no dissenting voices or votes. A Metro charity hospital is not required by Charter or state law, serves little purpose and cannot fill its beds. To see my analysis and links to more information on topic follow this link. I am very disappointed that none of the council members who call themselves conservatives spoke out against this bill. To see the discussion see timestamp 1:27:51- 1-44-29.
RESOLUTION NO. RS2017-539 appropriates $540,000 for the cost of operation of the J.B. Knowles Home Assisted Living Facility. We were almost out of the nursing home business but the operator of the facility mismanaged the operation and metro stepped back in and took it back over. This resolution passes unanimously. I am disappointed to see Metro get back into the nursing home business.
BILL NO. BL2016-484 would make it more difficult to locate landfills and give the Council more oversight. Now expansion of a landfill can expand without any local approval. . It is apparently a complicated matters. There was some good discussion on the bill and motions to defer and a motion to table the motion to defer which failed and after more discussion the bill is deferred. This makes it an indefinite deferral by rule, which means it could not be on the second reading agenda next meeting. To see the discussion see time stamp 1:56:35- 2:19.Bills on Third Reading
BLL NO. BL2016-492 clarifies and modifies Short-term rental (STRP) rules. I have provided a lot of analysis, background and opinion on this which you can see at this link. To see the discussion see timestamp 2:19:02- 2:33:35.
BILL NO. BL2016-496 would prohibit vehicles from parking in electric charging station spaces. It passes.
BILL NO. BL2016-525 would require the Metropolitan Police Department to provide reports of positive engagements with the community to the Metropolitan Council. This got a negative recommendation in committee and at the last meeting the sponsor moved to defer to this meeting. The police department opposes the bill. One councilman makes the point that every time a policeman had a pleasant exchange with a citizen he would have to include it in a report. The bill is deferred again. For the discussion is timestamp 2:37:47 - 3:02:05.
BILL NO. BL2017-542 is a bill requiring companies that provide incarceration services to Metro to have the specific contract approved by the Council. Metro Council does not normally approve specific contracts. Only contracts for solid waste disposal currently have to come before the Council. This bill also requires the company providing the service to provide to the Council a quarterly report detailing a massive amount of data. This appears designed to make it difficult for the city to do business with companies that provide this service. Unfortunately, it passes.