Monday, June 1, 2009

Fix This Eyesore NOW! (part 2)

Greg Walters, Contributing Editor Richard Tush, Contributing Editor Fix This Eyesore NOW! Is a weekly column of the Raytown Report featuring citizen complaints where the City of Raytown should step up and take care of business. The red “Day #” indicates how long it has been since we first sent the complaint to the attention of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen representing the area that needs attention. Last week, we carried the picture of the pothole at 67th and Blue Ridge at the entrance to the BP gasoline station at that intersection. We drove by the station today. The only change we noted was that the hazard signal is now standing upright in the hole rather than laying on its side as pictured. DAY 7 - 67TH and BLUE RIDGE CUTOFF: BP Gasoline station located between Commerce Bank and 67th Street (on the south side of 67th Street). The picture speaks for itself. The grating over the storm drainage cut has been missing for over one year. A copy of this page has been forwarded to Ward 1 Aldermen Joe Creamer, Shane Pardue, and Mayor David Bower. DAY 1 – 84th Street Sanitary Sewer Project This is a photo of what Frank Potter and his neighbors on East 84th Street see when they look out their back windows. Two years ago the picture was an idyllic wooded area. What you is the way the city’s contractor left their properties after a new sewer project was completed in June of 2008. The City failed to require the contractor to restore the area to Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) standards when the project was completed. Potter has been trying since early April to get the city to do something. After E-mailing Mayor Bower twice, the interim Public Works Director told Potter that they were NOT going to do anything about the situation and that the DNR had signed off on this project. Potter contacted the DNR and was told the City had NOT signed off on the project, and in fact, the city did not have a current Land Disturbance Permit for this project as required by state law. The DNR visited the site and then contacted the City and told them they are in violation. The DNR has also started the disciplinary process which can result in a series of $10,000.00 fines if the situation is not taken care of in a required period of time. So far Potter has received a phone call from his Aldermen and Interim Public Works Director Jason Hanson saying they are looking into seeding the area this fall. But . . . the trees they cut down were ground up which resulted in mounds of mulch that they spread over the properties. Then they took pulverized rock from under the four lanes of Raytown Road and graded it over the mulch. As anyone growing a garden can tell you, pulverized rock and mulch does not make ideal growing conditions for anything (as the picture so clearly shows). The property looks the same today as it did one year after the city finished its sewer improvements. Mr. Potter says the city originally promised to remove all the mulch and crushed rock and return the area to its previous condition. The city should address the problem, remove the crushed rock and bring in topsoil so that seeding and tree planting has a chance to take root. A copy of this report has been emailed to Mayor David Bower and the Ward 5 Aldermen.


concerned citizen said...

Regarding the gas station hole--My question is--why isnt the gas station doing anything about it--and then suing the city for re-imbursement? Or suing the city for lost "potential" business since the pothole can cause damage to a vehicle if slightly hit--major damage if forced to go over it? And I cant believe that the city isnt taking an active role in fixing it--makes potential clients not want to come here and set up shop if there is a lack of taking care of business---like a renter having problems with the place they are renting---and the landlord not taking care of it. there should be consequences that the city be fined or something--like a bad tenant--for not taking care of their duties.

Greg Walters said...

Good questions. We have received an email from City Hall saying that problem is being addressed. What we find disconcerting is that city officials have been driving by this eyesore/hazard for well over a year.

It is not like the open trench at the BP station suddenly appeared one day a couple of weeks back.

If the posts we have received in the past week are any indication, this "not seeing" code violations is what needs to be addressed.

Short story. City Hall needs to become more proactive in enforcement of its codes.

Andy Whiteman said...

Has anyone noticed this blighted area:There are several buildings in extreme disrepair downtown on 63rd St starting with the house where the double homicide ocurred and extending east and also north across the street to 10408 E 63rd St.

They may not be noticed to the casual driver speeding down 63rd intent on getting to his destination. But get out and WALK the area and you will see this. I would classify some of these buildings as a fire hazard.
The area on the south side also has a vacant lot +/- 1.18 acres next to it.. So the whole area could be redeveloped.

It has been like this over 2 years, but I didn't want to bring this up due to the circumstances, but the blight is growing like a fungus.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I am so sick and tired of talking about the lack of code enforcement. We have a house on our street that is in need of mowing. Both the front and back. I was told by the the girl in code enforcement office that they (the supervisor I guess ) had signed off on the house that it was okay. The person who lives there did take a weed eater to it and skim a little off the top. It looks like goats have been feeding on the yard, but I think even goats would do a better job than this. What I really believe is going on is that the man who inspected the yard is BLIND and has been faking it for years. I do seriously believe what he did reguarding this yard this is grounds for dismissal. This guy needs to get his head out of his you know what and quite being afarid of people and DO HIS JOB!!!! If fhe can't do that then he needs to get a differant job. I am seriously considering calling Fox 4 news channel. So clean up your yards or you may see it on television.

Andy Whiteman said...

I have already notified the appropriate city officials of the about blighted condition.

If the Bill is approved at the next meeting, Raytown will receive funds to mill and overlay Woodson from the Porkulous Bill thanks to Dictator O'Bomba. All of the taxpayers in the USA are footing the bill for us.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Saw on the news tonight that Raytown now has the second highest sanitary sewer taxes in the metropolitan area.

I already knew we were the second highest in sales tax.

With all this money flowing into city hall do you think they could take care of some of the bare essentials like striping the streets, replacing rusted out no parking signs, etc., etc., etc.?

Anonymous said...

I hate to remind everyone that this city as a whole is in a state of a blighted condition. Every street, median, everywhere looks like a slum/ghetto. I give up! I am now looking to get out!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading comments on these pages from the last two weeks. I hope that our city leaders are as well. If they do read the comments, they should view them as a wake-up call from many people in Raytown.

Obviously we are paying a lot of money in taxes in Raytown. It is time the city started showing us something for the taxes they collect.

Can anyone at City Hall tell us when we will start seeing the promised improvements like the new intersection at Gregory Boulevard and Raytown Road, or the new bridge on 63rd Street, the new new sidewalks and striping on our roadways. Most important of all, when will our streets be overlayed with new asphalt.

We did our part. We are paying the higher taxes.

Now it is time for City Hall to do its part with improved services.

Pat Casady said...

I have found out that the house that I was writing about with all
the trash and old cars, is now being cleaned up. I have come to
the realization that maybe it takes some time to get things done
in Raytown but, if we keep pushing and pointing these things out
they might just get taken care of. I also think the city may try to build a case before they rush in. In this case there were so many
violations it may have taken this long to list all the problems.
However, I believe that since I have complained about this piece
of property it is only fair I tell you it was served with the proper paper work and the home owner is now cleaning it up.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bower and his administration have done nothing to improve our city the last 2 years. In fact I believe that it has gotten worse. Our city is in a blighted condition and NOBODY at city hall cares to do anything about it. We have fallen so far behind in our infrastructure improvements that we will never be able to catch up. But we've got lots of money to throw at salaries for the high paid employees. This is the city's whole problem,THEY SPEND ALL OUR MONEY ON SALARIES AND NONE ON INFRASTRUCTURE. Mayor Bower should consider resigning, he's done nothing to improve our city.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone do anything about the big trucks parked by Taco Bell on 350 Highway? I can't open my windows at night due to the noise from their diesels running to keep their refrigeration units going.

Shane Par-Due, I supported you in this election because you offered above par service. Please make my residential neighborhood as quiet as yours!

Anonymous said...

A general question, where do I find the Master Plan for Capital Projects Planned for 2009, 2010, 2011, et cetera for Raytown?

Andy Whiteman said...

8:18AM The Olde Baptist Church is gone and we now have a park known as "Green Space." That is a big improvement! I agree with you about the blighted condition of the streets and the overpaid alien adiminstartors. If these overpaid administrators were REQUIRED to live in the city in which they work, we would be more likely to see change. They are only here 8 hours a day at the most and don't know what is going on. If they lived here they would know what it is like to live with the serfs of the fief.

It appears that the City expects Federal or State Funding for almost everything, (IE the church, Woodson paving, HWY 350 traffic enforcement, etc.) Maybe you should contact Dictator O'Bomba and ask for more Porkulous funding so all the taxpayers in America support Raytown.

8:21 AM, I suggest you call the Police with a noise complaint. Are they really reefers or are the just running the engines so they have a/c and TV? DEMAND that they move to an unpopulated area. You might even make a complaint to Taco Bell.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

June 2, 2009 5:27 PM, What constitutes a lawn that needs mowing in your opinion? Code states over 6 inches tall. Maybe the lawn you refer to wasn't 6" yet. True mine may look unkempt, but since I have to PAY to have it mowed, I strive to have it mowed before it reaches 6". Sometimes the person who does the mowing is busy with other things so it has to wait until he is available. Sometimes sections will go over the allowed 6" but it is hard to control with the rains we have been having. Obviously lawns can't be mowed until they dry out.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Pat makes a fair point about the clean-up of properties. No doubt it does take time to do paper-work and follow the due process of enforcing laws.

However, city hall does seem to take forever to get anything done.

The pothole at the BP Station over by Alderman Creamer's house is a good example. Other writers say it has been there for over a year

Remember, our city's code officers are paid to specifically look for these problems. It really stretches credibility to find that the pothole was just recently discovered, doesn't it?

Personally I am glad to hear it is going to be fixed. Now I would like to SEE it fixed!

It's like the large over the road trucks parked behind Taco Bell. All the people who live on the other side of that parking lot only have a decrepit wooden fence to keep out the sound and stench of diesels engines running through the night.

Personally, I hope they prove this writer wrong. It would be refreshing to learn that our elected officials really do give a damn about our neighborhoods. If nothing is done, then it will serve as a reminder to all of us that nothing has changed at city hall.

Let's hope our Aldermen wake up and start taking care of business.

Anonymous said...

Is there any follow-up to the situation of the people who live along 84th Street?

I hope the city's answer is more than throwing grass seed on the rock they left behind as a solution to solve the problem. I mean, if it didn't work this spring, what on earth makes anyone think that it will work in the fall?

Frank Potter said...

Nothing has changed.I contacted the DNR on June 1st.
The city of Raytown still has not
obtained the reguired land disturbance permit or filed a plan
on how they are going to revegitate
the area.There is also other sewer work going on in Raytown without a land disturbance permit.
The person who is acting Public Works director is clearly not doing his job.Obtaining permits and making sure contractors do their work properly is basic management.This guy is in over his head he will do or tell you anything to cover his mistakes.
Apparently his management don't care either.I hope the DNR takes care of this issue.
Frank Potter

Andy Whiteman said...

7:45 AM, Have you called the POLICE? I suggest you and your neighbors call the POLICE on the non-emergency line and tell them that you ALL want to sign a DOP (Disturbance of the Peace) complaint against those truckers. I know what you are going through. The noise of one truck keeps me awake. There is no reason those truckers can't move to a non-residential area.

Besides that they are polluting the air with their exhaust. They should be cited for that too. It might help to report them to the EPA or whoever in the county is responsible for clean air.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

Obervations on this week's Raytown Post:

Urban legends and how they grow.

Heard this one? "30% of Raytown's housing stock is rental property."

We've read it before and will probably read it again in the Raytown Post. Despite calls from readers on this blog calling for factual verification, none has been forthcoming.

This week's bit of misinformation came from the pen of Jason Whitaker, CEO of the Raytown Post.

To be fair about it Jason did not really state it as a fact. In the closing of his story "Raytown Rent-o-vation", he writes (in a message to Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer) . . . "After all, your initial research did indicate that 30% of Raytown's voters are also renters."

We doubt there was any research to back up either voting or homeowner statistics. More than likely, someone sucked some numbers out of their thumb and thought it sounded good.

Such is the stuff that urban legends are made of.

Speaking of the Post, we see that REAP has been allowed to ignore city housing code requirements on their building.

Kind of makes you wonder how serious the city would be in enforcing any kind of regulations on property owners, be they renters, businesses or homeowners.

REAP had been given permission in 2006 to construct their building in a residentially zoned area. Part of the Special Use Permit was a list of acceptable material to be used as siding on the building.

Despite the agreement, the manager of REAP had a lower quality material used. The BOA voted to allow the material to be used after the fact.

It makes you wonder how serious the city is about creating standards for property owners -- especially rental property owners -- in its attempt to protect Raytown property values.

The are consequences to non-enforcement of housing standards. Residential property values in Raytown dropped by nearly 10% last year according to the Jackson County Assessor's office. The statistic put Raytown second only to Ruskin Heights in percentage of property values in the metropolitan area.

Lowering housing standards (as the BOA did with REAP) does not help increase those property values.

Aldeman Jim Aziere is correct in stating that the BOA has set a new standard by lowering the requirements for REAP. Alderman Christine White said that if it were any other commercial building "we would have them tearing their siding off now."

None the less, both of them voted to allow the material to stay for three years, after which the Board will re-visit the issue.

And do what? Make them tear it off after three years of use? Very unlikely.

Contrast this action by the Board to the inaction on the mess left behind by the city for property owners along 84th Street. (see the post prior to this one from Frank Potter)

From over here it looks like the good old boy system is alive and kicking at city hall.

Anonymous said...

Frank is right about the public works director. You can see that in our street maintenance program, right of way mowing and lack of any significant progress on public works projects. Again it reflects back on the mayor, when there's no leadership from the top, then what do you expect from the other employees?

Pat Casady said...

I just read in the Post that the city was giving the REAP people
trouble about their choice of building materials. This is the way
Raytown does business. They will probably make REAP change their
stucco type wood products which are more than likely better than
the real stucco. The city will also site the 350 rule or code that any
new buildings on 350 hwy have to be either wood, brick or stucco.
I don't believe REAP's building is even on 350hwy.
Personally if I was the REAP people I would tell the city, we will put real
stucco on our building when the new school building does.
Mr.Potter, I feel for you and your neighbors. Double standards are
business as usual in Raytown. The city, school district and some friends of the city
need not worry about codes or standards being enforced on them.
Last year when us businesses around the old church were worried
where our customers would park we were basically told by the city
they didn't care about us or our customers. We said all the city would
have to do is fix the potholes in the asphalt and it would be a good
place to park. Again the city said we are not going to fix any of that
area. Guess what, with the Summerfest and BBQ just around the corner
all the potholes have been patched and the area has been cleaned up.
And so it goes in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman said...

I walked down Raytown Rd and noticed temporary electrical lines in the city ROW at the new park of the Old Baptist Church. This Robe Goldberg contrivance appears to be unsafe and against code to me.

I made a turn at the corner of what I believe to be 62nd St and near the corner of NE corner of the old Church property is an electrical box with the meter missing and NO covering. Definitely unsafe and a code violation! Get a good rain or lightening and a nearby person at either of these places and someone will be electrocuted!

I am at the point of why waste my time pointing out a code violation? Obviously it is for the BBQ but who cares about safety?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

If you all hadn't noticed, the gas station has fixed the whole and it appears to be bolted down so you can complain about something else.

Editors said...

I haven't been by the gas station but I will take the previous post's word that the problem has been resolved.

I am happy it has been fixed. And so should everyone else be as well. We accomplished what was we set out to do. Bring light to an on-going eyesore and hazard and get it repaired.

Andy and Pat have pointed out that the city has made some significant improvements to the Downtown area for the upcoming Raytown Barbeque.

Look at the bright side. At least the improvements are being made.

Pat, in particular, is right in pointing out that local merchants have been asking for improvements for many years.

It does throw light on two very important truisms. One, that this blog can be an effective tool in bringing focus to city needs.

And, more importantly, that the city can make repairs when they have the will to do so.

The repairs to the streets around the festival area are a good example. There are many streets in residential areas that are in worse shape that need attention. City hall should focus on them as much as they do those downtown.

Who knows, maybe they are beginning to see the light.

Andy Whiteman said...

11:11PM, Thanks for the report.

Since the hole at the gas station is bolted down, it shouldn't be a problem again. If someone wants to steal it, it will require WORK.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

To those with a complaint about the semis running at Taco Bell: The old Hy-Vee has a large, vacant lot not near residential. You might suggest they move there so as not to bother anyone. When the Walmart goes vacant, there will be even more room for trucks.

I used to see trucks parked at the Walmart when it was on Hillcrest. At first I thought they were making deliveries, but they were just parked there.

This evening I saw trucks parked at an old gas station at 350 HWY and Raytown Rd. Good place for them.

I remember when I worked at a Sheriff's dept. and received a noise complaint about a parked truck. It was a simple matter of asking the owner to move the truck away from a residential area. I would think it would be a simple matter for Raytown PD to handle.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Well what do you know!

The open trench at the gas station is fixed.

Good job, bloggers! You managed to get them to unstuff their ears for once at city hall.

Keep up the good work.

And to whoever finally got them to do somenthing internally at city hall, step up and be recognized. You deserve a lot of the credit.

Justin Tomac said...

I shared this Event (happening this week) with our City Administrator back in March/April Timeframe. The intent was to begin to influence and educate the current Administration of alternatives ways of improving local and state government. Time will tell if Mr. Sharma & staff attended this event and if they are open to such ways of focusing on providing Services to the Residents in a faster, efficient way.

Here is the link of the event:
Here is the itinerary:

If people in other parts of the country can re-focus why can't we?

Justin Tomac

Andy Whiteman said...

The posting is so delayed that I am just seeing posts from Friday.

Editors 8:56AM, Yes the city can do repairs when the have to, but why do things have to get into such sad shape before action is taken? That is ridiculous. The city wouldn't tolerate that behavior from a common serf (AKA citizen).

Yes, this blog does serve a good purpose now that people are writing about issues without name calling and back stabbing like little children.

Justin, the problem is the way the people we are dealing with (city management) think. I lived in a village of 125 houses. Any time I suggest something, it couldn't be done. Why not? "Because it has never been done." When I wanted to get a fire escape chain ladder floor a 2nd floor library, I was told that was ridiculous because that building has been there 75 years and has never caught fire. Therefore it can't catch fire. That is the type of thinking we are dealing with at the Royal Castle 10000 E 59th. We need progressive thinkers.

Andy Whiteman

Wondering said...

I don't usually visit this blog and only follow city hall politics from a distance. But there is something that I do woner about.

Whatever happened to Jim Aziere's plan to ban smoking in Raytown. Last I remember they were doing some sort of study to bring back to the City Council for review.

But that was over half a year ago.

Anonymous said...

You have to know Jim Aziere. Mr. Aziere always starts lots of projects and proposals, but never seems to follow through on any of them. Another example of the poor leadership that we have at city hall.

Andy Whiteman said...

There have been projects that were NOT allowed to proceed "due to lact of staff resources." It has nothing to do with lack of an Alderman following up. IE. Greg's curbside recycling.

I know Jim put a lot of work into research for the smoking ban. I, too, am wondering what happened. It could overlap to parked, idleing trucks as well. I have notified Jim that I will now support the smoking ban since I have read evidence in the Red Star that people who aren't around smokers have fewer deaths from heart problems.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The former HyVee on 67th had a barrel for recycling plastic bags, etc. The other day I passed it and it was overflowing onto the sidwalk. Is there any chance the Recycling Center can have a place for these, or if there one already and I am missing it?

Anonymous said...

The city ROW needs the grass cut in a bad way. I was diving on west rigde today and the park area look worst way. Who job is to cut the grass. I have seen city workers cut it before. And would like to know why they are not cutting the grass?

Andy Whiteman said...

I remember at a BOA meeting that a contract was accepted for mowing. I believe the company is in Lawrence. Maybe if someone calles the Parks Dept., they can notify the contractor.

Andy Whiteman