Because of lack of a motion or second, the El Dorado City Commission did not approve a zoning change to allow transitional housing in the city during their meeting Monday evening.

Because of lack of a motion or second, the El Dorado City Commission did not approve a zoning change to allow transitional housing in the city during their meeting Monday evening.

The new term, transitional housing, was developed by the Butler Homeless Initiative for the home they want to place in the county to assist the homeless. That term had been approved previously by the Planning Commission.

Rather, a different option was suggested.

“I recognize that there is homelessness in El Dorado,” said Mayor Tom McKibban. “I don’t necessarily agree with the numbers that are presented sometimes; I don’t agree with all of the statistics I have heard. What I would like to see this commission do is develop a task force composed of commission, city staff, school district, Homeless Initiative, Ministerial Alliance and some citizens to see what this community is willing to work together to provide.”

He said this has been a dividing issue among the citizens.

Commissioner Bill Young agreed with McKibban.

“I’m in a position, I do feel like we do have homeless in El Dorado and I don’t want anyone to take away from this that this is not a concern,” he said. “I want to get the community behind supporting a solution for it.”

He said he has been approached by a lot of people in the community with concerns. Although he encouraged them to come to meetings or contact the commission, they haven’t seen that turnout.

“What I don’t want is for you to think there’s not something we need to discuss and figure out,” he said.

Young wanted to let that group brainstorm and get information out to the community.

“I’d like to have something that we can get a majority of the community to buy in on,” he said.

Commissioner David Chapin also agreed and said McKibban and Young had explained it well.
“In passing zoning without really knowing what is going on you really open the doors for many other things,” he said. “Anytime you change zoning and include a larger sector of different types of businesses that can come in, you do have to live with the burden of voting that in.”

Commissioner Nick Badwey also was in favor of the task force, agreeing with what had been said, as did Commissioner Shane Krause.

“I think this governing body is here to govern for the people of El Dorado,” Krause said. “This task force needs to look at the true homeless issue in El Dorado.”

He agreed with Chapin about changing the zoning, saying they need to know how it will affect everyone and look at the possibility that it may attract  people outside El Dorado who should be serviced by their own communities.

He also was concerned about allowing something in a neighborhood where no one in that neighborhood has the right to veto it.

“It will be a large cross section of people and hopefully bring something the citizens of El Dorado can support,” McKibban said.

He asked for a motion to form the task force and for the commissioners to each send their suggestions for the mix of that group to City Manager Herb Llewellyn. They will talk about those appointments during their work session on May 16.

Llewellyn said they also may want to think about stakeholder groups and also take applications for the task force just like they do other boards.

“I would encourage anyone in the public or who is here tonight to submit their name,” McKibban said.
Young made a motion to begin the process of forming the task force to study housing needs and homeless in El Dorado and to work with the appropriate groups to bring forward a solution most of the citizens can support. It was approved 5-0.

McKibban then opened the item for public comment.

Ron Eisenbise was the first to speak.

“I understand what you guys are doing,” he said. “You are putting this on the back burner. There are people out there and all you can do is shove it back. You say there’s homeless but you don’t want to do anything about it, nothing; except come up with another idea of how you can shove it back to the back. You don’t want to stand up on your own two feet and say there are people out there who are homeless and give them something. You have churches out there who are feeding people.

“Here is a group that wants to help to do something and you are tying our hands,” he continued.
“Each and every one of you, you are all a disgrace to me.”

Krystal Wallace, president of the Butler Homeless Initiative, also spoke.

“We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the team that works through this,” she said. “What we want to do is work with the community, bring the community together and shape a better community for everyone concerned.

“Hopefully this will bring about a real healthy, well supported transitional home that we all can be proud of.”

In other action, the commissioners had a couple of issues relating to board appointments.

Before appointing new members, they revisited the issue of term limits on the Board of Zoning Appeals.
This came up during a work session to look at annual appointments when they noticed the BZA was the only board up for renewals that had term limits, which was something the commission had imposed a few years ago.
Because of the lack of candidates for the board, as well as the time it takes to learn how it works, the commission approved a resolution removing the term limits from the BZA.
Following this action, the Commission reappointed Bob Doile to the Airport Advisory Board; Randy Just, Jean Plummer and Teresa Bachman to the Convention and Tourism Committee; Miles Erpelding to the Joint Corrections Board; Bill Kloeblen to the Library Board; Greg Lewis to the Planning Commission; Jane Squires and Doug Bell to the Recreation Board; Jack Perry to the Recycling and Solid Waste Advisory Committee; and Kim Matthews to the Tree Board. They also made new appointments, including Albert Hogoboom and Larry Gaston to the Board of Zoning Appeals; David Key to the Convention and Tourism Committee; Stephen Funk to the Planning Commission; Miles Harvey to the Recreation Board; and Marilyn Roberts to the Recycling and Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
McKibban thanked everyone for serving on the committees and boards.
They do still have openings on Recreation Advisory Committee and Planning Commission from outside the city limits and some that will come open on the Prairie Trails Advisory Committee.
In other business, the commission:
• approved the bid of Cornejo and Sons in the amount of $289,414.45 for a project to resurface Central from Haverhill to Jones. The project is expected to begin later this summer, with a deadline to be completed by November. Half of the cost is funded through the KLINK program through the Kansas Department of Transportation, with the remaining coming from sales tax dollars.
• issued a proclamation for Poppy Month in May and a proclamation for National Child Safety Week May 7 through 11.