Tuesday, Mar. 05 2013 3:42PM
Council accepts DT design standards
By Russ Pulley
Any new construction in downtown Lee’s Summit won’t have a space-age look.
Design standards to require new buildings or renovations to be compatible with historic structures got preliminary approval from the City Council Feb. 28.
The council voted 7-1, with Councilmember Bob Johnson voting no, to draft an ordinance amending the city’s Unified Development Ordinance so that it includes rules for materials, size and appearace of new buildings or major renovatons.
The standards would encourage masonry construction and forbid some materials, such as a faux-brick plastic veneer.
It would require new buildings to match setbacks of adjacent buildings, and have similar roof lines.
Christine Bushyhead, a member of the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Inc. committee which worked on the standards, said they promote redevelopment because it helps lessen risk for investors.
Standards would prevent a structure being built next door that doesn’t match the area and would hurt property values, she said.
“You want it to be consistent,” Bushyhead said. “You want to make sure your neighbor is held to the same standard.”
The proposed amendment had several revisions as the committee heard from residents living in the area and also after a public hearing at the Planning Commission. Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Inc. has been working on the project with the city planners for a couple of years.
For example, residents in the “transition zone,” a hodgepodge of residences that are used as residences and residential structures used as businesses, didn’t want to apply for an external renovation permit for routine maintenance, so they’re exempted.
Another exception allows those owners to replace existing metal or vinyl siding that needs to be repaired, which is a material that would be forbidden under the new standards.
The council decided to assign the UDO revisions to a council committee for further tweaking before the final vote. For example, it would work making requirements for “quality” materials more specific, such as setting a minimum at a 30- or 40-year warranty composition roof, to provide clarity to applicants.
Johnson questioned several provisions of the amendment, such as restrictions on slopes for a roof or a building being offset farther from the street than others next door.
“Here we go again, interfering with some private sector decisions people should be allowed to make, particularly residential,” Johnson said.