Peggy Webb of Joplin leaves the podium at the Joplin City Council meeting last night (October 12, 2009). She petitioned the council to deny granting of a special use permit allowing the operation of a controversial bed and breakfast.
A verbal shoot-out occurred at last night's meeting of the Joplin City Council when residents of the single family residential neighborhood surrounding 3347 1/2 Oak Ridge Drive for a second time were asked to defend arguments against the issuance of a special use permit for that address. Opposing this group of residents were supporters of the property owner Phillip McClendon, senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, who was interested in establishing a bed and breakfast (well, maybe, not really breakfast) in the garage apartment notoriously the hideout of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, members of the gang who robbed banks and murdered their way into history books. Lawmen Wesley Harriman and Harry McGinnis were two of the victims of the Barrow gang killed in a shoot-out at the Oak Ridge address.
Arguments offered by Allen Shirley of Alabama Avenue, vice chairman of the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and Doris Carlin, a Murphysburg resident who furthered historic preservation in Joplin, were shot down by Virgil McCoy of 3416 Oak Ridge. McCoy understood the significance of national registry sites, he said, but believed that not everyone visiting them drove Porsches or BMWs. "Strange people were coming here," he said, discounting the testimony of Scott Hutson of Miami, OK, an owner of the Harley Davidson Buell dealership, who claimed it was an unfair judgment to paint the guests as "sinister." His comparison was to the Hell's Angels whom he said represented only about one per cent of motorcycle riders.
Carlin, using the term "sustainable tourism." hoped to convince council members of the importance of the property to the city's local economy. She was followed by a resident of Wendy Way, who as a businessman suggested that they let "people who participate in it fund it for the betterment of the city."
McClendon, who lives on Quail Ridge and would not be in residence at the Oak Ridge premises, spoke last on his own behalf. His descriptions of those who had stayed at the residence, albeit many of whom were historians, got him in hot water when he admitted that some of them had paid for the privilege, for a total of $1400. Councilman Bill Scearce probed him further concerned over his having had past paid guests without having been granted the necessary special use permit.
"Most in favor don't live there," was a comment made by Sarah Kracman of 3412 Oak Ridge. Her neighbor Glendola Flake of 3411 Oak Ridge wanted to impress the council with the significance of preserving what they consider they have: a "model neighborhood." That concept was supported by a 90-year-old resident of the area who testified that she owed her continuing independence to the concern given her by her neighbors.
Carter Lee of 3342 Joplin who said he lived adjacent to McClendon's property, was the lone neighborhood supporter of the proposal. He claimed that he had signed the petition four years ago contesting McClendon's original application for a special use permit as a good neighbor gesture, but since changed his mind. He saw no problems in operating a bed and breakfast on the property because of the limitations of the accommodations and consequently the need for a small parking area.
Peggy Wood of 3402 Oak Ridge, defined herself as the "most misquoted woman in the world." She seemed to have been vilified for the zeal in which she voiced opposition to McClendon's proposal. She said she didn't understand the thrill of sleeping with killers and used most of her five minutes of testimony to remind the council of the victims of several other glorified killers.
"Why would a man of the cloth want to start such a business?" she concluded.
The council's motion was made by Benjamin Rosenberg to deny the petition, seconded by Melodee Colbert-Kean. The vote was seven in favor. The opposition to denial came from Mayor Gary Shaw and Michael Seibert.
Granting of civilian service awards
Mayor Gary Shaw and Chief Lane Roberts recognized two local citizens during the October 12 city council meeting. At left, Leeann Kendall was recognized for being a Good Samaritan after having administered first aid to the victim of a fall in a Joplin parking lot who had sustained a laceration to the head. She helped to control blood loss until an ambulance arrived. At right, Brandon Jones, a loss prevention specialist at a local store, received the second civilian service award for being instrumental in the apprehension of several individuals involved in burglaries, fraud and even running a meth lab in the back of a vehicle.
Responding to a proclamation by Mayor Gary Shaw recognizing the 25th anniversary of KGCS-TV is its director Judy Stiles. She shared the praise for the station's role in community enhancement with those she described as being "behind the scenes." Accompanying her is Dr. Jay Moorman, head of the communications department at Missouri Southern State University, the home of KGCS.
Other matters up for discussion and vote
- Dr. Saad Al-Shathir who owns three lots on 32nd Street voiced opposition to Council Bill No. 2009-271 or the re-zoning of an L-shaped lot on 423 W. 31st St. owned by Mark & Paula Callihan for the purpose of constructing a duplex apartment. The bill passed on first reading.
- The council held a lengthy discussion over Council Bill No. 2009-188 which would have authorized the construction by Snyder Construction of a trail from Schifferdecker Park to the Sports Complex on First Street at a cost of $166,618. Councilman Bill Scearce argued that it was way too premature to determine the best route. The matter will be reconsidered.
- Another ordinance authorizing the city to enter into a contract with Snyder Construction for a recreational loop trail in McClelland Park for $56,654.50 passed for a second reading, 5 to 4, with Searce, Phil Stinnett, Benjamin Rosenberg and Michael Seibert opposing it. Stinnett voiced concern over the vandalism that occurs in the area and the possibility of insufficient lighting.
- McIndoe Park trail will get post & cable to prohibit its use by 4-wheelers after the unanimous passage of Council Bill No. 2009-190. The contract was awarded to Snyder Construction for $21,400.
- The 3/8th cent sales tax will be used to pay for the construction by Kanza Construction Inc. of Topeka of a viaduct at 26th and Connecticut for the Kansas City Southern Railway at a cost of $4,488,198.78 after unanimous passage of Council Bill No. 2009-203. The project will see the closure of Connecticut at 26th Street beginning on November 16, 2009 and lasting six to eight months.
- Council Bill No. 2009-450 passed unanimously approving a contract between the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the city of Joplin with funding by the Missouri Department of Health for $64,363 to enable the Joplin Health Department to conduct Novel H1N1 pandemic flu planning activities.
- Dissenters of Council Bill NO. 2009-508 providing for approval of the budget for the period of November 1, 2009 to October 31, 2010 were Jim West and Melodee Colbert-Kean. They disproved of the city's lack of funding for city employee raises while funding the Audubon Center and the Museum Complex. The bill passed 7 to 2.