Sunday, April 14, 2013

40,000 Square Foot Store in Downtown Raytown – Bad Idea BY GREG WALTERS
Much has been said, written and discussed about the plans for a new Walmart Grocery Story planned for Downtown Raytown.

It is important to remember that the plans are only that – plans. They are not etched in stone, and most certainly have yet to be discussed by the Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission or the voted on by the Raytown Board of Aldermen.

Opposition to the suggestion of a 40,000 square foot building, with an even larger parking lot dominating the geography of Downtown Raytown appears to be growing.

Consider the following:
  • Local business owner, Elisa Breitenbach, has been quietly gathering petitions against the planned development. Her count is not final. But it will be impressive. She has a stack of paper over two inches tall with signatures opposed to a Downtown Raytown  Walmart Grocery Store. That does not include what she has gathered through Facebook! Those interested in signing the petition can do so at Mrs. Breitenbach's donut shop,  Doughboys, in the Woodson Shopping Center, located at 63rd and Woodson Road.
  • Last week’s election saw landslide victories by three first time candidates for the Raytown Board of Aldermen. Jason Greene in Ward 2, Janet Emerson in Ward 3, and Josh Greene in Ward 1 all had distinctively different campaigns accept in one respect – none of them campaigned in favor of Downtown Walmart Store. The boundaries of those three wards all meet at the proposed Walmart Store location (the Green Space)
  • Imagine a 40,000 square foot building in Downtown Raytown, complete with an even larger parking lot – vacant. Raytowners are well aware from recent events of the uncertain future of businesses run by corporate America. Sav-A-Lot was closed down last summer. The store remains vacant. The YMCA was officially closed last week. In both cases, the operations were shut down because financial targets were not reached.
  • The Downtown Raytown Main Street Association, a group that supports the developer design standards for Downtown Raytown already adopted by the city, is said to be preparing a public statement in opposition to the plans for a 40,000 square foot store. The reason, the planned development does not meet design standards set by the group.
  • Serious questions are being raised by homeowners in the Downtown area and in those neighborhoods that will bear the brunt of increased traffic of a 24 hour grocery store in Downtown Raytown.
  • Crime stats from the Raytown Police Department show that the Walmart located on 350 Highway has the dubious distinction of being the city’s highest crime spot. Fears that those same statistics will be repeated in the Downtown area have put many people on edge. 
  • Community leaders have begun to step forward in opposition to a 40,000 square foot building in Downtown Raytown. Most notable have been former Mayor Sue Frank and Mr. Steve Guenther, President of the Raytown Main Street Association. Both of who recently appeared on a newscast by KSHB-TV 41.  
             To view the entire newscast use this link: VIEW NEWSCAST VIDEO
  • The most telling weakness of the application is the lack of public support of the planned development. Many City Council Members plead ignorance to knowledge of what is being proposed. There has yet to be one public speaker in support of the development at any Board of Aldermen meetings. Yet those in opposition have been anything but quiet in their opposition to the plan – packing public meetings and speaking out against the plans.

So there you have it. 

The reasons in opposition to the planned development are many. Those in support are very few. In the weeks ahead the City will hold public hearings at Planning and Zoning Commission and Raytown City Council meetings.

The meetings are open to the public and the public is invited to address the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Aldermen.

The Scheduled meeting times are as follows:

PLANNING AND ZONING: (one meeting)
Thursday, April 25, 2013 at Raytown City Hall. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will make recommendations to the Board of Aldermen. The Board of Aldermen is not bound by those recommendations.

BOARD OF ALDERMEN: (two meetings)
Tuesday, May 7, 2013, Raytown City Hall. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Raytown City Hall. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

Mayor Makes Changes to BZA
In a surprising move Mayor David Bower made some abrupt changes to the makeup of the Raytown Board of Zoning Adjustment.

In a letter to Steve Guenther, President of the Raytown Main Street Association, Bower informed Guenther that he would not re-nominate him to the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

Mr. Guenther has served on the BZA for over ten years.

Some political watchers of Raytown City Hall claim that Bower made the move in retaliation to Guenther’s opposition to the plans for a 40,000 square foot Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown.

Guenther is a licensed architect and President of the Raytown Main Street Association.

The Raytown Main Street Association has been recognized by the National Historic Trust for its work in revitalizing Downtown.

Guenther said he had “no comment” on the Mayor’s letter. He did say that he had called the Mayor but had yet to receive a return phone call on the matter.

On the issue of design standards, Mr. Guenther said the Main Street Association, had “fought hard” in support of a workable plan for a pedestrian friendly Downtown. He went on to say that he could not support changes to those plans that would “lower the standards” for Downtown Raytown.

Former Mayor Sue Frank is Downtown Raytown Business owner. A member of the Downtown Raytown Main Street Association, and a personal friend of Steve Guenther. She had the following to say about Mr. Guenther's removal from the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
"Steve Guenther has been a very qualified and dedicated citizen volunteer, missing one meeting in 10 years. The mayor simply sending Mr. Guenther a letter terminating his position is cowardly. This exemplifies the mayors pattern of not tolerating any opinion other than his own. A citizen review board is for various ideas to be vetted for the benefit of the community as a whole. It's sad the animosity has reached this level, Raytown will suffer the loss.
Bower Nominates Defeated Alderman for the BZA
In an equally surprising move Mayor Bower has nominated recently defeated Ward 3 Alderman Christine White for a spot on the Raytown Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).

White ran third in a four way race in her attempt at re-election. The winner of the race in Ward 3, Janet Emerson, won the contest with 219 votes. White had 48 votes.

The Mayor nominates the candidate for the Board. However, a majority of the Board of Aldermen (at least six of ten votes) must approve the nomination in a public vote for the appointment to take place.

The vote on the Mrs. White’s nomination is scheduled on the April 16th Agenda of the Raytown Board of Aldermen. It will be one of the first items the new Board will address.

New Board to Take Office on Tuesday, April 16
New members to the Raytown Board of Aldermen will take their Oath of Office next Tuesday (April 16th) at the regular Raytown Board of Aldermen meeting. A reception will follow immediately after the swearing in.

The public is invited to attend.

The Paul Livius Report BY PAUL LIVIUS
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – April 9, 2013

Mayor Bower proclaimed April 8-13, 2013 Public Safety Telecommunicator week.

Blake Shepherd and Jason Porter told the Board that on April 19, Relay for Life, a part of the American Cancer Society, will have a dinner and program for cancer care-givers and survivors.  It will be at Raytown High School, starting at 6:00pm For more information, visit  

Jacob Porter told the Board he was speaking on behalf of a friend who was involved in a motorcycle accident at Gregory and 350 Highway on March 29.  It occurred when someone trying to enter Walgreen’s pulled in front of the motorcycle.  Mr. Porter did some research and found the Missouri Engineering policy chapter 940.15.  That stretch of Gregory Blvd does not comply with state regulations, and he asked the Board to fix the problem before someone else got hurt.

Andy Noll told the Board about the upcoming changes to Raytown Clean-up.  He said the purpose of the community cleanup day event is to provide the residents of Raytown an option to dispose of unwanted items and debris.  Staff has proposed changes to make the event more targeted, productive, and efficient.

Currently, the current one day event has problems, including the fact it is only a one day event lasting 7 hours, the traffic congestion along Raytown Road has been a problem for several years, the cost of overtime expenses for staff, the potential for injuries, and utilization by non-Raytown residents.

The staff proposes to change from a one-day event to a coupon system.  The coupon system would provide a $25 coupon valid at participating vendors.  The coupon would
cost Raytown residents $5 and they would be limited to 2 coupons per 2 year period.

Benefits from the changes will include 305 days available for disposal, • 2448 hours available for disposal, more days available for community groups to organize and
participate, lower cost per participating resident, ability to serve more residents, more avenues for code enforcement department to be proactive in solving issues, and less non-resident utilization.

For more information about these changes, and the proposed rules, please visit the City’s website at

The Board heard a resolution amending the schedule of fees and charges for the City of Raytown, The complete schedule of fees can be found at  Alderman Van Buskirk said there are some huge increases ranging from 38% to 63%.  Others are 500%, such as getting a copy of the Jackson County paid property tax receipt (current cost is $1.00, proposed cost is $5.00) Mahesh Sharma said the proposed fee schedule is an effort to recoup the actual costs.  Several Aldermen said the rate increases for Emergency Medical services were excessively high, especially for residents.  Mr. Pardue said it wasn’t prudent to look at the fee schedule line by line.  The Board should just approve the schedule because the staff knew what they were doing.  It didn’t make sense to quibble about whether a copy costs $1 or $5.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance granting a conditional use to operate a Pawn shop at 8834 East Highway 350.  Jon Michael Tyson on behalf of the property owner Marilyn Kay Green is seeking approval of a conditional use permit application.  The planning and Zoning Commission recommended issuing a permit for this business.  The Commission said there is an existing retail business on the same property.  The nature of a pawn shop business is to purchase or provide loans for material items that individuals bring in, which could involve the stolen items.  Therefore, it is the recommendation of staff that if approved, the conditional use permit be approved subject to the business maintaining and providing to the City of Raytown Police Department on Tuesday of every week, a legible and correct copy of the register of all property received, deposited, or purchased during the previous week.  In addition, the register shall be kept for a minimum period of two years and shall be open to inspection by the Raytown Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement authorities upon their request. Some pawn shop businesses also wish to operate financial loan services without material.  The Board was told the owner of the pawn shop will not trade in guns and will not make payday or title loans.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance granting a conditional use permit to operate a Tattoo business on property located at 8910 East 63rd.  Kimberly & Edward Steffan on behalf of the property owner Neal Clevenger are seeking approval of a conditional use permit application.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance amending the city code relating to the licensing of dogs, cats, ferrets, and pot-bellied pigs.  In order to obtain a pet license the pet owner must provide to the Development & Public Affairs Department a copy of rabbi’s (sic) certificate for the applicable pet being licensed.  When the current code language was adopted a rabbi’s (sic) vaccination was good for one year.  However, due to advances in science, rabbi’s (sic) vaccinations can now last for more than one year.  Therefore staff is proposing Section 4-43(d) of the city code be amended to allow a pet license to be valid for the length of the rabbi’s (sic) vaccination, which could at this time could be up to three years.

Paul's Rants! BY PAUL LIVIUS 

The Board heard the first reading to change the ordinance pertaining to pet licenses.  This is a good idea, but I feel the need to point out to the Board that my dog had his rabies shots, not rabbis shot.  For those on the Board who don’t know the difference, one is a medical vaccination and one is a man.   I have to ask myself, if Mr. Sharma doesn’t know the difference, why in the world did the Board give him a $30,000 pay raise?  My eight-year-old niece knows the difference, for crying out loud!

Second, Mr. Pardue basically told the rest of his Board members to shut up and vote for whatever the staff wants.  Don’t think for themselves, don’t ask questions, or try to understand what the staff is trying to accomplish.  And for heaven’s sake, don’t even think about what is best for the residents.  This arrogance has been evident from the beginning and was a big reason the residents in Ward 1 heaved a huge sigh of relief when he decided not to run.  Next week, he will be gone, and he will soon be forgotten.  Goodbye and good riddance!

Paul's Rants! (PART TWO)
We check local news sources constantly for items of interest to Raytowners. Those sources include area television stations, radio stations and newspapers – plus the tips we receive from readers.

W even check the Raytown Times once a week.

Last week we were surprised to see that the recent city election results did not even make the front page. It was as if the owner of the paper, Randy Battagler, was saying, “Oh, was there an election?”

Yes, Randy there was an election. And the results were pretty earth shattering by Raytown standards. Three incumbent Aldermen will not be returning this year. Certainly that rates at least as much coverage as the Raytown Arts Festival!

We also noticed in the weeks coming up to the election that you were not shy about taking candidate’s money for advertising.

We realize that your paper has become the mouth piece of Raytown City Hall. But you should still cover newsworthy items even when you do not like the results.

In our view, a local election held every two years rates as “newsworthy”.

21 Meditations to Make You Love Yo’Self!FIT BOTTOMED GIRLS
21 Meditations to Let You Love Yourself! BY TISH
Why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?! Why is it so hard to wake up in the morning and give a little Jessica-like loving? I don’t know the answer to this quite yet. I do know we choose people who love us the way we think we deserve to be treated…so maybe that translates to self love as well. I’m the queen bee of... Continue reading

To post and view comments use this link comments


Andy Whiteman said...

I predict that a Walmart Grocery, if approved, will be a dismal failure in more ways than one. Again I ask, How much is under the table? Raytown has many locations that would be ideal for this type of business.

Why the Green Space? The US Government financed the demolition of the old Baptist Church for the green space. I consider it fraud to ask for money for a green space and then sell the property for a business. Legally it is a GREEN SPACE! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. So far the BOA and Mayor has been fooled once. Are they gullible enough for a 2nd time? Again I ask how much is under the table?
Rabies and rabbis is obviously a typo. Mr. Sharma is from another country and received his degree in yet another Asian country. Though he speaks English quite well, be can't be expected to recognize spelling errors that aren't really obvious. But I do expect him to know he works in Raytown and should live in Raytown. Could I be hired as a department head and conduct business from 600 miles away?

As for clean up day: Being disabled and not functioning day hours I was denied use for this activity though a kind person did limb puck up for me. Where I live now, I may call the city's garbage contractor and schedule a pick up that is available every 2 weeks. I sent my items on my driveway near the street the night before. It seems to me that Raytown Public Works could do likewise maybe by picking up a different part of the city each month.

Mrs White? Will she attend a meeting? Why would she bother? She never spoke loud enough for me to hear her unless she was angry. That woman can't be heard!

Andy Whiteman

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Good Morning Raytown! DOUGHBOYS needs your help to get the word out about the Downtown Wal-Mart. We need callers & walkers to get the truth out to our city before the officials vote on it. We must pack the April 25 meeting at 7:00 P.M. We can only do this with everyones help. We can do this I know we can!

Pat Casady said...

Of course Mayor Bower dismissed Mr. Guenther!
Mr. Gunther was not a yes man for the Bower
machine. Christine White on the other hand is
and apparently will be a huge plus for Mayor
Bower. Remember she was voted out because she
was in Bower's hip pocket and did what he told
her to do.
I think we the people are lucky the mayor
can't fire elected officials. As it is, I'm sure
our mayor wishes only he, ran this city. This is
too bad. I thought six years ago he would make
a good mayor. I guess I was wrong.

Greg Walters said...

Just heard through the grapevine that GE is pulling out of Raytown. GE is located at 63rd Street and Blue Ridge. It is on the corner of the city's main "gateway" entrance.

The company preceeding GE received a large number of special tax abatements for participating in the redevelopment of the 63rd and Blue Ridge intersection.

When GE bought the business, they inherited the tax abatements, write-offs, etc.

About six years ago many of those abatements expired. The City extended some of them.

Watch the Raytown Report for the rest of the story as information becomes available.

Anonymous said...

We must all urge our aldermen to vote AGAINST Ms. White for a position on the BZA. She was VOTED OUT for a reason. Apparently the people have NO CONFIDENCE in her ability. By Bower appointing her and the Board confirming her, it is a slap in the face to all Raytown voters. This is politics at it's very worst, so board members restore some faith in you city government by voting NO on her appointment.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

To everyone who can make the Board of Aldermen meeting tonight you will not be sorry. All of us that can make it will get a true education on why the Wal-Mart Big Box Store should not go into our downtown location. Wal-Mart said they will not comply with the established design and overlay standards that Raytown has. They want to have their own special "Little District" for their Big Box Store. Our community has established the design and overlay standards for the "GOOD" of our community. Our community also voted Ms White out for the "Good" of our community. This is how politics work. We the people work hard for a good community. Sometimes it takes more work. This is one of those times. Please try and make the meeting tonight. Also think about making a copy of all of this to give to your friends. It's our job to get the word out when the Raytown paper don't want to print the truth. The next few weeks we must all try and work together on this. Please & Thank You.

Anonymous said...

It's time for our elected officials to do
their jobs and represent the people. Even if
they have to go against their "leader and boss"
the mayor. If most of the people don't want it...
don't do it!

Anonymous said...

Who says there is no transparency in Mayor
Bowers administration. It's as plain as the
nose on your face! Mr. Steve Guenther goes
on TV and opposes the new Wal-Mart grocery
store and almost the day the Mayor sends him
letter telling him he would no longer be needed
on the Board of Zoning Adjustments.
I should add Mr. Guenther has been on that board
for over ten years.
So yes this administration is as clear as water.
Go against the mayor and you will pay for it.
Problem is if we go along with the mayor we all
pay for it.
It is apparent the only way to get along with
this mayor is be Christine White and or plant your
lips firmly................

Anonymous said...

Last night's meeting was interesting. The Mayor tried to push through Christine White's appointment to the Board of Zoning Adjustment. But eight of the ten on the Board voted to hold the vote on the appointment over until the next meeting.

The two voting against the hold over were Pat Ertz and Charlotte Melson.

Guess they didn't see the election returns.

There is a reason Christine White only received 44 votes for re-election.

People are really sick of the business as usual tactics at city hall.

That's why over 80% of the voters in Ward 3 chose NOT to vote for Christine White.

How is that Ertz and Melson cannot see the desire to change by the voting public?

Don't know.

But it is clear from last night's vote that most of the Board of Aldermen get it.

Anonymous said...

Ertz and Melson are of the old administration.
Melson has been there for far too long. She is
one of the biggest "yes" people on the board.
I hope they are voted out next time and we can get
a few more in that will do what the people want.
Not what the boss wants.
Raytowners, take back our town!
Bt the way Christine White along with Melson
were two aldermen that voted for the 350hwy
Wal-Mart. Now you can see why the mayor and
Melson want White on the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
They want a new Wal-Mart grocery store.
This too is clear, transparency anyone?
Your water may be dirty but we can still see through
it Mr. Mayor!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is WOW what a meeting. The mayor didn't know what hit him. It seems to me like the board is tired of being pushed around. I was glad to see the alderman voted aganist the raise fees for the EMS, the pawn shop and the tattoo parlor. Even they all passed there were some real concerns and they stated them. Keep it BOA do ypour job. I bet it felt good know the mayor didn't get his way. The next business of order don't put Chris White on the PZA Board. It's time for new blood. The mayor wanted her voted on last night when that paticular board isn't even operating with a full board. In his great farewell to Mrs. White the mayor admitted that when he needed something passed or proposed he called Mrs. White no wonder he wants her on thhis board. Now think do you think the people of yopur ward want this woman on this board???

Anonymous said...

Looked like Alderman Melson ate a lemon last night. Could it be that she was promised Mayor Pro tem last year by the mayor. But the BOA had differant plans as to who they should appoint. Well it is not the mayor jobs to make promises ike this it is up to the BOA to appoint who they want as mayor pro ten. Want yto make a bet that Mrs. Melson will now become mayors water girl!!! She acts like she is the only one who is capable to be mayor pro tem. In my opinion she is a very self serving person. Mayor Bower here are a few names you should consider for some of the boards. Richard Tush, Fred Hartwell, and I know there are many others. All the mayor has to do is think, think!!!

Andy Whiteman said...

At the time Sue Frank was leaving office and David Bower was taking over the office, I had a zoning issue with my fence. Before construction, I called City Hall and was told it would meet code. I appealed to Both Sue Frank and David Bower It became Bower's issue because he was mayor after all of the appeal steps. Mayor Bower told me that he doesn't get involved in code issues.

Apparently things have changed since it is written in the Raytown Report that Bower is involved in P&Z issues.

I feel the city owes me the cost of altering my fence which Bower denied payment.

What good is Christine White on any commission or board? No one can hear a word she says unless they provoke her into being angry at which time she will speak loud enough to be heard.

Raytown has nonresident department heads. Change the code to allow non resident relected officials and I will run for mayor. Raytown deserves better.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I think it is funny that when Sue Frank
was mayor and Curt Wenson was City Administrator
the best they could come up with for the green
space was a grocery store. Now when a grocery
store wants to go in the ex-mayor wants none
of it.

PJS said...

Andy Whiteman, you ask “how much is under the table?” With possibly
the exception of disclosure, nothing has been done under the table. They have offered $150,000 more than the appraised value and/or asking price and have attached special treatment requirements. It’s a clever way of greasing the wheels in order to get the outcome you desire.

Anonymous said...

How dare the mayor to question alderman why they didn't object to two of the items on the adjenda but, did object to Chris White. It is none of his business why. They had concerns that is al he needs to know. He did the same thing to Alderman Mock. Pround as punch of you guys standing by your convictions. Now just vote her out!!!! As for Alderman Melson she is just a female version of Mayor Bower if I don't get my way I will pick up my marbels and go home. She is the next one to go!!!!

Elisa Breitenbach said...

To anyone who truly cares about Raytown please try and check out on YouTube "The High Cost of Low Price" It's a documentary that uncovers the retail giants assault on families and our American Values. WalMart is distorying America and it's up to all of us to save Raytown from this fate. Please drop by DOUGHBOYS and sign your name to stand up for Raytown. Free coffee to anyone who drops by and takes the time to look at the landslide of paper we have on the WalMart deal. Thank You & May God Speed For Raytown!

Andy Whiteman said...

PJS, Under the table funds are never disclosed because they are under the table to an individual as compensation for a vote, endorsment, or other favor. Likewise, these funds are not reported on income taxes.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

We really need to open the eyes of our community. So many people don't seem to realize this is not a done deal. Spread the word. Thanks to those who are working so hard to save our green space and community. We do not need another Walmart. If they must have a new grocery store move into an empty space. Why does Walmart get to set the rules for OUR community. Why in the world would the mayor who works for the people of Raytown get rid of people who support the will of the people and replace that individual with someone voted out of service. Let's keep fighting to keep our community beautiful, green space, not Walmart space.