Kansas State Representative John Carmichael (D) raised an outcry against what he believes is an attempt by the state to manipulate the shot-clock. According to Kansas.com, Carmichael has accused politicians in Wichita of making underhanded deals with cell tower companies. The dealings, he says, hurry along the shot-clock, making it far easier for the telecoms to put up towers in residential neighborhoods.
Although the state law indicates that a 150-day period will be allowed when cell tower development plans are under consideration, a ‘consent agenda’ vote passes any number of items with one vote and no discussion. “We absolutely need to do away with the practice of a consent agenda where the MAPC can hide major changes to how we deal with cell phone towers in Wichita,” challenged Carmichael. “This is exactly why people say you can’t fight City Hall. I’m here today to watch what happened, so when we [legislators] get back to Topeka, we can implement additional legislation to try to get the city’s attention that they can’t conduct their business behind closed doors.”
The policy change that has the state lawmaker up in arms will let developers waive the 150-day deadline and file their zone change request first, and apply for a building permit later. Wichita Planning Director Dale Miller explained the city’s position, saying that the change they voted for does benefit the developers, who don’t want to file both pieces at the same time. It is more cost efficient for them to handle the matter in two stages, since a rejection of a zoning application means no building permit is necessary.
Rep. Carmichael has been working with residents of the Riverside section of Wichita who are opposed to erect more cell towers in their neighborhood. The city council passed its policy change with at 10-2 margin.
May 9, 2019
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