Archive for Thursday, August 21, 2008

Surprise trench upsets Basehor resident

August 21, 2008

Prairie Gardens subdivision homeowner Jack Taylor is unhappy he was not notified that a trench was going to be dug in his side yard, and Basehor City Council members don't blame him.

Taylor explained to the Council at its Monday meeting that an excavating company recently began digging in his yard to access a Suburban Water water line. But when Taylor approached workers, they could not produce written documentation that they were authorized to dig there.

Representatives at Kansas One-Call, the entity that companies and individuals are required by law to call before digging, could also not locate a ticket number, which would indicate the authorized presence of workers.

Taylor said Suburban Water told him it was the responsibility of the contractor or excavating company to notify Kansas One-Call. Mike Breuer of Suburban Water confirmed this adding that it is not mandatory to contact customers before digging in a utility easement, but apologizes for any customers they have unknowingly upset.

Not only is the trench an eyesore, Taylor said, but photographs of measurements showed that the trench stretched beyond the utility easement and into his yard and he worried the digging would damage other utility lines, including an underground sprinkler system he had installed. He said he was also unsatisfied by the excavating company's nonchalant answers when he asked if it was going to restore the yard to its previous condition.

Neighbors, who spoke on Taylor's behalf, said similar situations also have happened to them and that the mounds of dirt remained in their yards.

Council members agreed it was common courtesy and common sense to notify a homeowner before digging. Council member Jim Washington said he has already been in contact with city attorney Patrick Reavey about creating an ordinance that would require companies to contact homeowners before digging and to return property back to its original state afterward.

Planning regulations revamp updated

The Basehor Planning Commission has been working on a major revamp of the city's zoning regulations, and Planning Director Dustin Smith presented the nearly complete document to the City Council Monday evening.

"Most of this is based on best-management practices and zoning and planning," Smith said. "We wanted it to be as clear and concise as possible."

Smith said most of the document is a reorganization of the existing code with a major overhaul to some parts such as the applications and procedures section. Highlights were touched on, including the Planning Commission's goal to reduce the number of zoning districts in the city, a comparison of zoning districts available in other cities as well as lot size, zoning on annexed land and improvements to existing properties.

Suggestions and questions from the City Council will be brought back to Planning Commission next month, Smith said.

Staff, Council disagree on equipment quote

The Council denied, 3-2, with Keith Sifford and Terry Hill in favor, a change in price quote from EIMCO Water Technologies LLC for equipment for the wastewater treatment plant expansion due to a disagreement in research findings.

Staff recommended a more than $20,000 increase in a price quote from EIMCO to include Flygt mixers instead of EMU mixers that were included in the original quote. While City Superintendent Gene Myracle said he prefers Flygt mixers because they are currently used at the plant and word of mouth revealed they last longer and a repair shop is nearby, Council members tabled the matter and requested research comparing both mixers to justify the price increase.

Research that Washington conducted did not match up with research prepared by staff, including the length and description of warranties offered on both of the mixers and the location of a repair shop. Washington stated that the proposed expenditure had not been adequately justified.

In other action Monday night, the council:

¢ Approved, 5-0, a resolution authorizing the offering for sale of general obligation temporary notes, Series 2008, for 155th Street and Basehor Boulevard improvement benefit districts.

¢ Approved, 5-0, ordinances adopting 2008 edition of the State of Kansas Standard Traffic Ordinance and Uniform Public Offense Code.

¢ Tabled, 3-2, with Sifford and Iris Dysart opposed, the approval of authorization No. 3 for professional engineering services to Burns and McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc.

¢ Tabled, 5-0, an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for receipt of corridor management funds.

¢ Approved, 5-0, authorizing funds for Pin Oak subdivision street repairs.

¢ Approved, 5-0, the adoption of a charter ordinance repealing Charter Ordinance 7u pertaining to the number of council members needed to constitute a quorum to conduct business.

¢ Met in executive session for 15 minutes to discuss nonelected personnel.

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