MARYVILLE, Mo. — “Is it OK if I applaud?”

That’s as close as the always calm, cool and collected Keith Wood, director of Maryville Public Safety, may get to jumping-out-of-his-seat jubilant, and all it took was an upgrade from making-do to state-of-the-art.

The Maryville City Council approved a $3.89 million bid from E.L. Crawford Construction at its meeting Monday, coming in right around the $4 million total the council had budgeted for the project — a victory for the city and first responders who have been working for more than five years to get a design that would be both affordable and meet their needs.

“I think this has been a very thorough process, even to the extent that it’s probably spread out a little bit longer already since the capital improvement tax was approved (in 2017), but I think that the proof is in the pudding, and you can see the competitive bid numbers that we were able to get,” Wood said at Monday’s meeting. “I think that’s in large (part) due to our diligence to get the plans down to where we needed them to be.”

The city received seven bids between $3.7 million and $4.5 million for the base construction work, and opted for three optional additions: a generator addition, locker vents and power, and additional concrete depth, which added about another $107,500 to the estimate.

Part of driving down costs, City Manager Greg McDanel said, was utilizing city crews for some of the initial work, like grading the site, and bid packages also included using several local subcontractors.

Including the cost of furniture, which McDanel estimated roughly at somewhere around $150,000, and other expenses, the final price tag should come in either just below or just above the $4 million the council set aside for the project. When the city started brainstorming with design firm Williams, Spurgeon, Kuhl and Freshnock in 2013, a state-of-the-art facility for that price, at times, seemed difficult to reconcile.

“I remember in the initial meetings, there was a point where everyone felt like we’d never get to this point,” said Mayor Rachael Martin.

The new building, now estimated for completion in late summer 2020, will be constructed at the northeast corner of east First Street and north Vine, property acquired from the Maryville school district in 2018.

A combined facility that will house police, fire and dispatch services, the complex represents a huge leap forward with triple the space, modern functionality and infrastructure, and a building designed specifically for this purpose, as opposed to the former grocery store MPS currently inhabits.

Shortcomings of the current space like dedicated interview rooms, holding rooms for suspects and security features like secured storage will be rectified. And the fire division will have custom-made areas for storing equipment and trucks.

“The community will have a product they can be proud of,” Wood said.

Before voting yes, council member — and firefighter — Matt Johnson summed it up.

“I’m stoked.”

Short-term rentals

A little more than three months after the council asked city staffers to come up with a comprehensive set of ordinances to clarify where short-term rental services like Airbnb fit in the city’s zoning laws, a proposal is now on the table.

In a new set of rules recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission last week and presented to the council Monday, short-term rentals would be defined as rental of a property or unit for 30 days or fewer, excluding hotels and motels. That does include traditional bed and breakfasts.

The newly designated short-term rentals would go through a new application process if the properties are within the Campus Town Overlay district and the C-2 general business district. Roughly, those correspond to areas adjacent to Northwest Missouri State University where rental properties currently are, and the downtown area, respectively.

Under the proposed process, property owners would need to apply for an annual permit to operate a short-term rental, which would cost a flat $125.

The rentals would also be subject to rules designed to mitigate some concerns raised by residents during the February meeting that prompted the council to take action on codifying rules around short-term rentals: Short-term rentals could not house more than 10 occupants, and they may not be used solely for special events like receptions, parties and weddings.

Properties outside of those zones could still apply for a short-term rental permit through the process currently in use, a special use permit. Special use permits are a lengthier and more rigorous process, requiring input from neighbors, approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission and finally, approval by the City Council. The permit could also include specific stipulations unique to each situation. Special use permits cost $125 for the first 10,000 square feet per each 1,000 square feet, plus cost of postage for the city to notify neighbors. No additional cost for a short-term rental permit would be charged.

Any short-term rental permit would also require that the owner or operator live within 30 minutes of the property to respond to any issues in a timely manner.

Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland said at Monday night’s meeting that city staff had considered banning short-term rentals entirely in some areas, but ultimately decided to let them be handled on a case-by-case basis through the special use permits.

In February, the council put a temporary moratorium on any new short-term rentals, and allowed existing ones to continue to operate under stipulations that strongly resemble the rules proposed Monday. That temporary moratorium ends on July 9.

The matter was brought up for discussion only, and the council did not vote on whether to approve the measure. A public hearing is scheduled for before the council’s regular meeting on July 8, with a vote to take place during the meeting shortly after. In the meantime, McDanel said the city continues to welcome input.

Outstanding Public Servant Award

The city announced the creation of a new award at Monday night’s meeting, given to a city employee who goes above and beyond the call of duty in service to the public.

McDanel said that the newly minted Outstanding Public Servant Award can be given at any time — not necessarily at regular intervals — whenever a situation arises that merits it.

The inaugural OPSA winner was Brandon Cartwright, guest services coordinator at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park.

Cartwright was honored for his role in opening Mozingo to anyone with an RV affected by this spring’s flooding. Human resources manager Roxanne Reed, who presented the award along with Martin, said that Cartwright was the one who came to city staffers with the idea of opening the park for free to campers.

“The city council supported this request, and Mozingo was able to assist nearly a dozen families during a time of need and transition,” Reed said.

The city decided to create the award after one family who stayed at the park contacted the city to thank them — and Cartwright specifically — for the hospitality and generosity. Cartwright, it turned out, had paid for the family’s first three days at the park before the program had been approved.

“The couple has since decided to move to Maryville, and notes that they’re thrilled with the friendliness and compassion shown by their new community,” Reed said.

New building codes

After a lengthy review process, council approved a set of changes and additions to building code ordinances to bring the city in line with 2017 National Electric Code and the 2018 International Building Codes. The city had been using 2011 and 2012 standards of those codes previously.

“They’re seven and eight years old, and that’s old enough to be considered obsolete in the rapidly changing construction industry,” said Jim Wiederholt, code enforcement officer. “(The new codes will) make Maryville better, make Maryville safer and it’s really the next logical step for us to take.”

The new codes will apply primarily to new construction, and include an exception for buildings — like some downtown — that may not be able to be easily upgraded, though they will have to meet life safety standards.

Staff members met extensively with developers and contractors last fall to talk about the codes and underwent training on the changes. Here are the highlights:

  • New construction must meet wind speed requirements of 115 mph instead of 90 mph.
  • New homes will be required to use techniques to resist radon gas entry and prepare for post-construction radon mitigation.
  • The code recognizes and provides standards for “tiny homes.”
  • Arc fault circuit protection has expanded and is now also required in kitchens and laundry rooms. Arc-fault circuit interrupters protect electrical wiring from accidental fires.

“I think going into a building or going into someone’s home and expecting that you’re going to be safe there is something that we all kind of take for granted,” Mayor Martin said, telling Wiederholt that although the council quickly passed the ordinances without extended discussion, she did not want the importance of the code changes to go unnoticed. “I don’t want to not recognize the work you put in and how important it is, so, thank you, Jim.”

Other city notes

  • Sechrest 18, the 18-hole golf course at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park, was ranked second in Golf Advisor’s annual rankings of the top-rated courses in Missouri, Heiland told the council. The rankings are based on reviews submitted by members throughout the year. On a 5-point scale, Mozingo’s course received a 4.9 average rating, the highest of any golf course on the site's list.
  • Stacy Wood, interim city clerk, was sworn in during Monday’s meeting. Wood took over for longtime city clerk Sheila Smail, who retired last month. Smail’s retirement reception will be from 3-6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, at the Nodaway County Administration Center.

*This story has been corrected to reflect the name of the award won by Brandon Cartwright: it is the Outstanding Public Servant Award, not the Outstanding Public Service Award. The Forum apologizes for the error.

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