By Leilani Haywood
Tribune Reporter

The City of Lee’s Summit is offering $155,000 to Chad Anderson of Enterprise LLC for his building at 1305 Jefferson St. Anderson has found two comparable buildings in Independence for $375,000. “The city wants to widen the road to three lanes and I’m for something that needs to happen,” says Anderson. “On July 5th I received a letter of an offer from the city. The city appraiser said he pulled values of comparable buildings in Independence, Kansas City and Grandview.” Lee’s Summit Council is considering two ordinances – 18-40 and 18-41 that would initiate condemnation proceedings to add sidewalks, a shared path and easements for temporary road construction for road improvements associated with the Jefferson Street Improvement Project (Oldham Rd. to Persels Rd.)

“How are they justifying taking our building when right of way doesn’t hit our building?” said Anderson. “They don’t need to come into our building for this whole project. The current access management code allows us to have access to our building. The new one being voted would restrict access. How can the city take our entire property if none of the easements touch our building?” He added that the only way he can stay in business is to construct a new building in Lee’s Summit or move to a comparable building in Independence that costs an additional $220,000. Ordinance 18-40 deals with access to right of way that’s 32 feet from his building. Anderson said the ordinances should have a public hearing.

Another business owner, Randy Fields, said he has been in business with his wife for 10 years. “I understand what the city is trying to do by forcing eminent domain. My wife runs the company and she does things most women wouldn’t do to put her kids through college. And now we’re being forced out because of this beautification project city of Lee’s Summit. You can’t find any property close to what we have in Lee’s Summit.”

Fields added that the company is up for a $30 million to $50 million contract with Honeywell which would bring jobs to Lee’s Summit. “I’ve been offered half a million for the square footage and nowhere in Lee’s Summit can we find a building remotely close to what we have now. This is s a serious matter that will affect a lot of people.”

Mark Epstein, an attorney representing the owners at 1321 Persels said the city’s definition of “necessity” was tricky. “The problem we’re running into is the valuation concept,” said Epstein. “Property owners can’t afford to go anywhere else.”

The widening of Jefferson Street with sidewalks and a shared use path and easements doesn’t affect his client’s building. “The necessity to take 1301 Jefferson isn’t there since the easements don’t impact his building,” said Epstein. “You can widen the road and have the easement and not hit the building. We object to the adoption of 18-40 which precludes our clients from keeping existing access.”

Epstein added that “the only reason building at 1305 taken is because of access. You can do all of that and not disturb the building. You’re acquiring half a million building you don’t need.” Lee’s Summit City Council Mayor Pro Tem Rob Binney said, “This is an example of trying to keep Lee’s Summit businesses here and keep Lee’s Summit jobs. How could the city be helpful to keep businesses here with an incentive or property tax abatement?” The ordinances were voted unanimously forwarded for consideration on March 15, 2018.