November 14, 2020

By Mallory Herrmann
Staff Reporter

The city council and planning commission met again this week to discuss the Ignite Comprehensive Plan, a strategic plan to aid in generational planning for the City of Lee’s Summit.

The three-hour session covered four of the ten building blocks, identified by Shockey Consulting, that will “support a more vibrant community for all generations.” Addressing the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the group discussed how to best preserve natural resources, enhance single-family neighborhoods, strengthen community anchors and strengthen the downtown.

At a September session, the same group was asked to embody a series of avatars to help broaden their viewpoints of community needs across generational and demographic differences. Having identified some of the key needs and desires the city can expect to see over the next 20, 40 or 60 years, the council and commission is now tasked with creating a vision to meet those needs.

Sheila Shockey, who led the discussion, noted that the work-from-home pivot seen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic this year is already changing how we use office space – and how people decide where to live.

“High-performing suburbs with a good quality of life, such as yourselves: you’re going to draw more people to your community that can work out of their house and have a job in other parts of the country,” Shockey said. “We’re already seeing that trend in the Midwest.”

The discussion ranged over a variety of topics related to four key categories: preserving existing resources for future generations, enhancing the city’s foundation of single-family neighborhoods, strengthening community assets, and transforming the areas that have the greatest need for attention.

Shockey encouraged the councilmembers and commissioners to think about how to prioritize greenspace in development planning, to reassess traffic needs in the downtown district, and to consider the trend of accessory dwelling units (often called granny flats, a smaller residential unit built on the same lot as a primary dwelling unit).

Commissioner Dana Arth said this is a great opportunity to be strategic when it comes to stormwater. She said that the city often “puts the cart before the horse” and tries to adapt infrastructure around already planned (or already built) development.

Mayor Pro Tem Beto Lopez echoed that sentiment, calling for the city to pay close attention to infrastructure needs.

The workshop series with the city council and planning commission will be continued with three additional sessions led by Shockey Consulting. The consulting firm will also be hosting community workshops next week to get feedback from residents. The recommendations and feedback that is compiled from this process will be used to inform the city’s long-term strategies and policies.

All councilmembers were present via teleconference for the Nov. 10 session. Commissioner Jake Loveless was absent from the planning commission.

Visit www.igniteourfuture.net for more information about the strategic planning and survey results.