Tuesday, Dec. 04 2012 4:55PM
Downtown designs determined
By Russ Pulley
The City Council’s subcommittee on development is looking at where donation and recycling bids in Lee’s Summit are placed in town.
It also recently gave its approval to sending mandatory design standards for downtown Lee’s Summit to a public hearing at the Planning Commission.
The design standards, an amendment to the city’s Unified Development Code, will apply to new construction and major remodels to make sure work conforms to the general appearance and scale of the historic downtown area.
The proposed standards were reviewed Nov. 28 by the city’s Community and Economic Development Committee.
Christine Bushyhead, a member of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street’s design committee, said the standards will help provide stability to the area so property owners who invest in restoring buildings have assurances new construction will be compatible with their investment.
The proposed standards allow routine repairs in the downtown core without getting permits, but otherwise major renovations or new construction will need to meet the standards, she said.
Councilmember Allan Gray suggested one refinement, that the regulations should allow some street-level areas for sidewalk cafes, which would be eliminated if there was a strict adherence to setbacks for downtown. In the era downtown was built building fronts came right up to the sidewalk.
The committee had few questions, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street has been working with the city on the standards for many months, and it referred the proposed amendments to the Planning Commission for public hearing.
In another issue discussed by the committee, Councilmember Rob Binney raised concerns about collection bins being used for recycling at schools and receiving donations at non-profits in the city.
He said there was a problem with bins in parking lots of vacant businesses such as the Sears Grand building which become unsightly with trash dropped around them. It makes it harder to encourage redevelopment of those sites, he said.
“It looks like an unloved or unwanted space,” Binney said.
Binney also noted the bins sometimes are being located in prominent locations where the city might prefer to provide a better view. One example, he said, are the bins located at Red Racks at Third and Green streets.
Binney said he didn’t know if situation needed ordinance revisions or better enforcement.
The committee asked city staff to make an inventory of the bins, with photographs, documenting the numbers, sites and their condition, to give the committee more background for its next discussion of the collection bins.