Sunday, April 28, 2013

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Planning and  Zoning Commission Rejects Walmart Application  

The Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission, in a five to four vote, has recommended to deny the application of a Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown.

The Planning and Zoning Commission held two meetings and heard over eight hours of testimony bef0re making their decision. Both meetings were held before Council Chambers filled with private citizens.

Their recommendation will now be forwarded to the Raytown Board of Aldermen for consideration.

The Board of Aldermen will hold two public meetings before casting their final vote on the application. The meetings are open to the public and the public is invited to attend and will be given an opportunity to speak.

The Walmart application now goes to the Board of of Aldermen. Two meetings are scheduled:
  • TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013 - RAYTOWN CITY HALL - 7:00 PM
  • TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2013, RAYTOWN CITY HALL - 7:00 PM
The meetings are open to the public. Public testimony from private citizens is encouraged.

The final vote on the denial of the Downtown Walmart Grocery Store by the Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission was as follows:

Dee Ann Stock
Darryl Fields
Kevin Wilson
Michael Lightfoot

Dwight Robinson
Sandy Hartwell
Tommy Bettis
Mary Phil Dwight
David Jimenez   

Elisa Breitenbach with sign.
Doughboys Donut Shop is located next door to Ginger’s Restaurant in the Woodson Shopping Center at 63rd and Woodson Road. Mayor David Bower is known to frequent Ginger’s for breakfast. Elisa Breitenbach and her husband own Doughboys Donut Shop.

So it is no surprise that the two would bump into each other eventually.

The two are not strangers to each other. They have met in the past to discuss their different views on the best course for Downtown Raytown.

Mayor Bower is known to be pro Walmart and a prime mover behind the efforts to bring a Walmart Grocery Store to Downtown Raytown.

Mrs. Breitenbach believes strongly in a mix used plan endorsed by the Downtown Raytown Main Street Association.

Here is what went down.

Bower was leaving the Ginger’s after breakfast. Mrs. Breitenbach approached Mayor Bower to show her the sign on the left. The sign was created by Steve Mullally of Rolland Studios, a small business owner who opposes a Walmart Store in Downtown Raytown

According to witnesses, the Mayor left his truck and confronted Mrs. Breitenbach. The encounter quickly escalated, causing patrons of Doughboys to become concerned.

Want to learn more? We suggest you call or stop by City Hall to hear the Mayor's side of the story at 737-6000 to hear his side of the story.

Or, you can stop by Doughboys and visit with with Mrs. Breitenbach at her Donut Shop to hear her version of events or call her at 358-0840.

Making a Difference

We often hear the comment that it does not matter what we do, powers outside of our control dictate the final decision. The following story illustrates the flaw in that thinking. We hope your enjoy it.

Starfish Story
A wise man was walking along the shore one day when he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself as he didn't think anybody would dance on the beach at this time of the day. Hence, he began to walk faster to try and catch up with the person.

As he got closer, he saw that the person was a young man and he wasn't dancing. Instead, he was reaching down to pick up something on the beach every now and then before throwing it into the ocean very gently.

When the wise man got closer, he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"

The young man looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going down. If I don't throw them in they'll die."

"There are miles and miles of beach and there are starfishes all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves.

He said, "It made a difference for that one."

Planning and Zoning Commission is Scheduled to meet Thursday Night at Raytown City Hall at 7:00.
Five Hour Planning and Zoning Meeting = No Decision BY PAUL LIVIUS

Eight members of the Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission heard five hours of testimony on the fate of proposed Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown last Thursday.

At the end of the meeting one motion had been made to deny the application. That motion failed by a four to four vote.

Discussion by Board members then focused on objections voiced the Commission members and topics brought up by members of the audience during public discussion portion of the meeting. 

In its motion to carry the item over until February 2nd the Commission included three stipulations for Walmart representatives to take back to Bentonville (Walmart's world headquarters) for an answer.
Those stipulations are:
  • 24 hour operation would not be allowed
  • Design plans for three ten foot monument signs must be scaled back to meet city regulations (about half the size of those suggested by Walmart)
  • A planned parking area on 63rd Street that would replace approximately one-third of the street with a parking lot would be scrapped
The Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to make its final decision at the Thursday, May 2nd meeting. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and is open to the public.

Stand Out Moments of the Meeting
Zoning meetings can be boring events with lengthy testimony from architects, attorneys, and city planners that seem to over-state the plans of a project.

The Public spoke . . . the Commission listened. Last Thursday night’s meeting was different. Comments from 18 private speakers proved to be informative and helpful. In fact, two of the stipulations arrived at by the Planning and Zoning Commission for Walmart to consider were brought forward from the public.

Two individuals on the Commission stood out in their performance. 

Commissioner Sandy Hartwell deserves recognition for correcting the city’s attorney, George Kapke, on some disparaging remarks he made toward the role of the public in the hearing. As Mrs. Hartwell said, “if we are not to take into consideration what they public says, than why are we listening to them testify?” 

Mr. Kapke apologized for his remarks.

Well done, Sandy!

Chairman Kevin Wilson did a fair and competent job in his handling of the meeting. Toward the end he deftly stopped an attempt by the law department to fast track the legislation through the process. City Counselor George Kapke had suggested that the Commission not meet again if the Walmart agreed to some vaguely worded stipulations.

Mr. Wilson held his position that there would be another meeting scheduled for May 2nd. The commission followed his lead and unanimously adjourned the meeting until next Thursday.

To learn more details about the proposed Walmart Store in Downtown Raytown use this link Downtown Raytown

Where Your Elected Officials Stand on Walmart
Seldom has there been an issue that has galvanized the Raytown population as firmly as has the proposed Walmart Store for Downtown Raytown. The decision makers who will have the final word on whether or not a Walmart Store will be built in Downtown Raytown is the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

Unless there is a tie, the Mayor does not have a vote on the matter.
On the other hand, the ten member of the Raytown Board of Aldermen will have the final say when they vote on whether or not to accept the plans proposed by Walmart.
A majority of those ten men and women (six votes are required for passage) will make that decision in about three weeks.

We broke down where it is popularly believed each of the ten members of the Board stand on this important issue. It is important to note that this is a “snapshot” of the current situation. Elected officials, like all of us, have been known to change their minds. 

The telephone number and email addresses are from the city’s website and believed to be accurate. The three newly elected city officials have yet to be assigned email addresses by the city. 

Mayor David Bower. . . . . 737-6000          
Alderman Pat Ertz (Ward 4) . . . . 356-8233

Alderman Jason Greene (Ward 2) . . . . 255-8407
Alderman Janet Emerson (Ward 3) . . . .737-5050

Alderman Bill VanBuskirk (Ward 4) . . . . 737-2799*
Alderman Josh Green (Ward 1) . . . . 260-6325
Alderman Charlotte Melson (Ward 3) . . . . 356-6244 
Alderman Jim Aziere (Ward 2) . . . . 358-8375     
Alderman Steve Mock (Ward 5) . . . . 225-3217   
Alderman Michael Lightfoot (Ward 5) . . . . 686-8213
Alderman Joe Creamer (Ward 1) . . . . 517-4773

*Alderman VanBuskirk requested that his name be removed from the "Supporting Walmart" column a placed on the "Position Unknown" column.

Been There, Done That . . . a true story BY GREG WALTERS

Visiting with a member of Raytown’s Planning and Zoning Commission last week I heard that city staff, particularly the city attorney’s department has been leaning heavily on the P and Z members about the “how” they can cast their votes next Thursday on the proposed Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown.

City officials have told members they cannot consider certain items in their decision. 
It reminded me of a similar situation a couple of years back about a zoning issue before the BOA.

The issue had to do with housing in an upscale neighborhood. There was a property that had about four acres of land attached to it. The new owner wanted to put in low end housing in the subdivision. The subdivision was (and is) one of Raytown’s nicest. So naturally, people who owned homes valued at $200,000 were not to excited about the developers plans to put in $70,000 homes next door.

The issue went before the Board. Meetings were held. Board members were told they had no recourse, they had to approve the zoning request.

A majority of the Board dug their heals in and said, “no” we are not changing our votes.

Just prior to the night of the meeting, the Board was called together for a meeting to discuss the issue.

The City Attorney told members that over the past few weeks they had been told that they had to approve the item before them.

The majority of the board would not budge. Therefore, said the attorney, we will now give you reasons why your position is the correct position.

Was the attorney wrong for not explaining the option opposite of what had been advised for weeks prior to the Board’s final vote? There were no lies told – but there were facts not shared back to the Board of Aldermen.

That is called lying by omission.

Incidentally, the Board of Aldermen rejected the proposal that evening. The long time residents of the neighborhoood won their battle with city hall. It is important to note that they won because their citizen representatives on the Board of Aldermen chose to stand with them.

There is a lesson to be learned from the story as it relates to the Downtown Walmart proposal.

At the end of the day, the final decision rests with the Commission. The city attorney can offer advice. That advice can be rejected. In the Walmart case, it is the city attorney’s job to help craft the Commission’s final decision.

If he or she goes beyond that duty, they are doing a disservice to the Commission. 


  • Most readers are aware that Walmart had originally wanted to build a gas station along with the grocery store in Downtown Raytown. That plan was rejected. Instead the retail giant suggested building a parking lot for its associates (the name Walmart calls its employees) to park. Guess what, it is in the same exact place as the rejected gasoline station! Does anyone reading this page believe that the folks in Bentonville, Arkansas are really interested in how close their "associates" park to the store? Or, could it be that they are keeping the space undeveloped so that they can come back later and request again for a parking lot.
  • The vacant Sav-A-Lot Store came up as an alternative site for the Walmart Store. It would still be Downtown, but not in the target area for the planned development. Walmart's realtor said they looked into it but, at 20,000 sq. ft. he said it was too small an area . . . the needed 40,000 sq. Made sense until politial activist Janette Gentry pointed out that Sav-A-Lot  used only  "half" of the space avaialable to it. The entire store area (formerly Blanton's) had 40,000 sq. ft. The Walmart realtor did not reply to Ms. Gentry's comments.

We Needed This Book When We Were Younger  . . .  and How You Can Win It! BY JENN 

Being a teen can be tough. Heck, being an adult woman can be hard sometimes, especially when it comes to all the crazy pants (and crazy wrong!) messages we get about how we need to look like this and weigh that to be beautiful or even worthy. So when we had the opportunity to work on a project for teen girls—one that allowed us… Continue reading

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Andy Whiteman said...

April 27, 2013 at 10:26 PM, You are correct, but it has become common practice for mayoral nominations to be rushed through and hidden on the consent ageenda as "routine business." Perhaps because of this the Lord Mayor expects compliance from the BOA. As I have said in my comments to the BOA, nothing is routine and each item should be addressed separtely and publically. I am glad this nomination was removed from the Consent Agenda.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

After reading Sunday's post, I again ask how much is under the table and to whom?

If the City Attorney thinks the people thinks the sheeople have no right to speak or he doesn't like their opinions, he should be removed as City Attorney. He is opening himself and the city for a Constitutional violation lawsuit.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

What kind of aldermen are Ertz and VanBuskirk? Caving in to the rich and powerful. All these two are going to do is put other grocery stores in Raytown out of business. Listen to the PEOPLE, they don't want it. You guys are a POOR excuse for an elected official. So sad for Raytown.

Pat Casady said...

I find it hard to believe that VanBuskirk
and Ertz would side against the people of
Raytown and on the side of Wal-Mart,
considering how much W-M has cost the taxpayers
of Raytown. I'm sure if the people knew where
VanBuskirk stood on the matter he would not
have won his seat back.
As for the aldermen on the fence. Please do
as the people want and say good by to W-M.
There must be better options that can be
looked for. Let Wal-Mart rule the rest of the
country! Show some backbone and say NO!
You may get bullied but stand up for the
people for once.
To the zoning board. Don't you be bullied either.
In your heart you all know this big of a store
would ruin this downtown area. Tell W-M they can
have the Center 63 area. The streets can handle
the traffic and the big delivery trucks.

Anonymous said...

Did Mayor Bower change his number as I believe his number is 353-4915.

Andy Whiteman said...

I was shocked and wondered if the statement about Ertz and VanBuskirk was correct. Both should confirm or deny and provide an explanation.

Andy Whiteman

Salamander said...

The problem of Wal-Mart vs. The City of Raytown should be easy to settle.

It is obvious Wal-Mart takes a "Let 'em eat cake" position when it comes to adhering to structure design and city regulations in general.

If the mayor and council do not back up their commissions the only people who will serve, eventually, on such bodies will be spineless syncopaths who have no courage of their convictions.

The city has moral obligation to stand behind its planning and other commissions.

It appears Wal-Mart has the money to shove their demands down the town's collective throat.

Raytown has "Right" in its corner.

If we had a mayor with any backbone he would tell Wal-Mart to become a team player; play with the rules or they could pack it in and hit the road.

After we read about the evil of bullying--how if we stand idly by and watch this type of behavior we are no better than the bullies themselves.

The Wal-Mart down town store is a classic study of what is often referred to as "business bullying."

Our mayor and council have an obligation to not just stand by and watch Wal-Mart impose their wishes on the people of Raytown. They should stand up and refuse to cow down to the behavior of these people.

Anonymous said...

Heard today that the planned district Walmart is hoping to move into has an automatic 353 tax abatement. That means that the property owner does not have to pay property taxes like the rest of us do.

So typical. It is how the rich get richer in this country.

This whole Walmart deal is beginnnig to look worse and worse for Raytown.

Correction!!! said...

The whole downtown and then some blocks around it are in a predefined 353 tax abatement area.

However, this doesn't mean the business automatically approved for the 353 tax abatement.

I would recommend that in the future things are carefully read, but also that the city needs to clearly explain things before putting them into writing.

Just think maybe this is the justification for the additional expense we are all financially supporting with our tax dollars for the salary of the public relationship person.

Greg Walters said...

Apparently, the link we had set up has been misdirecting some comments to another page on this blog.

The problem has been resolved.

Our apologies to anyone who sent in a comment that was not posted.

Andy Whiteman said...

8:24 AM, I have discovered over the years that some elected officials don't want to be bothered with phone calls; therefore, they list City Hall as their phone number.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...


If someone doesn't want to be bothered with phone calls will then shouldn't get into politics either as elected or appointed.

Anonymous said...

This is as clear as can be. Mayor Bower
and Christine White are working for Wal-Mart.
"Maybe" not on the payroll but, great supporters
of the big box. Bower fires Steve Guenther after
he made a comment on TV and the next day tries to
insert his cohort White into the zoning board.
The very administration that can make or break
the store deal. Something stinks in Raytown and
I believe it is coming from 10000 59th st!
Never before have so many people been against
a project like this one. Our so called elected
officials, as someone said, our representatives
are turning away from the citizens wishes and leaning
toward the big store.
A reminder to our elected people, the people trusted
you not to be lead but to be leaders and represent the
people's wishes. Grow a pair and stand with the people
and not the W-M lovers in office!

Anonymous said...

For those who are so very much against the WM market, what are your plans for the space that has sat empty since the city purchased it over a decade ago. Raytown either hasn't had the funds or the vision to do something with this space that currently adds to the abandoned look of the area around 63rd and Blue Ridge Blvd. Why not give WM a green light and enjoy the benefits of the tax money that will come in through retail.

Andy Whiteman said...

Elisa's sign is legal in a residential area. (Up to 5 square feet). The sign is appropriate due to the fact there is little or NO public notice of these meetings.

Was a police report filed?

10:33PM, I agree but while I lived in Raytown I have known several city officials who didn't want phone calls. It was very annoying tp be told by city hall that "xxxx doesn't talk to people. He/she has a business (job) and the office is part time."

Andy Whiteman

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Bower was leaving Gingers after breakfast. Breitenbach walked out to show the Mayor a large poster she was given. He asked her what it had to do with the Downtown Neighborhood Market Wal-Mart was trying to put in. Breitenbach said it had everything to do with the Wal-Mart store they are trying to put in. They will bring more crime to Raytown and when they run out of give a ways they will leave empty buildings. That is the history of Wal-Mart. Breitenbach told the Mayor many of us just found out that Wal-Mart would be able to get a 353 Tax Abatement. She told him she and others have no idea why the city officials want anymore Wal-Mart. The Mayor asked her who said I was for Wal-Mart? Breitenbach told him his actions are very clear who he supports. The Mayor then told Breitenbach she was a Bully. She went on to tell the Mayor he was the one that was acting like a Bully firing a volunteer who served Raytown for 10 years on the Planning & Zoning Board and then trying to have your friend put on it to help push Wal-Mart through. He then got out of his car pointed his finger at her and said how would you like it if I called Gingers and tell them you are harassing me leaving their establishment. Breitenbach said go ahead they will know the truth about us. With that said Bower got back in his truck and told Breitenbach to “Bring It On.”

Anonymous said...

Mr. Walters,

Would you please post how each of the Board of Planning and Zoning members voted?

I think it plays to who supports the citizens of Raytown and who continue to do as they are told by the mayor.

Greg Walters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Greg and Paul looks like you could start a new column on here called ask Greg and Paul.

Think about it with the number of years and experience Greg had on the Board of Alderman the insight he could provide on a lot of question around city hall and the lack of open interaction with the citizens.

Greg Walters said...

The final vote on the denial of the Downtown Walmart Grocery Store by the Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission was as follows:


Dee Ann Stock

Darryl Fields

Kevin Wilson

Michael Lightfoot


Dwight Robinson

Sandy Hartwell

Tommy Bettis

Mary Phil Dwight

David Jimenez

Andy Whiteman said...

Obviously something is wrong in Raytown. Why do elected officials of the Hood of Raytown want another Walmart after the another one has caused so much financial loss and crime? IF Walmart is allowed to open there should be NO TIF and a charge for each police response.

Has Walmart gone to any other jurisdiction and demanded approval of their design and business model which is non-compliant with zoning and the master plan for the area?

How much is under the table and to whom?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Talking about people who are on the fence . Mr. Pat Casady is one for sure. One day in favor, next day aganist. I don't even read your post anymore. Most of the time your post are nothing more than half truths.

Anonymous said...

I do not want to quibble, however the picture used for the empty buildings, I feel is a little misleading. It is at 40 Highway and Noland Road, and the main empty building is -- or was -- a Sam's Club. (In other words it is not in Raytown, but Kansas City). As for the Walmart being rejected, I am okay with that. If Walmart really wants to have a "downtown" grocery store, there are plenty of available sites in existing buildings that can be utilized.

Andy Whiteman said...

I think possibly Pat Casady has re-evaluated the situation and changed his mind. Everyone has the right to do that.

8:51PM, Agreed, there is the strip mall at 63rd And Raytown Tfwy. Also vacant lot(s) and blighted buildings on 63rd St. east of the Dry Cleaners and Spay/Neuter clinic. The 63rd St lots are a good size space. One is posted at 1.18 acres +/-, and add on the blighted buildings for more land. Ideal for Walmart but maybe not deep enough. The store could face E-W to provide better spacing.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

At least Pat signs his name. I think the criticism of his unfair.

Chris Rathbone said...

Anonymous 10:25,
Just because past Raytown leadership has not had the "funds or the vision to do something with this space", that does not mean we want to settle for the first opportunity that presents itself. It is obvious that the vocal majority of the citizens think we can do better than a WalMart in the green space. I agree with them. I have already suggested a farmers market for part of the space. It would not take much money to get set up and the city could charge a small fee to sell your produce to recoup the expense.

What extra tax money are you talking about by giving Walmart the green light? Another grocery store in Raytown isnt going to generate any more sales tax, it will only siphon from the other stores we already have. That leaves property tax. Oh wait, it appears that they are going to get out of paying that too.

I am not agaings WalMart in general. I just dont want to see a WalMart as the centerpiece to my downtown.

I also heard that Raytown is eligible for federal funds for a downtown streetscape, similar to what Lee's Summit has. I heard that if the Walmart goes in, we will no longer qualify. If this is true and the city leadership claims they want to get rid of the blight in downtown, why on earth would they say no to those funds to give downtown a facelift?

Anonymous said...

Chris, You need to get your facts correct. I believe the city already has the funds from the government. Wal Mart has nothing to do with getting the money. Prime example of the talk that is being spread around. Your a day late and a dollar short as most people are when it comes to the downtown and wal mart

Anonymous said...

Anonymous May 5, 2013 at 9:36

Your a day late and a dollar short pal, if the WalMart goes in at it's proposed location it will affect the streetscape project as designs, standards, and costs will be effected. The federal grant was to only 75% of the orginal estimated project, however as costs change and estimates go up for a variety of reasons, the more the city is on the hook. Regardless, people are not idiots and this design for a downtown WalMart is awful and not condusive to a pedistrian friendly downtown. The people are overwhelmingly against it. Take your pretense of knowledge somewhere else.

Chris Rathbone said...

Anonymous 9:36,
I did not state that as "fact". I said it was something that I had heard. I also said "if that is true" which should imply that I don't know if it is true or not. I had only heard the one side and appreciate it when someone else can fill me in on the rest of the story

You also did not claim your statement to be fact, just what you believe to be true

Is there anyone else on here that has more information on this?

Anonymous said...

Chris White on the conscent agdena again, Will the mayor ever learn???

Anonymous said...

Nobody's excited about the Google Fiber initiative? This would potentially make Raytown the second city in Missouri to get Google Fiber.

This is huge.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Today at DOUGHBOYS we gave out yard signs that read SAVE DOWNTOWN RAYTOWN NO WALMART. We have only 4or so left. We will be closed Mondays starting this Monday. We hope and pray for a large turn out this Tuesday for the BOA meeting at 7:00.