Independence City Council narrowly approves Bass Pro apartments

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Plans for an apartment complex across from Bass Pro Shops in South East Independence can go ahead.

City Council narrowly approved Case Development’s rezoning request to build more than 280 apartments south of Hobby Lobby in the Falls at Crackerneck Creek complex. The council also amended the tax increase funding agreement that governs development in that region, allowing residential development in an area that city officials had hoped in 2004 would be the site of a commercial and commercial boon. .

In a 4-3 vote, Council members John Perkins, Karen DeLuccie and Dan Hobart and Mayor Eileen Weir voted for rezoning, while Mike Huff, Brice Stewart and Mike Steinmeyer voted no. Huff voted for the TIF amendment in a 5-2 vote that otherwise reflected the rezoning vote.

Oklahoma-based Case Development plans a 285-unit, 23-building complex on 13.5 acres on Bass Pro Drives. The market-priced apartments would be one- and two-bedroom units, with rents ranging from around $ 1,000 to $ 1,300, with garages, a clubhouse and a pool, according to city documents.

The development of retail and commerce in the area around the Bass Pro Shops happened much more slowly than expected prior to the 2008-09 recession. For a few years, this made a big dent in the city budget to cover bond payments before a few refinancing deals lowered and extended debt payments, and the city budget failed. never fully benefited from the region’s tax revenues.

Case did not request any tax incentives for the apartments. Bill Moore, a local attorney representing the developers, said if the project is approved, the city will receive about $ 1.3 million in a special debt fund, and Case will also contribute $ 150,000. to other tax jurisdictions, such as the school district. and library system.

Change of strategy

When a completely different board voted for the entire Crackerneck Creek plan in 2004, DeLuccie said, “We had big visions in the days of retail development. While some did materialize, the majority did not. ”

DeLuccie said she wanted to be able to consider retail in this prime location, “but I’m not,” and that the city would benefit more from property taxes than if the land remained vacant, she added.

Steinmeyer said he had heard concerns about what a no vote would mean for potential future developers, but he was “more concerned with what we are communicating to our citizens” and said that approving a third d ‘Upscale apartments in the South East of Independence would be a “typical gut response” when retail could positively turn back the clock.

“I’m just wondering how the apartments are going to get us out of this mess,” he said. “The person who would be qualified to rent one could afford a house in this town. ”

“I’m not going to be myopic and make a decision because nothing else is working. I’m sorry, we can do better.

Huff questioned why the city would do business with a developer who had not paid their obligations soon after development began, adding that he was not as opposed to the project as he was to the location.

A neighbor asked how the city would compensate for the potential loss in sales tax revenue and whether a yet-to-come housing study would even show a need for such housing in the city. Another neighbor said he was concerned that the apartment complex has the same name (The Falls) as a neighboring subdivision. Holmes Osborne said the city “doesn’t need to do TIF”, already has enough apartments and that with its population it should still be able to attract business to this top-notch property.

Another citizen, Jeff Rogers, said the vision for this land had changed and the increase in residence would benefit not only the immediate area but also other areas of the city and should not cancel the potential construction of single-family homes.

Delay the vote?

Steinmeyer had asked to postpone the vote until the city’s ethics committee could review the real estate developer’s contributions to certain council members over the years in the event of conflicts of interest. A citizen, Kenneth Love, said these council members should abstain from voting because of such contributions.

This motion was defeated with only Huff, Stewart and Steinmeyer voting yes.

Weir had pointed out that several council members had likely received contributions from the firefighters union, and no one abstained when the council recently approved the city’s new contract with the union. After the vote, she noted that she received $ 50 from developer, Byron Constance, in 2011, as well as $ 500 over three years from Moore – out of more than $ 220,000 in total since running for. first time on the board almost a decade ago.

The Case project would be the third such apartment complex under construction in a short period of time in southeast Independence, with the Spanos Apartments across from Jackson Creek Villages and Grace Apartments near Children’s Mercy East. Only the Spanos project is publicly incited, with industrial links that the city does not support.


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