Tag Archive for Walmart Neighborhood Market

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 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!

Click here to see the BOA July 16 Agenda.

 

City of Raytown Claims No Written Cancellation on June 14?

This post is a follow up to our post, Wal-Mart Pulls Raytown Development Proposal?, regarding the City of Raytown’s announcement of receiving notice from Wal-Mart on Friday morning, June 14, that it was no longer interested in the Walmart Neighborhood Market development. The public spokesperson stated at that time, “We have not received anything in writing from Wal-Mart. We expect to have something next week.”

Walmart Cancels Raytown Property PurchaseThe actual written cancellation notice that came from Katz Law Firm of Overland Park, Kansas, was dated June 14, 2013, and delivered by ProEx Courier. Click here for Cancellation Notice.

Why the misstatement? Rumors are circulating that Mayor Bower hoped to  talk Wal-Mart into reconsidering its decision. Perhaps he hoped to delay the officiality of Wal-Mart’s written notice.

 

City of Raytown Corrects Rezoning Ordinance 5453-13

On May 21st, the Board of Alderman(BOA) voted in Ordinance 5453-13 to create a Planned Zoning Overlay District especially for a Walmart Neighborhood Market. The Ordinance that was signed by the City Clerk, the City Attorney and Mayor David Bower, failed to cite all the conditions of the zoning district by neglecting the operating hours of 6 AM to 10 PM, a major topic of discussion by the BOA.

A citizen of Raytown kindly brought this omission to the attention of the City Clerk and the Ordinance was corrected. Click here for the corrected version.

Call for a Legal Defense Fund

Raytown Community Alliance

Legal Defense Fund

$100,000.00

$37,000.00

$

Consideration is on the table for filing a lawsuit against the City of Raytown. The Board of Alderman’s (BOA) approval of Wal-Mart’s application for their own Planned Zoning Overlay District denied the public’s rights to due process guaranteed by the Fifth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution. Federal and state courts throughout the nation have upheld these rights in rezoning cases.

  • Fifth Amendment protects against abuse of government authority in a legal procedure.
  • 14th Amendment Due Process Clause prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness.

Rezoning Process

The BOA approved the rezoning district based on a simple site plan that didn’t even include landscaping details. Initially, the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZ) should’ve received a complete comprehensive plan that included public sentiments as well as impact, traffic, economic and environmental studies, all of which must be considered and evaluated in order to make a recommendation. These studies are imperative to determining whether or not rezoning will deprive persons of life, liberty or property. Imagine rezoning to industrial without impact studies.

Illegal and Unconstitutional

Wal-Mart representatives explained to PZ Commissioners that Wal-Mart did not want to spend the money on studies until they had the rezoning district. City staff then misled PZ commissioners into the illegal process of evaluating a rezoning request based only on a simple site plan. City staff threatened commissioners with exposure to a lawsuit if their vote was not based on design standards. To its credit, PZ did not recommend the rezoning district – but for the wrong reasons. The impact of operating hours and monument signs was only a tiny fraction of the big picture.

This illegal zoning process expedited the rezoning application to the BOA of which seven alderman are experienced and should be well acquainted with due process in  rezoning matters. The BOA proceeded with the process that was a total waste of taxpayer resources. Its May 7th and May 21st meetings became a three-ring circus with the mayor as its ringmaster where Creamer, Ertz, Lightfoot, Melson, Mock and Van Buskirk jumped through hoops to justify to the public their decision to vote for the rezoning.

Call for a Legal Defense Fund

There is short period of time from the signing of the new zoning ordinance to file a lawsuit for lack of due process. City staff are purposely withholding information that should be made available to the public according to Missouri Sunshine laws. Former mayor, Sue Frank, requested documents on May 10th and has yet to receive any portion of her request as of this date.

Litigation to fight city with the backing of Wal-Mart is extremely expensive. We’ve already received pledges towards our goal but your help is needed to make certain we can see it through.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you would support this legal action. Your monetary donation would be tax deductible and cash, check, money order, and credit card accepted. Making monthly payments could be an option.

EMAIL US with your pledge and your commitment to volunteer to raise funds and awareness.

BOA accepts Wal-Mart’s rezoning request with one condition

At 3:00 am on May 22nd, the Board of Alderman voted 6 to 4 to accept Wal-Mart’s request for a Planned Zoning Overlay District with conditions that the operating hours run 6 am to 10 pm. Wal-Mart will have to decide whether or not to accept the terms. Aldermen Creamer, Ertz, Lightfoot, Mock, Melson and Van Buskirk voted to approve the request while Aldermen Josh and Jason Greene and Linda Emerson stated early on in the meeting that they would vote on behalf of their constituents opposed to rezoning.

Ertz, Creamer and Van Buskirk maintained that it was a wise business decision given the land had been vacant so long but then Van Buskirk asked Wal-Mart’s legal counsel if they could give some guarantee that Wal-Mart wouldn’t abandon the building, which counsel could not do. The board bantered around the idea of a demolition clause that would force Wal-Mart to demolish the building should they abandon it – a ridiculous notion since the ground would still be under Wal-Mart ownership.

Mayor Bower made a mistake when he gave only five of ten minutes of public comments to Terry Akins representing two organizations as, Business Manager of IBEW 124 and President of the Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council. Other comments included the voice of a citizen who opined that the whole deal smelled and recalled that he was once in sales and knew all about taking care of customers with Canadian fishing trips and Royals tickets. He offered the first $100 to start a lawsuit.

The wife of a soldier in Afghanistan expounded on the economic devastation that Wal-Mart causes then concluded with a threat of voting aldermen out of office should they continue on this “illicit” path. Other young adults congratulated the city for landing Google Fiber that increased the potential for attracting growth and development but then voiced disappoint over the city’s shortsightedness with the Neighborhood Market project. This was the first meeting where Wal-Mart employees were present to relate their experience of working for a wonderful company that promoted them into management.

Prior to placing their vote, Creamer, Aziere, Melson, Ertz and Van Buskirk offered final comments citing due diligence in studying the issues and welcoming the voice of their constituents then chastising citizens for insulting their integrity and threatening not to reelect them. Melson referred to a lot of “misinformation out there” but then fell short of setting the record straight for her audience. Aziere spoke of how the level of public interest in an issue was the “defining moment” of how the BOA should vote. Then Mayor Bower got on his “soap box” blamed the opposition for dividing the friendly city of Raytown to a level never seen before and, by omission, denying any responsibility for causing the public mistrust in the first place by the lack of transparency in handling the conditional sale of the green space and proposed project negotiations through 2012 until now.

TIME FOR MAYOR BOWER TO COME CLEAN WITH HIS CONFLICT OF INTEREST*

Why is Mayor Bower pushing the Walmart Neighborhood Market against all reason? Surely the mayor is not selling out Raytown for his own personal interest. It’s time for answers.

Ignoring Central Business Design Standards

Walmart’s proposed plan is contrary to sound high-density, mixed-use, multi-tenant urban planning principles that make the best use of land and consequently reap the best economic value in terms of sales and property tax. As a professional architect, how can the mayor ignore two-thirds of the Central Business District plan guidelines that he helped write as chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission in 2002?

Lack of Marketing and Public Notice

The City and elected officials claim that Wal-Mart came to them with their offer. We found no public notices or request for proposal for any of the addresses associated with the green space property on the Daily Record where the City publishes its notices.  Why hasn’t this property been publicly marketed since the Request for Proposal of March 2010 that attracted the huge Ida’s Bridal development?

Denigrating the Voice of the People

The public outcry has been overwhelming with nearly 1100 signatures on the petition against the project. Citizens who sit on city boards and commissions cannot feel free to speak up. Mayor Bower has refused to re-appoint Steve Guenther to the Board of Zoning Adjustment because Guenther, an architect and urban planner, is not “open minded” according to Bower. Why is the Mayor denigrating the public’s valid concerns to “anti-Walmart hysteria” and accusing the opposition of racism, as some Aldermen claim?

Proposed Plan Cloaked in Secrecy

In 2010, Ida’s Bridal development promised a 25,000 sq. ft., two-story, mixed-use, multi-tenant plan consisting of retail, office space, courtyard, chapel and banquet convention. We found no record of closed sessions. During the development’s approval process, Planning Commission and Board of Aldermen meetings were wide open to the public in compliance with this City ordinance: “To the extent possible, and whenever it is apparent that an agenda item will generate widespread public interest, a special session of the board of aldermen will be scheduled and publicized. Participation by all persons attending the special session will be encouraged.”

In contrast, not so with the current proposed Wal-Mart plan. Jeff Clayton of JCM Realty admits to approaching the City in October of 2011 about developing the green space. After the first of the year, Closed Sessions became a regular practice of the Board of Aldermen (BOA), citing statutory provision: “610.021 (2) Leasing, purchase or sale of real estate by a public governmental body where public knowledge of the transaction might adversely affect the legal consideration therefore”.

According to BOA minutes, Closed Sessions citing statute 610.021 (2) were recorded for the meetings of January 3, April 10, May 7, May 15, June 5, June 19 and August 21 of 2012. The BOA surprisingly came out of Closed Session and the subject of the seven (7) closed sessions came to light during the September 4, 2012 meeting. The BOA unanimously passed Resolution R-2544-12, approving the conditional sale of the green space. Mayor Bower denied that any prior negotiation had taken place and claimed that the purchaser was unknown. How could any transacting authority like Mayor Bower sign off of the conditional sale of the property for a huge development project without knowing who is the principal transacting party that is responsible for full payment?  Why then would the mayor attempt to push the sale through by denying the public any notice of the impending transaction and its rights of due process?

Mayor Bower denied to the public that Wal-Mart was the purchaser up to February 2013 while he and City staff met behind the scenes with JCM Realty, White Goss and Wal-Mart representatives to negotiate the proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market design plans during the Fall/ Winter of 2012. On February 27, 2013, the City finally posted the rest of the story, issuing a press release. Why has Mayor Bower been dishonest and secretive throughout the process of the proposed Wal-Mart project, keeping the public in the dark from September 2012 until February 2013?

Mayor Bower’s Close Associations with the Major Players

Perhaps our questions can be answered by reviewing the associations between David Bower, Populous, the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, White Goss, JCM Realty and Wal-Mart.

Consider this:

  • David Bower is Sr. Architect/Principal, specializing in baseball stadiums, for Populous, an international architectural firm known for award-winning stadium designs.
  • Populous was the architectural firm of record for the $545 million renovations of the Truman Sports Complex in 2010.
  • Populous and Bower’s stadium projects create a close working relationship with the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority that “oversees the maintenance and operation of the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex.”  David Bower has been and may still be an Authority member.
  • Jackson County Sports Complex Authority retains Michael T. White and the White Goss firm for its General Counsel.
  • White Goss is the same firm currently engaged by Wal-Mart to represent its application bid for a Planned Zoning Overlay district in downtown Raytown for its Walmart Neighborhood Market.
  • JCM Realty is the realtor engaged by Wal-Mart to represent its acquisition of properties in this region. JCM Realty recently represented Wal-Mart in the Walmart Neighborhood Market case in Springfield, Missouri.
  • David Glass is CEO/Owner of the KC Royals, former Wal-Mart CEO and former member of Wal-Mart Board of Directors. His family serves on the Kansas City Royal’s Board of Directors.

Given these associations, Mayor Bower should have recused himself from “the process” long ago due to a conflict of interest*. Instead, he has been present at meetings with JCM Realty, White Goss and every Planning & Zoning Commission and BOA meeting related to the proposed Wal-Mart project.

Surely the BOA will not ignore the voice of the people. The existence of a 42,000 sq. ft. Walmart Neighborhood Market on the green space will be an everlasting monument that scorned voters will NOT forget.

_____________________________________________________________________
*Conflict of Interest: A situation that has the potential to undermine the impartiality of a person because of the possibility of a clash between the person’s self-interest and professional interest or public interest.

Crime Report doesn’t give City what it needs to alleve fears

In an effort to counter the public’s concern that a Walmart Neighborhood Market will bring crime to downtown, the Board of Alderman requested a crime report. City complied with stats in a 2010-12 crime report for the area grocery stores, namely Walmart, Hy-Vee, Apple Market-63rd and Apple Market-Raytown Rd.

Click to view the Raytown Grocery Crime Report

Click to view OVPK Walmart Neighborhood Market Crime Report

The stats did nothing but add to the validity to the public’s concerns. The City then pulled in the 2010-12 crime report of the Walmart Neighborhood Market in OVERLAND PARK and compared the stats to those of the Raytown Hy-Vee and Apple Markets to get what they wanted.

Nice try, but the comparison doesn’t prove a thing unless the crime report stats for Walmart Neighborhood Market in OVERLAND PARK are compared to the Hy-Vee and Apple Markets in OVERLAND PARK.

Local Business Owner Opposes Zoning Overlay District for Walmart

Sent: Wednesday, May 08, 2013 3:19 PM
To: Board of Alderman

Although I am no longer a resident of Raytown, a sizeable portion of my assets currently remain in and are invested in Raytown.  With emotions running high with the current debate about the “Green Space”, I wanted to be sure to make a few points.

We are not in the grocery business and Wal-Mart is not a competitor. My competitors are located in Johnson County Kansas, North Kansas City, and Lee’s Summit. We all compete for and employ technical and professional people from around the entire Kansas City metropolitan area. Please create an environment that helps me to attract and retain good employees.

Do we want one large store or twenty to thirty small shops in downtown Raytown? It’s simple; you have the choice of one big 42,000 square foot building with a huge parking lot or the potential for 20 to 30 small shops, restaurants, and bars facing the road with sidewalks, trees, and benches. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a grocer or a furniture store; one large building is one large building. Give my employees a reason to stay in, and enjoy Raytown. Raytown has had an Economic Development position for a few short years and just recently has had a responsible owner take over the Raytown Plaza; certainly there will be other opportunities for this space.

The city will not gain any new sales tax revenue. Although there could be a gain if it were a Trader Joes or Whole Food Market – I find it hard to believe someone would drive to Raytown from another city to shop specifically at a Neighborhood Market. 

I’ve heard, “It works in Brookside viewBrookside”.  Take a look at the two maps. Brookside’s Neighborhood Market is on the extreme Northeastern edge of the entire area which is two blocks from Brookside Blvd and an entire block from 63rd street (the two main streets). The proposed site in Raytown is right smack in the middle of everything and will be adjacent to the main thoroughfare.  Hardly a comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve heard, “They are paying more Raytownthan the asking price and are not asking for special tax treatment or TIF’s”. Throwing money around is more commonly known as greasing the wheels to get things done your way. Unfortunately it happens far too often at the state and federal levels – don’t let it happen here. It’s obvious the developer has deep pockets and is currently trying to buy their way in

I’ve heard, “The city should not be in the real estate business”. The city of Raytown got into the real estate business on July 17th, 1950 – the moment Raytown staked out some real estate and incorporated to prevent Kansas City from annexing it. Cities control the Board of Zoning Adjustment and the Planning and Zoning Commissions. Cities regulate zoning so that pig farms aren’t put in neighborhoods and property values are protected. Looking out for the welfare of property values through good planning is the roll of any competent city. Many cities even have land banks to deal with abandoned properties.

With Mayor Bower’s letter to Mr. Guenther that he would not re-nominate him to the Board of Zoning Adjustment; it’s not hard to notice the political games that are being played. I urge you to direct your City Administrator and Economic Development personnel to either reduce the size of the building or find a developer with a downtown vision that fits within downtown main street guidelines.

Sincerely,

Patrick J Searcy
President
POWER ON TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
5893 Raytown Rd S-101
Kansas City, MO 64133
PH: 816.737.2900
FX: 816.737.2909

www.ThinkPowerOn.com 

Local Architect Offers Alternative Plan to Walmart’s

Steve Guenther of Guenther Mills Keating Architects provided an alternative plan for the downtown green space that would include a grocery market, parking and mixed use retail. Here he takes yet another opportunity to educate the public and elected officials on urban planning concepts which he has repeatedly done throughout his public comments at all the Planning and Zoning Commission meetings and the May 7th Board of Alderman meeting. Click here for Guenther’s hand-written response.

On May 7, he writes:

Why Our Downtown Matters to Us and
Why You Should Consider an Alternative Plan

The Four Ds: Density, Diversity, Design and Destination. Each plan for consideration should be evaluated on its own merits to these criteria. (Planning Commissioners Journal, Winter 2007, “Let’s Plan On Walking” by Hannah Twaddell)

  • Downtowns are and should always be extremely efficient in their land use. Compact design destinies lead to walkability and maximized land potential. Always up to the street. (Planning Commissioners Journal, Winter 2005, “Why Downtowns (Should) Matter” by Kennedy Lawson Smith)
  • Downtowns represent an enormous amount of the city, community, private and personal investment. Compact, dense downtowns have a high land value and protect adjacent property values. It Architect Steve Guenther's Alternative Plan to Walmart''smakes fiscal sense to maximize that investment in property and infrastructure. (ibid)
  • Downtowns attract and cultivate locally owned businesses by their distinct character and are not suitable to national big box stores. To be walkable means to think small and minimize the use of cars. Larger stores for groceries should not be permitted to build above a reasonable square footage and must face the front street. Small means in relation to human scale and creating quality spaces. Money stays here. (ibid)
  • Downtowns need to be visionary. Local governments should understand the support the building of a town center. (ibid)
  • Downtowns need to be designed for public spaces and people. People connect with people in downtowns and that creates community and identity. Close proximity of mixed use forces the interaction and this cannot be done over an expansive parking lot. (ibid)
  • Downtowns create new jobs because of their uniqueness and diversity. They do not take away jobs from other sectors. (ibid)
  • Downtowns are true “civic places” where community is celebrated, festivals, parades, eggstravaganza, car shows, food centers, summerfests, etc. Life is celebrated here along with libraries, museums, city hall, banks, etc. all jammed into one small space. We cannot allow one whole city block be devoted to a single entity. (ibid)
  • Downtowns are places where true innovation often occurs. Independent small business started this country and are true incubators. Individuals put all they have into them and ,because of this, downtowns reflect the local charactor of a place to its surroundings. (ibid)
  • Downtowns are the ultimate form of recycling. Land re-use and revitalization saves on infrastructure and the built environment. (ibid)

I say all this so you might add these stipulations if you chose to approve the Planned District.

  1. Make size of store 29,000 sq ft max. Prefer 21,000 sq ft.
  2. Must front on Blue Ridge Blvd.
  3. Separate out a piece of land just for them which would allow for future mixed use to the north and west. 150 ft south of library property line to be their north property line.
  4. Protect rights of businesses on 63rd Street. Any demolition of building would require building a building back. No vacant land on 63rd Street.
  5. Hours of operation 6:30am to 10:30pm.
  6. No monument signs. Only wall signage consistent with urban core design.
  7. Building face must be permeable. [windowed]
  8. Underground street utilities.
  9. No retention ponds

Lots of talk about retention walls which are not needed if a building acts as a wall.

Alderman Aziere says Walmart’s plan is no different than the wedding shop?

At the May 7th Board of Alderman meeting, Alderman Aziere’s echoed the comments of Mayor Bower who commented that public opposition to Walmart’s proposed plan is due to anti-Walmart sentiments and added that there was no public protest from the proposed big box wedding and office building of the past.

Ida Bridal Conceptual Drawing Ida Bridal Proposed PlanIn response, we asked Steve Guenther of Guenther Mills Keating Architects and formerly of the Board of Zoning Adjustment, who personally volunteered his time and expertise to create the development to house Ida’s Bridal. Guenther reminded us that Ida’s Bridal was 25,000 sq ft, two story design that included a specialty bridal shop to draw trade, a chapel for convenience, a banquet convention to seat 500 for the community plus 13,400 sq ft of retail and office space. The plan included a one acre park that could be converted to additional retail. More importantly, the design could easily be re-used by future business entities should the bridal shop fail or leave the area. Click to view the details of this elaborate proposed plan

That’s not even close, folks!

Guenther included an alternative drawing of a plan that would include a market, parking and mixed use retail. He also took the opportunity to educate the public and elected official on urban planning concepts which he has repeatedly done throughout his public comments at all the Planning and Zoning Commission meetings and the May 7th Board of Alderman meeting. Click for alternate plan details.

Raytown Resident writes open letter to Mayor and Board Alderman regarding their disparaging comments

Raytown resident, Judy Wright, asked us to publish this open letter to the mayor and Board of Alderman in response to their disparaging comments at the May 7th Board of Alderman meeting.

Wednesday  May 8, 2013

Open letter to Mayor Bower and the Raytown Board of Alderman

I am a 25 year resident of Raytown, my children having all graduated from Raytown South. I have become deeply rooted to this place, on this Earth, and have great interest in its’ future development. To that end, I have attended both sessions of the zoning board meetings as well as last Tuesday’s Board of Alderman meeting. I sat through these lengthy sessions both to inform myself, and to show support for my fellow citizens of Raytown as they participated in the Public Hearing forum, expressing their concerns for the re-zoning application for our downtown “green space”. I was both stunned and offended by certain disparaging remarks made by the Mayor and three of the Alderman. I wish to comment on those remarks.

Mayor Bower:

After having listened to our heartfelt and passionate pleas to adhere to our legally adopted zoning district, thereby preserving our Raytown identity and future, you characterized it as “ Wal-Mart Hysteria” and stated that you were “tired of these scare tactics.” Additionally, you stated, if it actually were about design standards, you did not see what the problem could be, as Wal-Mart has, line by line, met the standards. This is a patently false statement, as Wal-art persists in its’ demands to abolish the setback standard of 5 feet. This alone guts the vision of a “walk able downtown”  (No small town downtown for us,  only a parking lot for Wal-Mart.) I believe there are also 21 other standards  Wal-Mart has failed to meet.  If Wal- Mart were, in reality, meeting all of the guide lines, there would be no need for a re-zoning application.

Adlerman Ertz:

I believe that somewhere in your rambling comments, you indicated that failure to approve this application would set a “precedent of under protection” for future applicants.  It would seem the reverse to be true. If we give this applicant the permission to construct and operate outside our design standards, what “protection” will Raytown have in the future? How could we realistically require any future applicant to adhere to standards not enforced at this time, for this applicant. This appears to be favoritism rather than free enterprise. What a precedent this new “zoning district” will set!  Again, a parking lot.

Alderman Creamer:

You stated that Wal-Mart has come to be “vilified” because of their success.  You felt this unjust because economic success is what America is about. You stated, “that success” is what we need in Raytown. I would ask you to look at just one of the methods for their success. Wal-Mart employees, taken as a group, are the largest recipients of Medicaid assistance and food stamps in the US.  Wal-Mart employees are subsidized by the American tax payer. Look it up on line, I did: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/dec/06/alan-grayson/alan-grayson-says-more-walmart-employees-medicaid-/    Is this really the way to revitalize our city?

Alderman Van Buskirk:

Thank you for taking time out from the issue of the application to give the  people of Raytown a paternalistic civics lecture. Now we understand how a  representative form of government functions. We had thought the Public Hearing  forum was for the purpose of informing the Board of Alderman, and the Mayor, what the citizens want for their city, what they want for THEIR city. You, however, termed this public process merely a “poll” that you have no obligation to consider when making your decision…..you stated, “otherwise you wouldn’t need me.” Apparently, you don’t need the citizens of Raytown or the Public Hear-ing forum. Perhaps you have forgotten that elections are also part of the repre-sentative form of government. So, dismiss me if you feel you can, dismiss my voice. But I will still be here…as will all the good people of Raytown.  Take away our future…. we will not go down easily.

Mayor Bower, Alderman, I ask you to stop employing scare tactics of your own by presenting this applicant as the only possibility for our future. Please consider the energy, excitement and vision of the young people who have come before you. Please consider also, the experience, commitment, and wisdom of the elders. What of the faith Google has shown in our future. What of the Rock Island, the Katy Trail, our new bike paths, our new bridges. You have the power to be a deciding factor in our future. Wow! You can go down in history as the Mayor, the Board of Alderman, who saved Raytown!

See you on the evening news.

Judy Wright

Walmart Rezoning Application Goes to the Board of Alderman

The Planning and Zoning Commission met Thursday, May 2nd to discuss and render a vote on the Walmart application to re-zone the green space at 6200 Blue Ridge Blvd. Even though the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-4 to deny the application, they serve only as a recommending body to the Board of Aldermen.The Board has the final vote.

WE NEED YOU AT CITY HALL TUESDAY, MAY 7TH!!!!

There is a great deal of confusion regarding the date that Walmart’s rezoning application goes before the Board of Alderman.

  • Mahesh Sharma, City Administrator was quoted in two publications as saying the meeting will be held May 21st, but the City legally posted the public hearing for next Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 at 7 pm.
  • The City stated at the Planning & Zoning meeting on May 2, that the first reading would be on May 7th and the second reading would be May 21st.
  • The City posted on Facebook that the next meeting would be Tuesday, May 7th.

Given the overwhelming public interest in Walmart’s proposal, it’s unfortunate that the City cannot be clear about the dates of these important meetings.

Here are the facts:

The BOA can deny or approve the application.  However, they can only do so after conducting the second reading on the Ordinance. The second reading is to occur on May 21st, unless the Board votes to “suspend the rules” and conduct both readings at the same meeting.  In the past the Board rarely suspended the rules on ordinances and city personnel report they do not anticipate the board will suspend the rules and conduct both readings on May 7th.

PUBLIC COMMENTS CAN BE MADE ON MAY 7TH & MAY 21ST

JOIN US AT CITY HALL!!

Walmart Neighborhood Markets Not Standard 42,000 Sq Ft

Jeff Clayton of JCM Realty appeared before Raytown’s Planning and Zoning Commission on April 25 and claimed that Walmart sent him to look at properties in Raytown as early as 2011. He declared before the commission that the Neighborhood Market footprint must be 42,000 sq ft greatly reduced his options. The former Save-a-Lot location was much too small.

Somebody is not telling the truth. The internet is full of news stories about Walmart Neighborhood Markets and there is no one standard size at all. According to this USA Today story, Neighborhood Markets can be built from 10,000 to 55,000 square feet: Wal-Mart plans to open small stores faster.

Here are just a few examples of reported market’s square footage:

30,000 – Torrence, CA – Wal-Mart to open Torrance store offering groceries

28,000 – Altadena, CA – Walmart Neighborhood Market attracts big crowd for opening day

55,699 – Denver, CO – Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to Villa Monaco Center

32,800 - Joplin, MO – Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to Joplin

41,000 – St Louis, MO – Neighbors mounting campaign against Wal-Mart grocery

52,000 – Boulder, CO – Anti-Walmart group seeks Rite Aid’s help in blocking Neighborhood Market in Boulder

33,000 - Pleasanton, CAWal-Mart’s Neighborhood Market good for Pleasanton

 

 

Former Mayor Sue Frank’s Letter to Residents

Former Mayor Sue Frank of Raytown, Missouri

This letter from former mayor Sue Frank was direct mailed to about 2000 Raytown residents at her own expense. Frank owns a State Farm Insurance agency located at 10014 E. 63rd Street just south of the proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market development.

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03/29/2013
Dear Fellow Resident,

The Board of Alderman voted, unanimously, to sell the downtown green space to a Walmart Neighborhood Grocery store.  In a letter dated February 8th, 2013 Walmart’s attorneys said they are unwilling to comply with the established design and overlay standards that have been developed for downtown. Walmart now wants the City to give them their own special ‘district’ for this property. I believe this idea poses serious concerns for our community.
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Economic Development Admin’s Response to Small Business

City of Raytown, Missouri

 

 

 

 

From:      Tom Cole
Sent:       Monday, February 11, 2013, 11:50 AM
To:          elisab55@att.net
Cc:          Mahesh Sharma
Subject:  Walmart Neighborhood Market

Elisa [Breitenbach]:

A few weeks ago, I promised to provide you with an update when the City received something formal regarding the downtown property.

The City received a few elevations (exterior sketches) and a very basic site plan from Walmart Neighborhood Market on Friday afternoon February 8, 2013. It is very basic and they identify some challenges they believe the firm may encounter in complying with the downtown design standards. In November, we met with the projects’ design engineers to discuss the expectations foa a projects of this size (in downtown) and the requirements the City has in place relative to design, aesthetics, access. etc. The individual from JMC Realty also met with the Main Street Association to share similar concepts. These were all “big picture” or “what if” conversations. City staff provided the design guidelines and the project engineers agreed to start drafting a site plan to submit after the first of the year. Read more

Wal-Mart Requests Special Planned Zoning Overlay District

White, Goss, Bowers, March, Shulte & Weisenfel, the law firm representing Walmart indicated in a letter dated February 7, 2013, that “since Walmart Neighborhood Market is not compatible with the duly adopted Town Overlay District and Central Business District Plan Guidelines, Wal-Mart requests that the Planning Commission and Board of Alderman create a Planned Zoning Overlay District so your professional staff, Planning Commission, Board of Alderman have latitude and flexibility with respect to the location of buildings, structures, roads, drives, open spaces and uses.” In other words, make an exception to the design standards especially for Walmart.

This letter also cites that, on November 28, 2012, a meeting took place between Wal-Mart Design Team, undersigned counsel, and various members of City staff to present the proposed layout of the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 62nd & Blue Ridge Blvd. – back when the City claimed they did not know for whom JCM Realty was purchasing the green space.

Click here to read the letter.