Saturday, September 3, 2016


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Same Old Song . . .
One of Raytown’s premier gateways to the city is located at 63rd Street and Blue Ridge Cutoff. From there 63rd Street takes a path due east to the western city limits, two miles away. It passes through neighborhoods with well kept homes. Blue Ridge Elementary School is the only break of the residential flavor of the street until it enters Downtown Raytown. Once through the Downtown, 63rd Street continues through more residential neighborhoods until it terminates on Woodson Road.

Soon, what is now a relaxing drive through the heart of Raytown will be blighted by commercial development. A small retail outlet (Dollar General) is to be built just east of Blue Ridge Elementary Grade School.

It is located in the middle of residentially zoned neighborhood. It will bring increased traffic and commercial operating hours to a peaceful neighborhood.

The die for this blight was cast when the majority of the Raytown Board of Aldermen took a long drink from the Development Kool Aid Cup and voted to approve the zoning change in the middle of a residential neighborhood to commercial use.

The only caveat the neighborhood had was the agreement between the city and developer to build residential housing along with the retail outlet.

Now that part of the deal seems to be slipping away.

At its last meeting Ward 5 Alderman Eric Teeman questioned the attorney representing the developer why plans presented to the Board of Alderman did not include plans for housing along with the commercial development.

It was, after all, what had been agreed upon when the change from residential to commercial zoning was approved.

. . . and Dance!

The attorney for the developer assured the Board those plans would come later.

After a flurry of letters between Mayor Mike McDonough and residents of the neighborhood took place last week, some wonder if the houses will be built as promised.

In his letter to neighborhood representatives, McDonough assured them the houses would be built.

One sentence in his letter is disturbing.

The Mayor wrote, As the homes have not yet been designed or assigned to a potential buyer, they are not present on the plan.”

If what the Mayor writes is true, there are no plans. All is contingent on a potential buyer purchasing a lot and agreeing to build a home on it.

As one nearby homeowner questioned . . . “how many potential buyers will want to buy a lot and build a home next door to a Dollar General?”

The developer has had since last February . . . over half a year . . . to get his ducks in a row to fulfill the commitment agreed upon between him and the city.

This whole deal is beginning to sound reminiscent of the Walmart fiasco on 350 Highway. Readers will remember the mantra, “if you build it they will come”. The new shopping district promised to follow in the footsteps of the 350 Walmart has yet to materialize. That promise was made over ten years ago.

The Board of Aldermen is made up of some smart people. Let’s hope they are smart enough to learn from mistakes of the past.

The lesson they should have learned was . . .  A vague promise of future development is not enough.

The Board should insist the developer move forward with the promised housing projects before the commercial property is licensed and allowed to open. To give the decision some teeth, they should write that provision into the legislation by amendment and vote to approve it.

After all, it is what was agreed upon when they approved the zoning back in February.

As elected representatives of the neighborhood surrounding they owe it to the long time homeowners on 63rd Street to uphold the agreement.

Paul’s Rant! 
This will be a first for me. Last week, Bob Phillips of the Raytown Times wrote a short piece on the proposed 25% pay increase packages for elected officials in Raytown.

He said it so well, why try to improve it?

BOB WROTE . . . 

“Are you kidding me? Is the elected marshal/appointed chief of police really worth $114,000 a year?

He is already being paid more than $96,000 a year, the highest paid city marshal in the state. That is a lot of money for a guy who is mostly a figurehead. Some city administrators don’t make that kind of money.

That’s the recommendation of the Elected Officials Compensation Committee, and its report will be before the Board of Aldermen on September 6. The committee also suggested a hefty raise for the Municipal Judge and an extra $100 a month for aldermen.

For a city that claims it’s pinching pennies, those are pretty hefty increases. I guess tightening the budget only applies to the people who really do the work.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Aldermen went over the committee’s recommendations and then said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Well said, Mr. Phillips!




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Anonymous said...


I am sure there are many of us who never thought we would agree with Bob Philips on anything.

However, he got it right on the salary for our elected city marshal.

Anonymous said...

Well written Mr. Walters. the lord mayor is doing unto us as the last Lord mayor did.

Anonymous said...

Too bad everything from Hunter to Elm, 63rd St to Blue Ridge Blvd is commercial or school. You have the early childhood building/ school, the empty lot, then businesses to Elm and actually past Elm in the little triangle.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that one would even make that statement about either the current or former mayor
Unless there is a tie the mayor has no vote
Also the area where the store would go is an area full of non residential properties as well as residential

Anonymous said...

The last comment is completely false. With the exception of a cluster of buildings along Blue Ridge Cutoff ALL of 63rd Street up to Elm Street is zoned residential. School property and church property is not affected by zoning laws. Pretending that a grade school and a small church is equivalent to a retail store outlet is nonsense. Check it out. The zoning maps at city hall are public information. It does not cost anything to look at them. They cannot refuse to show you the maps.

It was a bad decision to change the zoning for a Dollar General Store. It would be another bad decision to not guarantee the residential houses are built.

The ball is in the Aldermen's court. Let's see what they do with it on Tuesday night.

Anonymous said...

There are office buildings on each side of elm just south of 63rd St. Learn the make up of the city before commenting.

Anonymous said...

The mayor seta the agenda and influences decisions. Its not like he is just sitting there.

Anonymous said...

Was nt bickford place originally the ywca site? That area has gone thru lots of changes in the history of Raytown . And then there is the office buildings at elm; they have been there forever

Anonymous said...

You are so right! That little triangle is business's the office buildings on blue ridge Blvd have been there forever ; I think some people just over look them

Anonymous said...

How much is under the table and to whom on the Dollar General project?

Anonymous said...

Not quite seeing that same non-commercial stroll going East past Blue Ridge elementary on 63rd that Greg is describing. I see a clearly defined and longtime established split of residential homes & (Brickford House Senior Complex) and Horse Ranch on the NORTH side of 63rd until the old Raytown Clinic, 2 story offices and the car wash starts the ongoing commercial stretch into downtown Raytown. Basically starting where the proposed Dollar General is starts a stretch of consistent pattern of commercial business on the SOUTH side of 63rd st going East. Once you pass Blue Ridge Elementary commercial development is pretty evident pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

Raytown has been hit several times by developers who say one thing and do something else.

We all know we are still paying for the largest TIF give away in the State of Missouri for doing business with Block and Company.

Our 2011 Board of Alderman was influenced by Block and Co that they allowed them to change the bond agreement for phase 3, which Block and Company used to reduce the taxing rate on the property.

With all this being the case why doesn't the Board of Alderman inform the developer of the 63rd street property that once the house have been built and are being marketed the city would at that time approve the go forward on the Dollar General.

Problem solved

Anonymous said...

It's a shame another office building couldn't go into that space and back up to the others that start just west of the triangle there at 63rd st blue ridge Blvd and elm.

Anonymous said...

I not only stroll along 63rd Street, I also live there. The Bickford House is zoned residential. It is multi-family residential.

By the way, you spelled Bickford House as BRICKford House. A word of advice, slow your stroll down a little and maybe you can learn the proper names of the places you are speaking of.

One more point. My earlier post spoke of residential zoning up to Elm Street. On your next stroll take a look at the houses on Elm Street north of 63rd Street. Then, take a look at the houses on Elm Street south of 63rd Street. All of it is solidly zoned residential.

I will give you this, there is a small office building on the west side of 63rd Street. It is zoned Commercial Office. I forgot about it because it looks like a large house. The BIG difference on it being zoned Commercial Office is that IT IS NOT a retail operation. The zoning code does not allow for commercial office to operate during night time hours. That class of zoning is typically used as a buffer between residential and commercial.

Believe me, no one is going to mistake a Dollar General for a Commercial Office Building.

I sincerely hope that no one ever does to your neighborhood what the city is doing to our neighborhood. It is not an improvement. It degrades our neighborhood by increasing traffic and lowering the quality of life for all of us that live here.

Anonymous said...

There is no resudential between Blue Ridge Blvd and 63rd St on the south side of 63rd St, period. It's all commercial or school.

Anonymous said...

Yes there are two large office buildings on both east and west of the cut thru on elm as well as two large two story office complexes on blue ridge Blvd ; it's sort of the gateway to bussiness area heading east on 63 rd st. It is so sad that people get snarky over a word or a term.

Anonymous said...

The land Blue Ridge Elementary is sitting on and the large empty field to the east of Blue Ridge Elementary is zoned for residential housing. How else could the Board of Aldermen come to an agreement requiring the developer of the Dollar General to require residential housing be built on the land? The large office buildings you write about on Blue Ridge Boulevard are east of Elm Street. To the west on Blue Ridge Boulevard there are single family homes.

This is the third attempt by the developer to blight the area with a Dollar General Store. The Board of Aldermen have already given that approval. Those of us who live here opposed every application. This last time around it was rammed through the city council so fast that we did not have time organize to stop it.

I am very disappointed in this new crew of aldermen. They did not campaign on a promise of destroying neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

There are a couple homes on blue ridge Blvd accross from the empty lot between the church and elm

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to see office buildings go up along 63rd street but then you need to fill them. Take a look around there are LOTS and I do mean LOTS of empty office spaces already. Either come up with a answer or get behind the city.

Raytown Newbie said...

It probably doesn't mean anything but as I saw the progress on the new building being constructed on the old church (I think) property at the SE corner of Blue Ridge Blvd and 51st (our north city limit)I guessed it must be some kind of "dollar" store just by the cheap looking construction... and whadaya know?? I hear it's a new Dollar General.

Those businesses are just flocking here... must be the demographics.

Oh well, some call it progress??

Anyway, have a great week Raytowners. Me? I'm loving these cool mornings.


Anonymous said...

No, it's an office building on the west side of elm between 63rd st and Blue Ridge Blvd. the houses are on the south side of blue ridge.

Anonymous said...

Look at a google map photo of the area if you don't believe me.

Anonymous said...

There are responsible corporate citizens and there are those who take advantage of naive elected officials. Good example would be Family Dollar on 63rd Street. They bought up some old run-down buildings that were, for the most part, vacant, in Downtown Raytown. Then the bulldozed it all down and put in a modern Family Dollar store that is an asset to the area.

Contrast that to the blight being forced on the homeowners along 63rd Street. A developer goes to the city, not once, not twice, but three times to gain permission to change the residential zoning to commercial zoning. The first two times he is turned down. The third time he sweetens the deal by saying he will build houses with the Dollar General Store he envisions. When he comes to show the plans to the city, one of the Board of Aldermen questions why the plans for the homes have not been presented. He is assured, not by the developer, but by some lawyer representing the owner, that the houses will be built.

The Board of Aldermen take the bait and swallow it hook line and sinker.

If the houses do not get built, what is their recourse?

I really thought the Board we have now was smarter than what they are showing.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the Good Ol Boy system is thriving as good as it ever has at city hall, probably even better, since the Police got one of their own in the Mayor's seat.

The X-Police Officer, now Mayor, is looking to give his old boss, the city marshal, Jim Lynch a big ol raise and is tossing a cookie to the Board (100$ more per month) for their support.

If you can't recognize crooked politics in Raytown you are either blind, stupid or in on the fix.

Anonymous said...

I do not see how a dollar general and a couple houses could fit on that property . Would the dollar general butt up to the timber creek office building and a house near the school side?? The whole thing seems crazy

Anonymous said...

The Dollar General is planned to be immediately east of Blue Ridge Elementary. About 15 yards from the cross walk stop light the city disabled a couple of years ago.

Anonymous said...

Then a house would be wedged between the dollar general and the timber crew office building that sits on the west side of elm where the little cut thru is on elm with Edward d jones and leath bldg on the east side of elm?? Just not much area for homes and a business. And who would want to live wedged between two buildings? Just crazy. The city needs to rethink this or maybe the public needs to view their concerns loudly enough to get the builder to pull out of it

Phillip said...

You people amaze me. You moan and groan and b!tch on this site, but only two of you showed up at the meeting last night. If you were really serious about this, you would have gone to the meeting and let them know you were unhappy. Don't tell us it won't work, because we've already seen it work with the neighborhood store.
It's time you put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Sept 6th 8:37AM I am in total agreement with you. When will the people of Raytown get smart

Raytown Newbie said...

Just my two centavos here but..... I'm pretty sure if the Neighborhood Walmart would have been built, we would have not gotten the influx of "Dollar" stores (two on 63rd and the one on Blue Ridge)....

Was snooping around the online Jackson County tax records and was surprised to see the valuation of the Raytown Equestrian Park there on 63rd by the planned Dollar General. County says it's worth about 150K and the annual taxes are $1653... WOW! that's about 20 acres of land and improvements! and they pay lower property taxes than I do for my old, old house. Somehow that does not compute to me.
Wonder who owns that nice chunk of land. Pretty sure if it sold it would bring just a bit more than $153,000

Oh well, just needed to "moan and groan and b!tch" this A.M.

Have a great day,


pat casady said...

Its been a while since I have written but, I feel I must comment on one of the best little restaurants in Raytown. Today a friend of mine and I had breakfast at the newsroom across from Raytown high school. Its well worth your time to try this great little place. The owner, the chef and everybody in the restaurant were very nice and helpful. I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Did I miss the discussion and vote on the raises for the PD Chief, Aldermen and Judge? Darn, I was really wanting to hear how they explain how they felt entitled to a raise of 20% when times are so hard. I bet it was funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Property and then a house is more than just property. It's a higher tax for improved property i.e. Our homes. Same with me my taxes are higher than that and I only have 900 sq ft

Anonymous said...

Neal Clevenger owns that land.

Andy Whiteman said...

I live in a small city about the size of Raytown that is saturated with Dollar type stores. There is also a large size Walmart. A Walmart Neighborhood Market still opened earlier this summer. The Dollar type stores don't have anything that I want except maybe sometimes sale items. I shopped the Neighborhood Market once finding their selection is totally different from the Dollar type stores. The Neighborhood Market is so small that they do not have a complete selection of what I want. I was told that the Neighborhood market is actually a 7-11 type store not intended for stock up which is what I do.

Raytown Newbie, I suggest you check the the zoning of the horse property. I bet it is zoned agricultural which carries a much lower tax rate than residential.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

9/7 what land does Neal own?

Anonymous said...

That crosswalk is/ was in the mid section of the fenced in yard to the elementary school. Doesn't look like 15 yards / 45 ft is enough to get it off the school property does it?

Anonymous said...

What is County Executive Frank White trying to do to our county? I urge everyone to get a copy of Randy's paper (last weeks edition) and on the last page bottom left corner read what John Ivy wrote and do some research. Pray our mayor is not in favor of this as he and Frank White are good buddies. Don't sell us out mayor!!!

Andy Whiteman said...

2:29 AM, You can check the Jackson County Treasurer's website for Neal's property holdings.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

So Joe Creamer's big news scoop this week is he "heard" that Sue Frank was seen having a cocktail with Alderman Jason Greene as if this is some major underground initiative. Hey Joe this is 2 friends socializing and catching up. If you had any friends besides your other 2 Amigos AZIERE and Raytown Tag Randy you would get that...Sounds like someone has a bad case...

Anonymous said...

Neal owns most of Raytown. He is "in bed" with the City of Raytown. If you don't pay your sewer bill, he cuts your water off. He owns the Raytown Car Wash. That place should of been condemned years ago for the un kept repair of the place but the city turns their head and doesn't enforce codes on him. Where I live I only get about 50-55 psi for my water pressure. I have had them out numerous times to get better pressure to my house, but the excuse is we live up hill from the tower and he can't get us more pressure which is nonsense. The water lines are old and he doesn't want to spend any money on upgrades. We had a plumber out and he said we should have better pressure than what we have. We have 3/4" main line to the house.

Anonymous said...

I can not find the article from John Ivy, please give me a general idea of what it is about??

Anonymous said...

Joe is at it again huh?

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy theory joe hahaha. I find it funny that the boy didnt do crap as an alderman but create or ignore real problems and no tries to sound like an outsider. "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to live through life son".