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After Nearly Five Hours No Decision On Proposed Second Lee's Summit Walmart
February 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Tribune Photo/Matthew Taylor
By Mary Pechar Features@lstribune.net
Primary discussion at Thursday night’s five hour City Council regular session revolved around the proposed Walmart planned for 3410 SW Market Street near the 291 and M-150 interchange.
After initial presentations by the development team headed by Attorney Christine Bushyhead, members of the Citizens for Responsible Development presented the results of their research.
Key points of concern from Councilmembers and citizens alike boiled down to traffic and safety.
Despite approval by MODOT and City staff of the Walmart traffic study, analysis and proposed improvements, Councilmembers and Citizens shared concerns regarding the accuracy and sufficient long term impact. The Council discussed directing City staff to conduct an analysis and study of traffic patterns of full build out of that area.
The Citizens group presented their analysis of safety impact based on Raidsonline data for the current Tudor Road Walmart.
Police Chief Joseph Piccinini was able to provide more specific data that shows: 2011 Calls 618 Reported Crime Incidents 175 2012 Calls 683 Reported Crime Incidents 250
These statistics were based only on the Walmart property at Tudor Road and not the surrounding neighborhood area. He also addressed citizen’s concern over response time with the proposed locations being further from Police Headquarters. He explained how the city is divided into patrol districts and the responding officers should already be in the vicinity.
The Citizens group was also concerned with the potential impact on their property values. Studies referenced by each group provided conflicting data as they were based on studies representing different areas and data.
Councilmember Mosby proposed directing City Staff to draft an ordinance approving the re-zoning. The discussion rapidly deteriorated with more traffic analysis concerns and resulted in the motion being denied. Further discussion came full circle with City Manager Arbo acknowledging Traffic Engineer Michael Parks’ assertions that the traffic study approved by MODOT and City staff already contained the analysis being requested.
It did not appear that all Councilmembers realized that their Ney vote would in fact force Walmart initiate the application process over again. There was then concern expressed that they would even be willing to reapply.
Arbo apologetically chastised the council for not being consistent in their expectations from one application to the next while the City staff consistently applies the same standards to each application and resulting recommendations. He also took responsibility for not better preparing the Council.
Council then voted to reconsider the previous action which would allow the current application to remain on the table as is, in process not approved or denied. Arbo stated he would be contacting Walmart to attempt to move forward in addressing the additional traffic concerns.
It is not surprising that the council wanted to retract their decision when Arbo and several council members expressed concern that the city might lose Walmart altogether. There were comments from council members that the city needed the sales tax money the store would generate. Of course there is never any concern over whether that tax money would just be subtacted from other merchants tax revenue or how magically the citizens have more discrectionary money just because Walmart opens.
The council pretty much is like most.....get money now for current needs so we can spend more. Don't worry about the long term effects on Road conditions, property values, police costs or the effect on local merchants.
February 9th, 2013 at 16:14
the crime rate really made me think again about having another Walmart. I live close to this area and my streets are already busy because of the street leading to the new mall and the newer city hall. After reading the article I would oppose.