Sunday, February 7, 2016

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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- - - - - - BREAKING NEWS - - - - - -

Charges filed in 2012 
slaying of Raytown jogger

Harry Stone shot while jogging near 67th, Blue Ridge Boulevard
BY KMBC 9 NEWS STAFF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Charges have been filed in the 2012 slaying of jogger in Raytown.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Tuesday that Craig L. Brown, 24, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Harry Stone, 67, was shot May 13, 2012, while jogging at about 7:20 a.m. at 67th and Blue Ridge Boulevard in Raytown. He died during surgery.

Surveillance video showed a dark-colored car driving north on Blue Ridge Boulevard that passed Stone as he was jogging and someone opened fire on him. Police believe there were two men in the car, a driver and the shooter. READ MORE

BY GREG WALTERS
Development Hearing 
Process Flawed
Most readers will recall the call to arms the people of Raytown experienced when it became public knowledge the City was considering building a Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown. All of the public hearings were well attended. Each meeting brought a larger crowd in opposition to the zoning change that would allow the Walmart Store in Downtown Raytown.

The protests against Walmart worked because the public was well informed at what was going on. Last Tuesday's meeting showed how the notification process can fail.
At its February 3rd meeting the Board voted to rezone residential property next to Blue Ridge Elementary for commercial use. The applicant testified the use was for that of a Dollar Store. 

The people affected by the zoning change, the neighborhoods surrounding it, had only learned one week before of what was about to happen to them.

There was scant public notice. Three of the public hearings had already been held. Some people showed up, but not enough to impress the Board with their message.


Here is how the process is failing

The applicant and City begin conversations long before the first public meeting is scheduled. As in this case, those most affected by the rezoning find out IF someone from City Hall or the applicant informs them.

As in the case of the Blue Ridge School Dollar Store application, adequate notification was not forthcoming.

Oh sure, they followed the letter of the law. But it is very clear the people living around the zoned area were caught by surprise.

Some of the area neighbors saw this coming. They asked for a two week period (until the next Council meeting) so they could properly prepare and bring their arguments to the table.

The Mayor could have ruled the meeting to be continued in two weeks.

He did not.

Any of the ten members of the Board of Aldermen could have made a motion asking the decision be postponed for two weeks.

They did not.

Collectively, 11 elected officials ignored the wishes of the people they represent. Did they all go deaf at the same time?

No, they did not go deaf. They had already made up their minds. As one of the neighborhood representatives wrote in a letter to the Raytown Report, “we didn’t have a chance”.

The Board of Aldermen has been drinking the “development koolaide”. They have bought into the argument that any new building is progress. Sacrifice a neighborhood at the altar of the development gods.

Not good politics and not good for the community.

Do they think the parents of students attending Blue Ridge Elementary will be pleased when they learn a Dollar Store will be built next to the school their children attend?

The School District apparently knew what is in store. Tall fences were recently erected around the playground/recess area giving the grounds the look of a prison. The lighting is so bright in the parking lot at night you could play baseball under them.

The Board of Aldermen has forgotten they are supposed to be the watchdogs for the Community. They are supposed to keep the public informed on changes that will affect their lives.

In this case, they failed miserably.

Other People’s Mail . . .
Last week the Raytown Board of Aldermen approved a controversial zoning change giving their approval to the construction of a Dollar Store in the middle of a residentially zoned area on 63rd Street. The store will be built just east of Blue Ridge Elementary Grade School.

Homeowners, who had learned about the proposed store just one week before the final vote on the zoning change have expressed their disappointment and anger. One participant at the meeting said they were “steam rolled” by City Hall on the issue.

Their request for a two week delay so that they could have time to prepare their response to the application was ignored by the Board of Aldermen.


From Melissa Laval
What a disappointing night Tuesday was..  another Raytown resident there,, said to me, she was appalled at the arrogance of the Alderman, and the condescending tone in which they tried to explain to our group,, looking right at us,, about toilets need flushed, and streets cleaned.. etc.. she went on to say she felt they acted as if we were just not getting their   "genius" . I met Jamie,, she lives on the corner of Ditzler and 63rd,, she was so upset.. as was Karen Clevenger, she was there,,, we are all heart broken, frustrated, and frankly, mad as hell.  I personally dont understand, how Dollar General is only interested in Greg Strevino's property,,  How can that be? So many vacant buildings,, that could be replaced, as Family Dollar did.. in this area alone, not to mention the numerous opportunities throughout Raytown,, I can only speculate,, especially after witnessing during the break,, all the hand shaking, back patting, bull crapping going on with Greg  Strevino and board members. It was a done deal before we walked in the door.
From Alderman Karen Black to Malinda VanDyne
 Hope all is well for you. I didn't see you at the meeting last night unless you were amongst the Boy Scouts and I just couldn't see you...Lol. I was really hoping you would've been there last night to give your public comment. I got the impression from your passionate emails this was very important to you and many other constituents in our ward. I did receive a few emails regarding the issue, but as it turns out, there were only four constituents that came up for public comment.

I want to thank you for your concern on this issue and for your concerns for our community. I said when I was campaigning I wanted the people to be more involved and informed and I appreciated your input on this. Let's move Raytown forward!

From Malinda VanDyne to Alderman Karen Black
I was unable to attend due to my husband’s health; however I was able to watch it on the government access station.  With no notice and a short time to get the word out the turnout was not a success on our behalf; unfortunately I fell it would not have made much difference. As I watched I was very disappointed in the feel in the room and the Board.  The decision was made before we even spoke. I may be wrong in that statement but, I do feel it is warranted.

I hope the moving forward does not come back to bite the community in the long term, but good luck with your decision.
I hope the moving forward does not come back to bite the community in the long term, but good luck with your decision.

From Ken Clevenger
How cozy for Raytown, to have a surplus dollar general, nestled in among our ,, OUR homes,, (not the alderman's) ..  an easier target for crime,, to be separate and independent of other stores..  like the gas station down on blue ridge cut off, below price chopper, closed permanently due to robberies, does our City counsel seriously think this is not going to happen on 63rd street, they are drawing in people to shop there,, and not all are going to be good citizens. I drove by today,, how many empty buildings and space,, between where they propose this new one,, for Strevino to make money, if Dollar General really liked that area, look at all potential within 1/4 mile,, this is about Greg Strevino making money on his land,, and the city is trying to sell it as tax revenue .. bull,  that vacant land is much nicer looking to enter Raytown than dollar general, and then drive by building after building, EMPTY,, the thing to do,, was never make that commercial. just residential. shame on our counsel, I am fearful this story, will be ours much too soon.
 

BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting
February 2, 2016
The Boy Scouts gave the Invocation, presented the Colors, and led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Harvey Bruce went before the Board and said there is a proposed restaurant going in close to the IHOP.  The plans call for the closing of 75th Street between Raytown Road and 350 Highway.  If they close this part of the road, there is no way emergency vehicles can get through.  He heard someone say they could use 74th Street or 76th Street, but these are residential streets.  They can’t go down to Walmart and use that street to get from Eastbound to Westbound 350 Highway.  It would simply take too long.

The Board passed an ordinance approving an Amendment to the 353 Tax Abatement Agreement providing real property tax abatement for the interior and exterior Renovations/redevelopment of property located at 9503-9507 East 63rd Street.  David McGee, representing Spartan Properties, LLC is seeking approval of a Chapter 353 Tax Abatement application for renovations to two vacant office buildings, parking lot area, and sidewalk areas on the subject property.  Alderman Black asked when construction will be done.  Mr. McGee said the first half will be occupied by summer and the rest soon after.  Alderman Van Buskirk asked what other business will be going in. 

Mr. McGee said “Power On” will occupy 5,000 square feet of the west building. The intent of the Raytown Municipal Redevelopment Corporation (RMRC) is to strengthen the economic viability of the Downtown Raytown area by providing an innovative financial incentive for improving the exterior appearance, interior and structural conditions of its buildings.  The RMRC Board of Directors has recommended approval of the amended application for Chapter 353 tax abatement at Level A “Market Stabilizing” for the property located at 9503-9507 East 63rd Street.  The two vacant office buildings are proposed to be renovated and leased to several businesses. The submitted application indicates the type of improvements proposed and the estimated costs will include:

•        Roofing: $30,000

•        A/C & furnace: $70,000

•        Electrical: $15,000

•        Plumbing: $10,000

•        General Remodeling Work: $50,000

•        Brick Work: $1,700

•        Repair to stairs and parking lot: $1,200

Though no jobs are required to be created or retained as a condition for a “Market Stabilizing” tax abatement project in the City’s Chapter 353 Tax Abatement Policy, the applicant states in submitted application that a minimum of 15 jobs are estimated to be brought to the property. Some of these jobs will be for businesses that the applicant indicates will move to the property from other locations in Raytown while some of the other jobs will be created by new businesses coming to Raytown and locating on the property.

The project meets the requirements of the City’s Chapter 353 Tax Abatement Policy. Chapter 353 is not an economic development incentive designed to spur new jobs or capital investment, but rather emphasizes the removal of blight.  As this project will dramatically improve/enhance the appearance of the building, staff and the RMRC believes the project achieves the desired impact from the program.

The Board passed an ordinance (along with Alderman Meyers’ two amendments) seeking approval of a rezoning application.  During public comments, Dave Carmer said he moved to Raytown 48 years ago.  People lived in residential area and raised their families.  They lived together and went to school together.  Now the city wants to rezone this area from residential to commercial.  There are plenty of commercial sites available without rezoning residential land.  Economic enrichment should be focused in the heart of Raytown where the citizens can gather, interact, and purchase quality merchandise.

Jeanette Elliott said this is not a good idea.  Traffic in the area will increase.  Raytown already has four Dollar stores.  She asked why Raytown needs more.  David Martin said when this plan originally came before the Board in 2012, it was voted down because it is in a residential area.  His house is close enough to see the store from his living room.  The proposed houses are only to distract from the real issue.  What assurance does the city have that the plan will really work?  Who would spend $100,000 on a house that backs up to a Dollar store’s trash dumpster? 

The added traffic on 63rd Street as well as the semi-truck deliveries are a major concern.  Carolyn Graves who on the Board would want to live across from a Dollar store?  Why would the city change the zoning to help one person?  Alderman Moore asked who owns the land and proposed building.  He was told it is owned by Stervinou Construction and is leasing the building to Dollar General. 

Alderman Moore asked if Dollar General were to close this store, someone else would then lease the building?  He was told this is correct.  Alderman Meyers moved to amend the ordinance to require the final site plan to comply with the Central Business District’s design standard and the final site plan will have to go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Aldermen for final consideration.  He also moved to amend the ordinance to prohibit alcohol sales at the store. 

Alderman Van Buskirk said we need new businesses.  The downtown area lacks development.  We need to expand the tax base.  The three new residential properties will make a huge improvement to the area.  The Board approved both of Alderman Meyers’ amendments.  Greg Stervinou Construction Inc. is seeking to rezone a 1.0 acre area of a 2.17 acre vacant land from High Density Residential and Planned Zoning Overlay District (RP-3) to Neighborhood Commercial and Planned Zoning Overlay District (NC-P) and the remaining 1.17 acre area to Low Density Residential (R-1).  The property is bounded by 63rd Street on the north and Blue Ridge Boulevard on the south, Blue Ridge Elementary School to the west and an office building on the east.

The rezoning is being sought as Dollar General wishes to construct a new store on the northeast side of the property and the applicant wants to construct three single-family homes on the south and west side of the property. A site development plan, a copy of which is enclosed, has been submitted for the portion of the property that is proposed to be rezoned to NC-P. Aspects of the site development plan are described in the accompanying staff report provided to the Planning & Zoning Commission.  Greg Stervinou Construction Inc. is seeking to rezone a portion of a 1.37 acre area of vacant land from High Density Residential and Planned Zoning Overlay District (RP-3) to Neighborhood Commercial and Planned Zoning Overlay District (NC-P) and the remaining portion from High Density Residential and Planned Zoning Overlay District (RP-3) to Low Density Residential (R-1).

The property proposed to be rezoned is located at 9109 East 63rd Street and, as indicated on the aerial photo below, is bounded by 63rd Street on the north and Blue Ridge Boulevard on the south, Blue Ridge Elementary School to the west and an office building on the east.  The rezoning is being sought as a Dollar General store is proposed to be constructed on the northeast side of the property and three single-family residential lots are proposed to be created on the south and west side of the property.

In 2012 the applicant submitted a similar rezoning application for this property which included a site development plan for construction of a Dollar General on this property. The previous rezoning application and development plan proposed to use the entire property for a Dollar General store. Prior to final action on that rezoning application, however, the applicant withdrew the application. Based upon comments and concerns raised at the public hearings on the previous rezoning application, the applicant has revised the development plan for the property and submitted this new application.

The following describes how this rezoning application and development plan differs from the rezoning and development plan that was submitted in 2012:

1.      The area on which the Dollar General would be located is smaller. The applicant has submitted a site development plan, a copy of which is attached, for that area of the subject property proposed to be rezoned to NC-P and on which the Dollar General store is proposed to be constructed.

2.      Three single-family residential lots along the south and west side of the property are proposed to be created. Two of the residential lots would extend along the west side of the property on which Dollar General is proposed to be constructed and the other residential lot would be to the south. The Board passed an ordinance approving the final plat of Jacob estates 2nd plat.  Greg Stervinou Construction, Inc. is seeking approval of the Final Plat of Jacob Estates 2nd Plat. The final plat proposes to replat a 2.17 acre undeveloped tract of land into four lots. Lot 1 will front onto 63rd Street while Lots 2, 3 and 4 will front on Blue Ridge Boulevard. Lots 2 and 3 will extend through to 63rd Street but will not be allowed to access 63rd Street due to limited sight distance on 63rd Street due to the crest of a hill. The final plat is proposed as the applicant is seeking to develop Lot 1 for commercial purposes while Lots 2, 3 and 4 are intended to be developed for single-family homes.



HOW THEY VOTED

ISSUE: DOLLAR GENERAL STORE ZONING APPLICATION


YES:           Jason Greene, Steve Mock, Bill VanBuskirk, Eric Teeman
                  Janet Emerson, Steve Meyers, Mark Moore
NO:            Karen Black
ABSENT:    Jim Aziere, Josh Greene


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