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The Raytown Main Street Association would like to thank everyone for your support on the Green Space Proposed Land Use issue.
April 15, 2013
To: The Citizens of Raytown, MO
RE: Green Space Proposed Land Use
To view the entire document and exhibits click here
The Raytown Main Street Association (RMSA) is a group of downtown businesses, community businesses, citizens and volunteers who believe that a strong, vibrant downtown creates community. RMSA exists to educate, support and promote economic welfare and revitalization of the central business district.
On February 8, 2013 The City of Raytown received a proposed site plan and elevations from the potential developers of the Downtown Green Space, and a letter from their attorneys. This letter gave a review of staff comments from a November 28, 2012 meeting between the city and the developer which never mentioned the Town Square Overlay District or the Central Business District Design Guidelines. It did mention how they produced six different sketch plans addressing staff comments and how they could or couldn’t satisfy them. In conclusion they stated that their project “is not compatible with the duly adopted Town Overlay District or the Central Business District Design Guidelines”. Therefore, they will be requesting from the Planning Commission and the Board of Alderman the adoption of a Planned Zoning Overlay District. This new district will provide to staff, the Planning Commission and the Board of Alderman the flexibility to approve their plan without community opinion and with total disregard to our current land use standards.
The Raytown Main Street Association, after much consideration, evaluation, and conversations with the Missouri Main Street Association, has established the following comments in opposition to the proposed land use plan from this developer for this site. We stand by the current Town Square Overlay District Plan and the currently established Central Business District Design Standards for the following reasons:
- The developer’s proposed land use plan does not meet the original vision established by the many resources used to formulate the overlay and design standards. Hundreds of citizen volunteers and many organizations have spent thousands of hours, numerous efforts, and substantial resources that include thousands of taxpayer dollars, grants and personal contributions to develop the current guidelines and standards. The guidelines and standards are still as applicable today as when they were developed in 2002 and 2003. They have since been enacted into municipal law by ordinance.
- The developer’s proposed land use plan does not support the ideas of good urban planning. As quoted from the book City Comforts: How to Build an Urban Village, “Three Rules of Urban Design”:
- Build to the sidewalk (i.e. property line). Fronts of building face directly to street.
- Make the building front “permeable” (i.e. no blank walls). Pedestrians want to see what is going on or available inside.
- Prohibit parking lots in front of the building.
- This single land use entity does not support the ideals of mixed use (i.e. retail, office and residential) that were the thoughts of the many participants who developed our current standards. This same site could support a neighborhood market similar to the Price Chopper in Brookside along with additional mixed use retail (square footage is available for possibly 20 separate retail shops and restaurants), office space, residential units, and even a one acre Downtown City Park. Compare Exhibit ‘A’ from our Central Business District Plan which we support to Exhibit ‘B’ from the proposed development.
- The developer’s proposed land use plan does not support the full potential of this site and therefore, the potential land use of adjacent sites can be compromised. Retailers, restaurants, professional offices, hotels, etc. want to be associated with other retailers, restaurants, and amenities (i.e. community centers) because together they can offer more to the consumer. Single retail entities do not draw retail shoppers at the same level as multiple retail entities and mix use. Multiple retailer and mixed use makes urban areas vibrant.
- This site is one of the most prime sites in the heart of the downtown area. It is already owned by we the Citizens of Raytown, approximately six square feet each. This single land use plan entity will control two important intersections at 62nd Street and a third intersection at Blue Ridge Blvd. and 63rd Street where we just developed plans for the city’s new streetscape improvements. Communities are identified by their downtowns, Kansas City Power & Light District, Brookside, Lee’s Summit, etc. Therefore what we allow to be built here will identify us to the rest of Kansas City.
- This plan’s overall size and scope does not conform to the image, character and identity we are striving to create in a revitalized downtown. People come to shop downtown stores (like downtown Lee’s Summit or Brookside) for the variety of unique shops, restaurants and other experiences. They want to plan a portion of their day to see many things and enjoy quality public spaces in safe pedestrian environments. They want to experience a multitude of architectural designs that relate to a sense of human scale. This fosters interaction and communication. Compare the images in Exhibits ‘C’ which support the current design standards and overlay district to those images of Exhibit ‘D’ of the proposed development.
- We feel the developer’s land use plan is shortsighted. It gives us a short term gain over long term potential especially when you factor in the possible development of the Rock Island Corridor for future light rail and the extension of the Katy Trail. The $650,000.00 purchase offer is a minor token of the lands true value of worth to this community. The city may have purchased the land for $500,000.00, but tax payers spent another $500,000.00 to tear the old facility down. It’s not always about dollars and cents and what might be offered. It is about what we communicate to ourselves and our surrounding communities what we are worth as a people. At some point in time we need to decide we don’t have to settle for less. That we can give reason to attracting young people back into our community and that our visions can become a reality.
RMSA, in keeping with the proven strategies of the National & State Main Street Associations, believes the best approach to downtown redevelopment is through the support of a variety of small businesses in creating a sense of community and history in a walkable environment that supports good urban design. See Exhibit ‘E’, pages 32, 34, 35 and 36 directly from our Central Business District Plan.
As such we support the regulation of the current Downtown Design Standards and the Town Square Overlay District, which support the community-oriented approach of multiple small businesses and mixed use. These standards were drafted, recommended and put in to place by citizens and leader s of our town. While small changes may be necessary to adapt to changing times, the overall scope and plan must not be abandoned to suit short-term gains.
The Board of Directors
Raytown Main Street Association
RMSA takes a stand on the Walmart Neighborhood Market
New Raytown Walmart? Retail giant considering grocerystore for empty downtown lot
KSHB Channel 41
By: Zach Tecklenburg
March 3, 2013
RAYTOWN, Mo. - Downtown Raytown is a far cry from the good old days in the 1960s and '70s.
"We had a lot of Main Street businesses right on the streetfront," business owner Sue Frank said. Today, things have changed. Many stores have closed as Raytown's main business district moved along 350 Highway.
As the second-generation owner of an insurance agency and former Raytown mayor, Frank wants to be around for the city's second hey day. But she worries about what could pop up right behind her E. 63rd Street business.
A Walmart Neighborhood Market is proposed for a city-owned lot at E. 62nd Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard. Walmart has put down a $5,000 deposit for the empty land as it studies the possibility of the store.
Frank doesn't want it.
"That becomes the image of your community, rather than the neighborhood character and downtown feel that we've been trying to develop for a long time," Frank said.
The Raytown Main Street Association has a vision for the downtown area, calling for a more attractive streetscape, obscured parking lots and big windows on storefronts.
Main Street Association president Steven Guenther said he doesn't oppose Walmart itself, rather the size and look of the 42,000-square foot store.
"It would be a dramatic setback," Guenther said.
The downtown area has design standards as new businesses come in. The city of Raytown said Walmart has requested to opt out of those guidelines for its proposed store.
Guenther envisions a town square-type atmosphere for the empty lot with a larger number of small retailers. He thinks Raytown needs to wait for a different plan.
"I think we have to realize at some point in time, we can have something better," Guenther said.
If Walmart decides to move forward with the plan, it would pay Raytown $650,000 for the four-acre lot that used to be home to the First Baptist Church.
Before the store can be built, the plan must first pass Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission and a vote by the Board of Aldermen.