Saturday, September 10, 2016


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A Raytowner has Her Say
Dixie Laval is a long time resident of Raytown. Her children were raised in the 63rd Street neighborhood near Blue Ridge Elementary. The issue is the recent approval by Board of Aldermen to rezone residential property to a Dollar General Store. Dixie has a few things to say about the recent rezoning and the developer’s promise to build new homes next to the Dollar General Store. For the sake of her neighborhood, let’s hope the Mayor and Board of Aldermen listen.

Dear Mayor and Board of Aldermen,

The results of the September 6th board meeting were disappointing, both in the results, and in the attitude of the majority of Aldermen. 

Sadly, board members seem to show no empathy nor understanding of the outrage of neighborhood citizens in this matter, nor the intense protests and petitions that were presented prior to this board's election. Having inherited Stervinou's request for rezoning, it would appear that this board did not thoroughly research objections, made at the outset. Aldermen already seated ignored the past petitions and protests, and agreed to the rezoning.

New Aldermen in this ward failed to pursue the residents objections, obviously too timid to “rock the boat”.

Perhaps the few bodily protests present at the September meeting were, to you, an indication of a lack of interest. Not so. Those in attendance had just not yet given up, hoping the board would recognize the error of their ways and take some remedial action. Board members know that meetings prior to the rezoning were packed.

It is difficult to listen to Mr Stervinou being canonized for his patience, when residents know that he has not always shown caring. Previously Stervinou comments regarded regrets that in purchasing the adjoining properties and successfully building,..... the property at 63rd involved too great an expense in sewers ect. Now the city and Dollar General will share that expense. How convenient. When there seemed no prospect of rezoning, the honorable Mr Stervinou made the threat of building section 8 housing at that spot.

Yet he is to be permitted to move forward, without benefit of any restrictions for non-compliance.

At the meeting, Aldermen consistently vocalized “trust” in Mr Stervinou, with no legal recourse.

The east side of Kansas City grows more dismal as theft and crime accelerate, culminating in deaths at 63rd and Blue Ridge Cut-Off . So impacted is the city that the police dept has now arranged for sales of possessions from internet transactions, to be completed behind City Hall at the police station. Your action has brought the threat further into Raytown with an economy store courting low income visitors from that portion of Kansas City. And the only person convenienced by this action is Mr Stervinou. Do not protest revenue for the city. The cost will prove too great eventually.

With some derision, Alderman Moore suggested that “YOU” could still purchase the property. Obviously “you” was directed to the handful of residents present, still left with some very vague hope of understanding and remedial action from the Board. I submit to Alderman Moore, that the city has had this option for some time, but chose to take the easy way out. What a wonderful benefit to Raytown it would have been, with many options open for the “green space”. Your consistent promise of revenue to the city is accompanied by the threat of crime, (and statistics show it WILL happen), traffic problems on 63rd, and further declining home values.

Area homeowners, in 1800 square foot homes, currently selling their properties at $125,000 and less , find it difficult to believe that $160,000 houses will sell, adjacent to a dollar General retail store. So what if this does not happen. Then those houses will suddenly become retail businesses as well. After all, they are zoned for business now!..... Was that the plan????

Now, with the loss of a faint hope for some reversal of the rezoning, neighbors of the building site can only pray that the city responds to the danger that has been thrust upon us.

The internet Raytown crime reports clearly show this general location is a hot spot. .( Was that reviewed before voting this zone request???) As Real estate prices succumb to the threat and many homes in this area bear the loss, residents are justifiably fearful that the addition of another store such as this will amplify the rapid downgrading of a formerly quiet peaceful neighborhood.

Apparently left with no recourse to this action, it behooves the mayor and the board to direct your attention to the area traffic problem, which is the remaining fear for Dollar General neighbors.. For some time, the 63rd Street corridor has virtually become a major highway into the city. West bound traffic accelerates from the horse barn to the cut off. Even large U S Postal mail semi-trucks have been seen heading west at incredibly excessive speed.

The police department randomly sets speed traps but it is of course, a temporary measure. Though now removed, the school crosswalk was never a deterrent to speed. There has actually been one pedestrian traffic related death at Hunter. Serious accidents have also occurred as residents and visitors turn into driveways on the north side of the street. Signs of a 35 mile an hour speed limit bring east bound traffic from Blue Ridge cut off, into this area quickly accelerating.

It would seem that at the very least some blinking caution lights are desperately needed. But that is your call. It has become almost impossible to enter the street from adjoining neighborhoods, most especially in home bound evening traffic. Protests from residents are always met with budget restrictions. I submit to you, that as a board, you are obliged to give the results of your action your immediate attention. The residents deserve more from you. No life or injury is worth the price of this rezoning. I implore you to use the means at your disposal to find a reasonable solution to controlling traffic and speed on 63rd street.

And most importantly, bind Mr Stervinou to his “promises”. It seems that is all the hope we have left.

And, lastly Mr Mayor, I must remind you of your “ focus” at election. Your promise to “work with neighborhoods to attract and keep families.”

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting 9/6/16

David Martin told the Board he opposed the Dollar General store.  Last week, the attorney told the Board the developer tried to get public input on this project.  Mr. Martin said that isn’t true.  He wasn’t contacted, nor were any of his neighbors.  He suggested in February the houses were just a distraction to get the Board to pass the ordinance.  He was upset after the meeting two weeks ago when he heard one alderman thank the developer for taking care of his property.  If he took the same care of his property, he’d have code violations.e suggestedd

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of fuel from John Moore Oil Company. The City of Raytown is presently purchasing fuel from Maher Oil Company utilizing a cooperative purchasing contract administered by Olathe, KS. This contract provides the City of Raytown favorable pricing associated with the purchasing power of Olathe, KS.

The current contract was put into effect on June 1, 2015 until May 31, 2016. The contract was scheduled for renewal in June; however, the staff found that the renewal did not take place as anticipated. Through the evaluation of alternative cooperative contracts, the City of Lee’s Summit, Missouri cooperative oil contract was determined to be the most cost effective contract for the City of Raytown.

The contract is a one-year renewable contract that was put into effect October 19, 2015 and has the opportunity for four possible one-year renewals. The staff will monitor the renewal status this fall as it approaches. Fiscal Year 2015-2016 budgeted amounts for all City departments and the Fire Department totals $279,628.00.

The Fire Department is budgeted for an expense of $25,200.00 which the Fire Department reimburses the City for the actual usage expense; therefore, the actual City budgeted expenses are $254,428.00. Currently fuel costs are projected to stay well below the budgeted amounts. Total expenditures with Maher Oil Company in Fiscal Year 2015 were $160,986.00. Due to the fluctuating nature of fuel prices, previous fiscal year expenditures were reviewed for Fiscal Year 2016 -2017 projections. Fiscal Year 2014 expenditures were $250,781.37 and Fiscal Year 2013 expenditures were $264,638.81.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the conveyance of certain property from the Jackson County Land Trust and authorizing the Interim City Administrator to execute a special warranty deed conveying the property to the city.  On February 1, 2016 the Raytown Building Inspector began proceedings to declare the single-family dwelling located on the property at 7611 Woodson to be a dangerous building.

The structure had deteriorated to the point of being uninhabitable, due in large part to a fire that had occurred on the premises in December of 2014. In October of 2014, the Board of Aldermen approved a contract between the City and Builder’s Development Corporation (BDC), a not-for-profit housing rehabilitation entity, to provide Housing Specialist Services as an extension of the City’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3 (NSP3) to continue Neighborhood Revitalization efforts in the City.

As such, the City of Raytown seeks to obtain a transfer agreement of the Special Warranty Deed for 7611 Woodson from the current owner, the Land Trust of Jackson County, who obtained the property when it was foreclosed upon and failed to sell on the courthouse steps. As part of the transfer agreement, the City of Raytown will be immediately transferring the Special Warrant Deed of the property over to BDC, who from then on will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the property until they resell it to new private owners.

Direct transfer of the Special Warranty Deed from Jackson County Land Trust to the City, and then immediately from the City over to BDC will eliminate the City’s responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the property.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the conveyance of certain property from the Jackson County Land Trust and authorizing the Interim City Administrator to execute a special warranty deed conveying the property to the builder’s development corporation.

On February 1, 2016 the Raytown Building Inspector began proceedings to declare the single-family dwelling located on the property at 7611 Woodson to be a dangerous building. The structure had deteriorated to the point of being uninhabitable, due in large part to a fire that had occurred on the premises in December of 2014.

The City obtained bids to demolish the fire damaged house, but the bid prices showed to be cost prohibitive to the City. In October of 2014 the Board of Aldermen approved a contract between the City and Builder’s Development Corporation (BDC), a not-for-profit housing rehabilitation entity, to provide Housing Specialist Services as an extension of the City’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3 (NSP3) to continue Neighborhood Revitalization efforts in the City.

As such, the City of Raytown seeks a transfer agreement of the Special Warranty Deed for 7611 Woodson from the City of Raytown, previously obtained by the City from the Land Trust of Jackson County, to the BDC. BDC needs possession of the legal title of the property before they can begin to rehabilitate it. A new or rehabilitated home on the property will serve the Raytown community better than a vacant lot, which would continue to require maintenance and mowing from the City.

Instead, the property will be resold to new private owners upon completion of the rehabilitation, who from then on will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the property. Furthermore, a property with a livable dwelling will provide more revenue to the City than a vacant lot. Direct transfer of the Special Warranty Deed from Jackson County Land Trust to the City, and then immediately from the City over to BDC will eliminate the City’s responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the property. This resolution will be in effect for one year from the date of approval from the Board of Aldermen.

The Board heard the second reading and passed an ordinance granting approval of the site plan for a retail store on land located at 9109 east 63rd street in accordance with the provisions of the comprehensive zoning regulations.  The Planning & Zoning Commission by a vote of 6 in favor and 0 against recommends approval of the final site plan subject to the following conditions:

1. The buffer as set out in the NC District shall not be required and the location of the building shall be as determined by the Board of Aldermen.

2. Parking shall be permitted in front of the building.

3. The planting area along 63rd Street shall be increased to a minimum of 10 feet.

4. The width of the parking lot shall be reduced from 76 feet to 72 feet.

5. The building shall be moved north 2.4 feet to allow more separation between it and the future residences to the south.

6. A front building setback greater than 10 feet shall be permitted.

7. The applicant shall prepare a complete sign package in accordance with the sign regulations and submit it to Staff for review and approval.

8. The applicant shall replace the Downy Hawthorns along 63rd Street and in the SW corner of the parking lot with a different variety.

9. The applicant shall be responsible for the maintenance and replacement of all landscaping and fencing as needed.

10. Add one additional tree to the west side and two to the south side of the building.

11. Revise the site plan as approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Aldermen and submit five copies to Staff for review and approval of the changes.
Analysis: Greg Stervinou Construction Inc. is seeking to build a Dollar General retail store on a vacant lot approximately one acre in area which is zoned Neighborhood Commercial with a Planned Overlay District (NC-P). This property was rezoned in January 2016 by the Board of Aldermen. The Board of Aldermen set three conditions in approving the rezoning:

1. That the site plans comply with the Central Business District Design Standards.

2. That the final site plan be presented for approval to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Aldermen.

3. That the retail store be prohibited from selling alcohol.

Alderman Eric Teeman said there were ways to guarantee the houses would be built.  He suggested withholding the certificate of occupancy until the houses are built.  Joe Willerth, city attorney, said there was no basis to withhold the certificate of occupancy.  Alderman Mark Moore pointed out the site plans show sanitary sewers, and they have to be installed before the building goes up. 

Alderman Eric Teeman said there were more trees on the updated site plan, but trees aren’t houses.  He said the developer could install sanitary sewers, and never pout in the houses.  Alderman Janet Emerson said they could amend the ordinance to include a time frame for the houses to be built.  Greg Stevinou, the developer, said he’s had the property for 10 years.  He’s not going to let the lots for the houses just sit.  He wants to get them developed and sold.  Mr. Stevinou’s attorney, Ralph Monaco, said they have been to the Planning and Zoning Board three times because the Board of Aldermen keeps changing the requirements.  He said Mr. Stevinou can’t build the houses until the site plan is approved for the Dollar General.  The Board passed the ordinance.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance amending chapter 4, alcoholic beverages, and licenses relating to the locations and other restrictions on licenses. Raytown staff is proposing to reduce the separation requirements in the Code of Ordinances that prevent new liquor licenses from being established within 300 feet of a school, church or other building regularly used as a place of religious worship.

The proposed amendment would reduce the separation requirement to 100 feet, which matches the requirements for all liquor licenses issued by the State of Missouri.

The Missouri Revised Statutes grant municipalities the ability to increase liquor license separation requirements from their 100 foot minimum up to a maximum of 300 feet; as such Raytown currently has the most restrictive ordinance allowed by state law. The amendment would not change how the separation requirement would be measured, which is currently from the nearest point of the applicant building to the nearest point of the building of a school, church or other religious institution.

Approval of the amendment would immediately provide three known businesses with the ability to apply for a new liquor license that are currently unable to under the existing ordinance, and would also allow for potential new liquor licenses to move in to previously unavailable properties. Raytown currently does not have a restriction on the number of liquor licenses in the City.  Alderman Bill Van Buskirk said he would like to modify the ordinance to state only sit-down restaurants would be allowed to sell alcohol within 100 feet of schools and churches.  All other establishments would still have the 300 foot buffer.

Joe Willerth, city attorney, said there is no such thing as a “sit-down restaurant” in the city codes.  That would take the establishment of a whole new category.  Alderman Van Buskirk said he would think about it over the next two weeks.

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Anonymous said...

I still live in Raytown and am disappointed in recent events at City Hall. The spot zoning of high use retail commercial in residential neighborhoods has reared its ugly head again. The rezoning of property next door to Blue Ridge Elementary on 63rd Street reminds me of the previous bunch at city hall. Remember them? They were going to force another Walmart Store down Raytowner's throats in Downtown Raytown.

Different actors. Same story. They ought to create a motto for themselves. "May the public be damned" would fit nicely.

Phillip said...

There seems to be only a small handful of residents who are opposed to the Dollar General store going in. There's David Marti I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that Dixie Laval sent the letter to the members of the board of aldermen and the mayor. Why should the developer of the property be told he can't build there if only two people are against it? When they were talking about the Walmart Neighborhood Store it took hours to hear all the people that were against it. It seems no one else has an objection and two people hardly make a majority.


Anonymous said...

The last comment was interesting. The writer (he signed his name as Phillip) takes the liberty of drawing conclusions based on erroneous information. First of all, the Mayor and Board were well aware the developer had approached the city at least twice and (depending on your point of view) a third time to change the zoning of the property east of Blue Ridge Elementary to Retail Commercial type of zoning. Each time it had been turned down by the Board of Aldermen.

Each one of those times was in response to public pressure to not change the zoning.

This time around the developer and city were sneaky in the way the whole package was put together. Very little public notice was given. Homeowners in the neighborhood found out accidentally of the zoning meeting with very little time to prepare.

Even though city ordinances require the property in question be posted with a sign on the property of the hearing . . . the signage never went up.

Mrs. Laval shared the letter she sent to the Board of Aldermen and Mayor. What Phillip does not know is that Mrs. Laval had written to the Board and Mayor previously on this same subject. Individual pleas for help from other neighbors were ignored by the Board of Aldermen.

It is hard to believe some would consider a Dollar General being placed in the middle of a residential neighborhood as a good move for the city.

Reputations are earned. The BOA has shown their backside on this one. The residential flavor of a neighborhood is sold out for a vague promise of houses to be built in the future!?!

I was not at the meeting but I did watch the tape of the meeting and am very familiar with what has been done to the 63rd Street neighborhood. Mrs. Laval's letter is spot on accurate as to what transpired.

Shame on the Mayor and Board. They have done a disservice to those they promised to represent.

Anonymous said...

Except this isn't in a residential area. That's south of this location. You have the school, empty lot then two BUSINESSES, between 63rd St and Blue Rodge Blvd. The houses are south of Blue Rodge Blvd.

Anonymous said...

After years of talks on this property, why didnt anyone else buy it? It seems silly to assert that somehow 63rd st is residential only, it is the second busiest street in the city, businesses up and down. I wish it wasnt a dollar general, but I dont own the property.

Anonymous said...

Please don't lie, cheat or steal. The Government doesn't like competition.

Andy Whiteman said...

Does it make sense to allow a Dollar General or any business next to a school, especially an elementary school? There are children ranging from every young up to 5th or 6th grade. Children, especially younger children, aren't paying attention to traffic and drivers, after shopping, will forget they are in a school zone. My fear is drivers who back out quickly without looking especially when small children may be crossing the lot or walking across exits! I remember speaking in opposition when condos were proposed for that area. Condos would have been better but would still devalue the R-1 area.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The comments on this blog tell me there are lot of people who do not have a clue what planned zoning is all about. Spot zoning, which is what has been done with the planned Dollar General Store on 63rd Street is exactly that. SPOT. The rest of the property is still zoned residential.

Can't make it any clearer than that!

I am sure there are those that believe allowing liquor by the drink 200' closer to a church or a school is a sign of progress.

All is shows to meet is how inept the city has been in enforcing its own laws!

Anonymous said...

I wonder when the BOA will bring back their plans for 25% pay increases. Bet you dollars to donuts they will do so the last meeting in October. They probably figure no one will be watching at that time.

Anonymous said...

Andy since you gave left Raytown many of the grade schools have fenced their properties in an effort to bolster security. Blue Ridge Elementary is one of those. There is complete fenced separation on the north side of the school between the development and the rear of the school. The fence is even locked at the previous area where the crosswalk used to be since the main entry point for walkers is now on the South side of the school again in a security measure. The Dollar General poses no safety issue for the school children and what little traffic that may be generated can easily be handled by one of the major thoroughfares in Raytown being 63rd St.

Anonymous said...

at 9:20

So when they dont you should post on here and admit your wrong.

Andy Whiteman said...

8:13 PM, Zoning should be by area. Spot zoning is unacceptable. I don't want my house zoned R-1 and have the neighboring property zoned for business! When I am looking for a house online, I also use Google Maps and if there is a business next to the property or too close, I rule out the house. Spot zoning devalues the property! I also won't buy a house next to multifamily property.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Drove by the new Dollar whatever store on Blue Ridge at 51st, the store looks like an outbuilding on the farm I used to live on.

Anonymous said...

I read Andy's post and from the wording of students crossing exits ; I believe he is talking about the walkers to and from school

Anonymous said...

All those fences around Blue Ridge Elementary. They bring security and safety from the Dollar General Store. Must be a Trump supporter!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous September 13, 2016 at 7:45 PM said...
All those fences around Blue Ridge Elementary. They bring security and safety from the Dollar General Store. Must be a Trump supporter!

Why is it whenever there is a negative about something, small minded people have to bring their political bias into everything? Am sick and tired of this already, everyone thinks that their so called "Party" is the only one that is correct, all goodness and light, and anyone who therefore has an an opposing view is therefor all darkness and evil. I do not like neither one, but I find that comment offensive.

Anonymous said...

9/13 @ 8:13

I am a Republican and sad to say it because wall building Trump does not represent the "Party".

I still cannot believe that the "Party" didn't kick him to the curb at convention.

I therefore ask you to never ever again make any indication as to Trump and any "Party"

Anonymous said...

Get used to it... PRESIDENT TRUMP!!! :)

Andy Whiteman said...

5:50PM, Yes I was thinking of walkers to and from school.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I think you mean to comment on the original poster about the reference to trump and a fence because what I read on the 8:13 pm post is that they are saying they too are tired of the political comments and references

Anonymous said...

As a Republican, I want to thank Mitt Romney for speaking up along with several others within the party and coming out against Trump.

Trump is an embarrassment to our party and this Nation.

Anonymous said...

I will vote for Trump in November. We need some real change in America. Trump is way better than the alternative, Hillary Clinton.

Steve Meyers said...

Thought I'd take a minute to wish Raytown Brooking Eagle lead writer Kris Collins good luck and safe travels as he leaves our community to pursue some wonderful education opportunities in Germany. Kris has been a thorough and professional journalist providing the Brooking Eagles readers a factual and detailed account of the activities and issues around Raytown. His tireless research and work ethic especially in his covering and reporting of the City Council and other Committees was widely respected. If there was an event or meeting you could always count on Kris attending for the entirety and his reporting was spot on and seldom contained errors. Many times he was the only local paper being represented and it was always very noticeable. While maybe not always agreeing with his thoughts or conclusions, most everyone would agree he would always attempt to thouroughly research and talk to all parties in formulating his article. I always had mutual respect in that approach and his material was never personal or obviously speaking through another person's agenda.

Good Luck Kris!

Steve Meyers,
Alderman Ward 4

Anonymous said...

Ford must be supporting Trump too as I read they are moving manufacturing of several cars to Mexico.

Trump is going to make America Great again by continuing to have his companies products produced in other countries.

What American pride!

Anonymous said...

It's the worse we if two evils

Raytown Newbie said...

I asked what it would take to put a garage on my property and was told the construction must be the same as the house.... that means brick in my case... very expensive. Then I see the new Dollar General eyesore being built up the street and I wonder what standards they had to meet.

I have seen many Dollar Generals in other towns with at least a masonry front. Why didn't our leaders require the same?

As a previous poster very nicely said: looks very much like a farm outbuilding.

Anonymous said...

Newbie I believe you may apply for a variance thru the Board of Zoning Variance Committee and present your application at a public hearing. There is a fee for the application and hearing. I also agree with you on the construction material of the Dollar General on Blue Ridge Blvd. Unfortunately no specific building design standards are in place in that area and it met all current zoning regulations so no conditional permits or variances or were required. The new Dollar General store on 63rd st had to request re-zoning and go thru Planning & Zoning Application process as well as the BOA approval. That is when the Central Business Design standards were applied with a few exceptions which meant the outside building material (masonry) would be present much like the Family Dollar store has.

Anonymous said...

I just want to think Joe Creamer for at least disclosing to the general public who the trouble makers are on the Board of Alderman.

NO! I am not talking about the super 7 who have done amazing things to better our community and cleanup the mess of Bower's Blunders.

I am speaking of the two remaining Bower's Blunders on the Board of Alderman better known around town as Jim Aziere and Bill VanBuskirk.

Face the facts Joe, Jim and Bill help to create the mess we are all dealing with:

Streets having gravel and oil instead of asphalt
Codes violations not being enforced
Residence ordinances for department heads over looked

Today instead of Joe taking ownership for the mess he helped create he blames everyone else and at the same time talks about the good his two remaining blunders are still leaving for those great 7 to clean up.

Raytown Newbie said...

Thanks Anon 8:44

Good information. I appreciate your post.


Anonymous said...

Joe Creamer what a story he is. It is most interesting that he has confessed that he is an addict. I would think that his confession could get him into trouble if he is not careful.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that we can't go without a week without the post about Joe C. ? I don't get the obsession.

Anonymous said...

I know right? Somebody is obsessed with Joe Creamer. He is old news; move on