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Food Policy Council (FPC) Meeting on Mon, April 16, 2018 - 6:30 PM

Meeting Agenda: 

6:00pm pre-meeting discussion with hosts from the Douglas County Conservation District, including a tour of their pollinator garden and updates on current initiatives—including a urban agriculture grant collaboration with Extension & the Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability Office.  

 

  1. Action Item: Administrative Items
    1. Determine quorum of members, agenda approval
    2. Approval of February meeting minutes
    3. 2018 Membership changes – Open agricultural producer spot
    4. Kansas Alliance of Wellness Grant Update
    5. KS Food & Farm Council Convening (May 8 in Salina)
    6. Diversity Survey
    7. Budget overview 
      1. Health Equity Subcommittee: Bus signage $500
      2. Ashely Jones-Wisner – Registration for Urban Food Systems Symposium: $340
      3. Kim Criner – Leadership Lawrence tuition (half) $750
      4. Connie Fitzpatrick – Advocacy Leadership Institute, Nat’l Asso. of Latino Arts & Culture, tuition ($375)
  2. Discussion Item: Public Input
  3. City of Lawrence Planning Department Updates (Amy Miller, Assistant Director)
    1. Lawrence-Douglas County Comprehensive Plan
    2. Downtown Master Plan

 

  1. Downtown Grocery Store Update (Bill Fleming, Treanor Architects)

 

  1. Common Ground Community Garden Program Update

 

  1. Discussion Item: 2018 Food System Plan, Full Council Policy Priorities 

Goal 4, Objective 2 (Expand City- and County-led initiatives to make food more affordable)

4.2.1: Reduce and eliminate the sales tax on groceries

  • State Legislature Update

Goal 1, Objective 3 (Increase local food purchasing)

1.3.1: Invest in signage, shared infrastructure, and coordinated marketing to support Douglas County farmers markets

  • Lawrence Farmers Market Update

Host Local Food Economic Summit (May 30-31, 2018)

 

See Harvesting Opportunities Publication!

1.1.1: Maintain currently adopted policies for food systems economic development

  • Discussion of Chapters 1-4
  • FPC Member Actions (Invitations, Volunteering)

 

  1. Discussion Item: Subcommittees 

 

  1. FPC Member Updates

 

  1. Adjourn
Meeting Location: 
Douglas County Conservation District Office
Street Address: 
4920 Bob Billings Pkwy, Lawrence, KS 66049, USA
Meeting Minutes: 

In attendance: Marlin Bates, Michael Steinle, Michele Dillon, Tamara Cash, Kim Criner, Olivia Taylor-Puckett, Ashely Jones-Wisner, William Vesecky, Aundrea Shafer, Jennifer Kongs, Camille Eichorn, Inti Hurt

                            

 

Absent: Scotty Thellman, John Pendleton, Brooke Miller, Connie Fitzpatrick, Jason Champagne, Elizabeth Burger, TK Peterson, Lee Broyles, Christine Ebert, Joshua Falleaf

 

Staff: Helen Schnoes, Jasmin Moore, Amy Miller

 

Public: Sue Ann Funk, Randy Winchester, Bill Fleming  

 

  1. Action Item: Administrative Items
    1. Determine quorum of members, agenda approval (6:37pm) – Shafer, Jones-Wisner (All approved)
    2. Approval of February + March meeting minutes (Kongs, Hurt—All approved)
    3. 2018 Membership changes – Open agricultural producer spot
    4. Kansas Alliance of Wellness Grant Update – Awaiting feedback from grant administrator
    5. KS Food & Farm Council Convening (Tuesday, May 8 in Salina) – Let Helen know if you’d like to attend. Helen, Kim, and Jennifer are attending.
    6. Diversity Survey – Will send with minutes tomorrow. FPC members are requested to respond to the survey. The City of Lawrence has distributed a similar survey to all city-only advisory boards; staff decided to create this one, too, so that the Sustainability Office can include the FPC when looking at results.
    7. Budget overview ($3728.35 remaining) 
      1. Health Equity Subcommittee: Bus signage $500 à 2 signs per bus to change twice a year. Signs will be double-sided to be simple. 4 messages per year. 40 buses. (Bates, Steinle—All approved)
      2. Ashely Jones-Wisner – Registration for Urban Food Systems Symposium: $340 Postponed
      3. Kim Criner – Leadership Lawrence tuition (half) $750
        1. Funding dependent upon acceptance into program. KU Center for Sustainability (where Kim works) to sponsor other half. Marlin shared that there was past discussion to support FPC leadership participation in Leadership Lawrence, to keep FPC work recognized and furthered through this program. Positive connections are made by participants. (Shafer, Bates—All approved)
      4. Connie Fitzpatrick – Advocacy Leadership Institute, Nat’l Asso. of Latino Arts & Culture, tuition ($375) (Hurt, Shafer—Send Connie data you’d like to share—All approved)
  2. Discussion Item: Public Input
  3. City of Lawrence Planning Department Updates (Amy Miller, Assistant Director)
    1. Lawrence-Douglas County Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive Plan feedback to FPC Comments (pages 21-22)

Updated draft available here (see page 85, among others, for FPC)   

      1. Comp Plan is a guiding policy document for unincorporated Douglas County and Lawrence. It sets up the foundation (theory) for how we do codes and regulations. This is work at the 30,000 foot level, and what is the vision for the community (“What do we want to work with”). Horizon 2020 was adopted in the mid-90s. 2014 work started to update the document—is it still working? What’s wrong? What does the public think should be changed? A Steering Committee is representative of different sectors, levels of decision making. A year and a half of outreach in 2014-2015 led to an Issue Action Report—what they heard over and over. Staff developed a new draft of The Plan from that input. The Plan then went back to the Steering Committee, Public, for reactions. FPC provided feedback in October—the staff and Committee are very appreciative of the Food Policy Council’s work and comments. From all the feedback comments, the staff responded if it’s incorporated or not and the reason. They had to balance a lot of conflicting comments.
      2. Going forward, the Steering Committing is reviewing the February Draft, chapter by chapter. Providing additional direction to staff. One more chapter to go—will address on April 30. Then staff will make more changes and bring them back what they hope is the final draft for the Steering Committee on June 18. IF it gets their blessing, it will move on to consideration by the Planning Commission, City Commission, and County Commission. Each of those meetings will be an opportunity to comment. Will likely do a joint work session in advance.
      3. It’s good when you can say it’s good, we agree with it, we want this. (Not just “change this.”)
      4. Food policy council asked follow-up questions about comments submitted in October.
    1. Downtown Master Plan
      1. This project came out of a Strategic Planning process with the Lawrence City Commission. IT is one of 5 top priorities. A multi-disciplinary staff committee has developed a Request for Proposals has been issued, a staff Selection Committee is reviewing proposals and determining who to bring on board in May.
      2. Key parts for the FPC: They want the consultant to do a lot of community engagement with stakeholders (FPC would be one), community at large—to ask what they want, what their vision of downtown is. This will help define the scope of the plan—what should be included in it. One element in the RFP was “Public and Open Space” and it included “Farmers Market” as an element identified. It is early in the process, but robust community engagement is planned.
      3. Timeline: Different consultants had different timelines—planning process will likely into 2019. Community engagement likely to begin end of the summer (August & September?).
        1. Next step will likely be selecting consultant in May. Initial meetings in summer will be kick-off events—not sure if that’ll just be staff vs. community planning.
      4. At its core, this is a land use plan—what do you want where? How are temporary events, street closures, parades, handled? What do we want the street to look like? 
      5. Amy said that the Farmers Market Report produced by SCALE, Inc. for the Food Policy Council would be good to share with the consultant. 6 page synopsis could be boiled down with what FPC wants to see.
        1. What do you envision a FM to look like?
        2. Are there key locations?
        3. Are there key necessities? 
  • Lots of discussion about open space downtown, connections to the river, other areas where the FPC could assert its opinions. Parking will also be key topic.
  1. Downtown Grocery Store Update (Bill Fleming, Treanor Architects)
  • Bill Fleming
    • Been working on this project for a long time. Began working with the Hobbs Taylor Lofts. There was a covenant to not build bigger than Borders building, height, use (no grocery store). Lots of meetings with these owners (30 condo owners, plus commercial owners), site decision maker. Got consensus from everyone except 2. They have public parking behind Hobbs Taylor as part of deal with the City—they want to become private parking spots.  There was a lawsuit by two condo owners.
      • Oral arguments April 17 at KU School of Law at Court of Appeals.
    • Asked city for a Tax Increment Financing District to help pay for the parking. Project itself forms a district, then collect real estate and sales taxes from the property upfront. These taxes are rebated to the developer over 20 years. Use of the funds is restricted. 120-150 parking needed, plus for 72 residents. Currently downtown building code doesn’t require off-street parking (done to support density of building). Previous underground parking developments were over $4 million for past projects along New Hampshire St. This one will be larger—very expensive to secure. Looking at above ground parking across the street as public parking garage. Money from TIF district would support some of this. Requires affordable housing as part of city’s economic development housing – will be 11 units. May sell to LDC Housing Authority to keep affordable.
    • Also asked City for a low or no interest loan to grocery store operator—grocery store needs to buy equipment to get started. A study session with the City in December reviewed the request and the City was not open to it. Considered the Health Food Financing Initiative (anchored by IFF)—interest rates were too high (wanted to wrap into a single financing package with one lender); may go back depending on next steps. Also looking at federal New Market Tax Credits (get allocation from community development entities). Central Bank of KC. Want to use these savings to offer grocery store operator lower rent ($7/sq ft vs. $15/sq ft)
    • Another process is Downtown Design Guidelines with Historic Resources Commission. Being reviewed by several committees connected with this process. There is a historic structure (wall) along the side of the building—will likely to be taken down but include some history within the building. This process still needs to be completed. Size has also changed to be 1 story on Rhode Island side and 4 stories on New Hampshire side.
    • Question on impact on property values (residential and commercial) with creation of grocery store? Impact on area rental rates?
    • Next Step: Treanor will make a modified request with different financing approach and updated request to the City for support. Awaiting feedback on design. Hoping to start construction in September.
      • Community Support important for New Market Tax Credits.
      • Formal ask to City Commission (July) at Hearings on forming TIF District. Letter or email or in-person statement would be of interest.
      • Blueprints will be shared by Bill to distribute to FPC members.
  • Note from Diane Stoddard, Assistant City Manager: The City is supportive of a downtown grocery store.  We are working with the development team primarily related to the parking issue currently- though there are technically no parking requirements in the downtown area, we want to make sure that any project that the City is incenting isn’t exacerbating current parking pressures in that corridor.  We want to ensure that the project covers the displaced public parking that it will cause, plus provide public parking related to its demand and uses.  We are exploring various concepts with the development team accordingly.
  1. Common Ground Community Garden Program Update
    1. City’s Community Garden Program: https://lawrenceks.org/common-ground/
    2. Grant with Conservation District -- Program Review.
      1. Helen shared that the Sustainability Office is participating in a program evaluation of Common Ground, for the first time since the program’s creation in 2012. New materials for garden managers, as well as an internal report, will be created in the next few months. These new documents will help inform a policymaker tour with City leaders and future planning for the program.
      2. Given the history of the Food Policy Council in helping create the program, participate in application review, and other support, Helen requested members let her know if they’re interested in serving on an ad hoc committee to participate in this process.
      3. Let Helen know by May 11 if you’re interested. (Aundrea Shafer volunteered)  

 

  1. Discussion Item: 2018 Food System Plan, Full Council Policy Priorities 

Goal 4, Objective 2 (Expand City- and County-led initiatives to make food more affordable)

4.2.1: Reduce and eliminate the sales tax on groceries

  • State Legislature Update – Legislature is on break, will report next week.

Goal 1, Objective 3 (Increase local food purchasing)

1.3.1: Invest in signage, shared infrastructure, and coordinated marketing to support Douglas County farmers markets

  • Lawrence Farmers Market Update – Long-term planning committee has drafted letter to send to the City of Lawrence Commissioners to introduce themselves and engage in advance of Downtown Master Plan.

Host Local Food Economic Summit (May 30-31, 2018)

 

See Harvesting Opportunities Publication!

1.1.1: Maintain currently adopted policies for food systems economic development

  • Planning team is working to finalize agenda, invites (language, design, list—hoping to send of the week). KU Business School secured for Thursday May 31. Wednesday May 30 likely at county winery plus a farm tour at area orchard.

 

  • Discussion of Chapters 1-4
    • Chapter 1 (Inti, Tamara, Michele, Jasmin)
    • Chapter 2 (Olivia, Marlin, Ashely, William)
    • Chapter 3 (Helen, Jennifer)
    • Chapter 4 (Aundrea, Michael, Kim, Camille)
    • Conversations to be brought into subcommittees for further discussion in May

 

  • FPC Member Actions (Invitations, Volunteering)
    • Sign-up and Link to Volunteer list to be included with minutes.
  • Since the last meeting, Sustainability Office hired BARK Media to support invitations. In discussions about a second contract that would take the lessons from the event to create statewide publications that help communities move forward with the ideas and lessons from the event.

 

  1. Discussion Item: Subcommittees 
    1. Michael Steinle reported that the City of Lawrence Sustainability Advisory Board has added Goal 5 of the Food System Plan as a new subcommittee.

 

  1. FPC Member Updates
    1. Michael: The Stand up for Science event had about 300 people and raised over $60,000—big success
    2. Helen: Conferences
      1. Greater KC FPC – Thursday, April 26
        1. Helen shared often a FPC member attends. Olivia requested attending.
      2. Direct Ag Marketing Summit – Sept 15-18 in Virginia
        1. Helen shared this was just announced and would align with something the Council could submit.
    3. Takeaways – Key Ideas from Meeting
      1. Downtown grocery project is cumbersome with lots of moving parts and different perspectives
      2. We still have an agricultural producer spot open – Need to fill
      3. Coming months will bring discussion of Common Ground and Council will form an ad hoc committee to assist
      4. Downtown Master Plan will also be coming in the months to come. FPC can be ready to envision and present its support for farmers market to the consultants.

 

  1. Adjourn (Dillon, Eichorn—All approved (8:36pm))