Mallory Herrmann

Reece Nichols will be getting a new building in downtown Lee’s Summit. The city council unanimously approved the preliminary development plan at their Sept. 20 meeting, but not before more than two hours of discussion with the developer, city staff and public commenters.

The office will be a two-story building with 10,000 square feet of office space on Main Street near SE Third Street. The application was filed by Engineering Solutions, a local engineering and surveying firm, in conjunction with Dusty Dahmer, the developer.

Much of the conversation centered around parking and alleyway concerns. Several local business and property owners came forward to voice concerns about safety, with doors opening onto the alley from the Got Art Gallery on Third, Grains & Taps, Midwest Vacuums, and other tenants.

Shane Veritasi, owner of downtown businesses including The W and Hand in Glove, said that the alley is too narrow for two-way vehicle traffic.

“We’re turning it into a flow pattern that is not safe,” Veritasi said, suggesting that it could work as a one-way street from Third Street.
When the proposal went before the planning commission, they also had numerous concerns regarding parking issues. Staff had recommended approval of the project but without the proposed surface parking lot.

Dave Eames, president of the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street board of directors, spoke in favor of the development. He said that they’d had lots of discussion with the city and with the developer over the last few months and that they’re in support of the project. Eames referenced a letter of support in the packet, but one wasn’t there.

Mayor Bill Baird responded with surprise, noting that it had seemed that DSLMS had not been in support of the project. He said he was glad to hear that they were for the project but “I don’t know when this transition happened.” DSLMS had been called out at the planning commission’s meeting by Jason Norbury, the commission’s chair, for not weighing in on the project, whether in support of or in opposition to the proposal.

Baird also expressed frustration that so many outstanding issues and questions surrounding the parking had not been finalized before coming before the city council, Assistant City Manager Mark Dunning noted that the applicant wanted to move forward with the public hearing in spite of the unresolved parking lot.

The plan approved by the city council includes the surface parking lot with 46 spaces, subject to final design and engineering. A possible two-story 2,625 square foot building on SW Market Street, opposite the parking lot, will require its own preliminary development plan to move forward.

Staff will consider moving forward with the one-way traffic suggestion for the alley and some additional recommendations to bring for council consideration.

Councilmembers Craig Faith and Diane Forte were absent.