Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 5:34PM
Wal-Mart, store #2, part 2
By Russ Pulley
Two opposite approaches for Lee’s Summit economic development could meet head-on in March, with the City Council voting on a subsidy for a Price Chopper and separately for approval of a Wal-Mart Supercenter – but without incentives.
The Wal-Mart project was almost derailed when the council voted 4-3 Feb. 7 against rezoning property for the project when several council members expressed concerns about traffic congestion.
Wal-Mart representatives left the meeting after the vote, but the council continued debating that outcome and council members who voted down the rezoning agreed to reconsider the issue. There was some uncertainty at the time whether Wal-Mart would withdraw its proposal.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to continue the approval process, said Mayor Randy Rhoads and Christine Busyhead, a lawyer representing the corporation.
Bushyhead said in an interview Feb. 18 the company is not offering any additional improvements than it had already agreed to provide.
She said there are negotiations with another property owner to extend a road from Wal-Mart’s southern-most driving aisle to the west and then south to connect with Missouri 150.
That would provide additional route for people to access the Wal-Mart and open more land for commercial development. Another improvement being discussed is extending Summitcrest Drive to intersect with that road.
“We think that could be a good opportunity if that could happen,” Bushyhead said.
That tentative plan would have “right-in” and “right-out” only turn lanes the road’s intersection with Missouri 150, Bushyhead said. Another improvement being discussed is extending SW Summit Crest Drive to intersect with that road, she said.
But those ideas aren’t a requirement of the development plan being considered. That plan does include an additional turning lane for Market Street where the Supercenter is to be built.
The council tentatively agreed to a special session Feb. 28 to discuss Wal-Mart’s project, which sets up a timeline for a final vote in March.
The public hearing for Wal-Mart could be reopened, if necessary, if there is additional information to put in the public record. The final Wal-Mart decision is tentatively scheduled for March 14.
Rhoads said the special session depends on whether any of the council members have scheduling conflicts and the Wal-Mart issue could be postponed until a later date.
Expected on the March 7 agenda is a final vote on a Price Chopper at U.S. 50 and Todd George Parkway and a tax-increment financing amendment is expected.
Also to be considered is an agreement with Missouri Department of Transportation for funding the Blackwell Road interchange with U.S. 50.
The city council, in split decision with Rhoads breaking the tie, gave preliminary approval to amending a TIF district giving Price Chopper a subsidy capped at $5 million.
The TIF district was approved in 2007 but only the Lee’s Summit Medical Center development has occurred in the district. That slow progress influenced several council members to support the subsidy, because the TIF district overall was created to improve the highway interchanges and street network in that area.
Ball’s Food Stores and West Star Co. also have agreed to build improvements such as a larger storm water detention system and sewer lines to help alleviate existing flooding in neighborhood north of the proposed subdivision.