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JULY 16, 2013, DOWNTOWN RAYTOWN.COM:
Make your voice heard once again July 16!
According to Board of Alderman (BOA) meeting discussion on July 2, the aldermen who voted for Ordinance 5453-13 that creates a special Planned Zoning Overlay District for Walmart Neighbor Market (WNM) do NOT want to rescind the ordinance. Even though Wal-Mart has pulled its sales contract, these aldermen seem to think that rescinding this zoning district is “going backwards”.
Mayor Bower said Wal-Mart spent over $100,000 and sees no reason for another developer to recreate the design. But what about the more than $250,000 of taxpayer dollars that has already been spent on Planning, Zoning and Economic Development commission meetings, the huge volunteer effort that engaged about 300 people and the city staff expertise and labor that went into creating the Central Business Design Standard that everybody could agree on?
In his Raytown Times’ Letter to the Editor of June 26, Alderman Creamer’s comparative analysis of the Walmart Neighborhood Markets in Blue Springs, MO, and Overland Park, KS, fails completely because not one of those stores is located in the downtown of their respective city!
Alderman Ertz thinks it sends a bad message to developers if the city rescinds zoning.
Aldermen Van Buskirk and Mock claim the zoning district needs to remain if we hope to have any kind of anchor development and so a future developer will not have to start all over. Alderman Melson agrees with them all.
On the contrary, serious developers of a town square will not be interested in the Planned Zoning Overlay District created exclusively for WNM. For one, the huge parking lot is a big turn off. And developers will not make a huge investment on a property in a City where the zoning can be arbitrarily changed for the benefit of one private interest. Developers must be assured that their property will maintain its property values with a zoning district that remains in place to protect them from neighbors who don’t meet the zoning design standards.
We don’t understand why Mayor Bower traveled to Bentonville to plead with Wal-Mart to come back to Raytown. Our City should be issuing an RFP immediately to invite quality town square development. The last RFP was issued in March of 2010. No wonder the Green Space has been sitting undeveloped for years.
We have maintained from the very beginning that the Walmart Neighborhood site plan is bad urban planning because it does not make the full use of the land and, consequently, will never generate its full capacity of sales and property taxes to benefit all the tax jurisdictions. To put it bluntly, anybody who allows the development of a big box store in our downtown instead of high density development will be directly cheating our school district, police department, fire district, parks dept. and city for years to come.
To make matters worse, the impending lawsuit by former Mayor Sue Frank alleges that the BOA unlawfully gave its legislative power to a private interest by entering into a “contract zoning" agreement instead of ensuring the life, health and property values of the citizens of Raytown. It would seem to be in the best interest of the City for the BOA to rescind an unlawful and unconstitutional zoning overlay district.
SECOND READING FOR RESCINDING ORDINANCE 5453-13 IS JULY 16TH!
Observations BY GREG WALTERS
The dust has settled from the Downtown Raytown/Walmart Neighborhood Market debacle. Plans for a Walmart in Downtown Raytown have been effectively scrapped by the applicant.
Or have they?
The letter received at Raytown City Hall was very clear in its intentions to not pursue plans for a Neighborhood Market. Yet the Mayor and a majority of the Board of Aldermen have dug in their heels on rescinding the zoning application for the applicant. The reasons given at the last Board meeting were pretty flimsy.
After all, it is highly unlikely that another developer would come in with another development using another applicant's plans.
In light of the fact that former Mayor Sue Frank has brought legal action asking for a declaratory judgment from the Circuit Court ordering that the unused zoning application be rescinded – it would seem to save time and money simply to undo what has been done through the zoning process.
It certainly would save the City the time and cost of going to court.
For an elected body that frequently complains of not having enough money to run the City, it gives one pause to wonder.
The Board of Aldermen will have their final word on an ordinance sponsored by Ward 3 Alderman Janet Emerson this Tuesday. Emerson’s ordinance returns the zoning status to the Green Space before application for a Walmart Store was made last winter.
Petition Anyone?BY PAUL LIVIUS
Petition Anyone?BY PAUL LIVIUS
Word of a Formal Petition to ask the Missouri State Auditor to conduct an audit of the City of Raytown has surfaced on the Blog portion of the Raytown Report. The scuttlebutt is that the petitioners are unhappy with how the Public Safety Tax has been used. When presented to the voters for approval, the Mayor and City Council promised increased numbers of police officers if voters approved the tax.
So far, no official word has been received by the Raytown Report from the petitioners. When they are ready we will give them the space to tell their story. In fairness to the other side of the coin, we also offer space to those in opposition to a State Audit.
Greg and I had to chuckle when we read complaints from some anonymous writers about two regular contributors to the Raytown Report. The anonymous poster complained that people who do not live in Raytown should not be involved in the discussions of how the city was run.
We figure they were referring to Pat Casady and Elisa Breitenbach. Both are Raytown business owners who frequently post on this page.
Why are we laughing?
Because Pat and Elisa both have a stake in the Raytown community. They make their livelihood here. They pay taxes here that benefit all of us. They are active in the community, frequently donating or taking an active part in local causes. They create job opportunities for other Raytowners.
That being said, we wonder if the anonymous author has the same feeling about our city department heads. None of them live in the community. The salary they earn here leaves the city at the rate of over $250,000 annually.
In short, the local business owner gives much more back to the community.
In the case of Pat Casady and Elisa Breitehbach, they also sign their blog entries.
Raytown Charter Election set for April 8, 2014
The Raytown Board of Aldermen has set the date for a special election for voters to consider the formation of a Raytown Charter Commission for April 8, 2014. At that same election voters will elect 13 members to serve on the Commission. A number of “alternate” commissioners will also be elected in case an elected commissioner is unable to finish the term of office.
Any registered voter living in Raytown is eligible to run for the Charter Commission. Filing for the status of a candidate is done by petition. Petition forms can be obtained from the City Clerk at Raytown City Hall. There is no filing fee to run for the Charter Commission.
All petitions must be completed and turned into the City Clerk no later than 60 days before April 1st election.
DeLong Files Three Complaints with City/Police
Long time resident Jim DeLong has filed three complaints with the City of Raytown over conduct of the Raytown Police Department in enforcement of city codes at Colman Park. He and other neighbors of Colman Park have made direct appeals to the Raytown Park Board and on two occasions, presentations before the Board of Aldermen, asking for more enforcement of city codes at the park
Mr. DeLong has provided copies of his complaint to the Raytown Report. Those complaints are displayed below.
As of this writing, neither the Raytown Park Department or the City of Raytown have responded to Mr. DeLong.
Clean Eating - The Challege is Done - But I am Not! BY KRISTEN
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was taking part in the 10 Days of Real Food Pledge, and I’m happy (in more ways than one) to say it’s over. Overall, I think it went really well, but let me be clear—I wasn’t perfect. I slipped up a few times without meaning to, adding a splash of an “illegal”… Continue reading
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National Night Out Against Crime - August 6th
The Raytown Police Department in conjunction with the National Night Out Against Crime will hold its annual this year on Tuesday night, August 6th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This year’s event will be held at Kenagy Park in Raytown located at 79th and Raytown Road (enter from the 79th Street parking lot.
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