Lee’s Summit City Council approves downtown redevelopment at Third and Market

rpulley@lsjournal.comOctober 8, 2013 

This vacant building at Third and Market streets in Lee’s Summit can be razed and replaced with a new all-brick structure for an orthodontics clinic, in a development approved by Oct. 3 by the City Council, which will hear a proposal for tax abatement for the project on Oct. 10

RUSS PULLEY — The Journal

A plan to redevelop the southwest corner of Third and Market streets in downtown Lee’s Summit is going forward despite opposition from a downtown organization.

The Lee’s Summit City Council voted 6-1 at its Oct. 3 meeting to accept the site plan and architecture for a proposed clinic for orthodontist Craig Grider. Council member Kathy Hofmann voted no and Dave Mosby was absent.

The initial vote to draft an ordinance approving the project was closer, 4-3, but Councilman Ed Cockrell switched his vote.

Cockrell said he thought the building should be on the corner of Third and Market, with most of the parking to the west, first voting no along with Hofmann and Council member Allan Gray.

When the council had to consider voting on the ordinance, Cockrell said he’d expressed his opinion and would change his vote as to not delay the project. Gray also changed sides.

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main St. Inc. opposed Grider’s plan, saying the architecture and placement of a 3,000-square-foot building on the lot didn’t conform to the recently adopted downtown design standards.

No one from that organization contacted on Oct. 4 commented on the vote.

Executive Director Trisha Drape said she had missed the meeting because she was busy working preparations for the weekend Lee’s Summit Art Festival. She said she needed to review the meeting recording and documents before commenting.

The organization did send a letter to the council but did not have a representative speak during the public hearing on the site plan.

Grider also is seeking tax abatement for the project and that request is scheduled for a hearing Oct. 10.

Downtown Main Street contends that because Grider’s project is the first under the new standards the city should enforce strict adherence.

Grider, who has a practice in Lee’s Summit, is going to tear down a long-vacant gas station that’s at the rear of the lot. He plans to replace it with a new clinic a few feet off the property line of Third Street, with parking behind.

The downtown standards call for the building to be on the front property line.

However, the site is in transition area between 1900-vintage buildings and newer structures on the west of downtown so the slight setback fits, said Linda Tyrrel, deputy director of planning and development.

She said city staff supports Grider’s plan because it fulfills the major components of the design standards. It will be brick masonry on all sides.

In another deviation, instead of a brick wall to screen parking from Third and Market streets, Grider intends to build brick columns with wrought-iron fence between.

After negative comments at Planning Commission, he did change the design for the building’s windows to make them more symmetrical.

Tyrrel said the city ordinances allow the City Council to make decisions on a case-by-case basis to allow some variations. Developments often have unique circumstances and sorting out the right approach is the purpose of public hearings, she said.

“We made a pretty strong effort to meet the design standards,” Grider said. “We made strong effort to revitalize this location.”

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