News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Blue Springs seeing more retail

clock December 11, 2008 02:00 by author Jeff Quibell

Jeff QuibellA much divided Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of zoning and comprehensive plan changes for two commercial projects on Adams Dairy Parkway Monday evening.

Several planning commissioners expressed concerns that these projects do not reflect the original flex/tech office plans for the parkway in Blue Springs. Adams Dairy Parkway and the Mall at Fall Creek are just two examples of projects that stagnated for more than a decade because our leaders refused to be flexible when reasonable alternatives were presented. In the more recent past, City Council and Planning Commission members have recognized that our city must be open to new ideas for development and must let go of long-held concepts that were not being realized.

For many years, the Mall at Fall Creek sat mostly empty, with only a few tenants open for business. I’m happy to report it will soon be fully leased. When our leaders are willing to adapt to changing needs and trends in the marketplace, the business community responds. By agreeing to change the requirements for the project, doors of opportunity were opened. Similarly, when the council agreed to modifications to the plan for Adams Dairy Parkway, new projects immediately began to come forward. More...


Why spend tax dollars needlessly?

clock December 4, 2008 03:00 by author Jeff Quibell

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a little confused. At the City Council meeting Monday evening, the council again discussed changing the status of the city attorney from a contract position to that of a full-time employee.

Councilman Sheila Solon said her primary goal was to save taxpayer dollars. While I agree with her goal, I’m confused by her logic and reasoning.

Just last year, the council explored the costs and benefits of making this change. That review included an examination of our current costs and a comparison with neighboring cities. It was determined that this change would increase the cost to the taxpayers by anywhere from $16,000 to $49,000 annually. This study is available for your review at www.AboutBlueSprings.com/page/AttyStudy.aspx. More...


More retail options on the horizon

clock November 20, 2008 10:22 by author Jeff Quibell

City Council meetings vary from routine administrative tasks to interesting topics of discussion. At, times, understanding the motivations and decisions of our elected leaders involves reading between the lines. Other times, the motivation or decision-making is much more obvious.

clip_image002This past Monday evening, RED Development gave the Blue Springs City Council an update on the Adams Diary Landing shopping center project. Julie Jurden, vice president of development for RED, along with other representatives of the company, gave an excellent presentation on what we can expect over the coming months.

Jurden’s presentation indicated that 77 percent of the shopping center’s space has been sold, leased or accounted for with a letter of intent to occupy space. She noted that ordinances would be brought before the council in December in preparation for the first issuance of bonds for the project. Road work on Coronado Drive and Adams Dairy Parkway should be complete by spring. The work on Coronado in front of Wal-Mart and Home Depot is being staged to minimize disruption during and after the holidays.

Construction on the new Target is under way, and we should see additional stores under construction in a matter of weeks. Construction on Lowe’s is scheduled to begin in March. Target is expected to open in July or August, with the grand opening of the shopping center currently scheduled for next fall. It is exciting for our community that even in the current economic climate, this project continues to move forward as promised.

December’s City Council meetings should be interesting to watch as the council considers the final financing steps for the shopping center. Over the course of this project, the debate has been lively. It is my opinion that this project is revitalizing a blighted neighborhood and is critical to bringing the shopping and dining our citizens desire, right here in Blue Springs. It also addresses the retail tax leakage that Blue Springs has suffered from for many years. I would encourage you to watch December’s meetings and learn more about our elected leaders and how they represent us.


Blue Springs addresses multifamily housing

clock November 13, 2008 15:47 by author Jeff Quibell

At the most recent meeting of the Blue Springs City Council, the Multi-Family Task Force presented its final recommendations. Its stated objective was to address our residents’ concerns regarding the increase in multi-family developments and to reduce the ratio of multifamily developments in our city to its historic level of 25 percent.

While the task force was unable to identify a definitive method to accomplish those objectives, it did recommend higher quality design standards – better materials and more open space – and it proposed three new zoning categories. The new standards allow developments to be five stories tall, instead of three. The council adopted the recommendations by ordinance. You can watch the meeting and get more details on the city Web site at www.BlueSpringsGov.com.


Blue Springs looks at multi-family housing

clock October 9, 2008 09:22 by author Jeff Quibell

An important responsibility of our Mayor and City Council is the proper management of development and growth in our community. As part of that responsibility, the City Council once again approved extending the moratorium on multi-family housing development to allow additional time to adequately explore significant changes to our ordinances.

At times, the work of government may appear to move at a snail’s pace. At other times, our elected leaders appear to move quickly to resolve issues. We’ve seen this in our Federal government with the recent “bailout” legislation. Whether it’s our federal or state legislators or our local councilmen, it is important to move carefully and deliberately to make certain that the results are good for our community and our citizens. In the current situation regarding multi-family development in Blue Springs, the Multi-Family Task force is suggesting significant changes to our ordinances that will result in a higher quality of development and related design standards. This process takes time and careful consideration of the ramifications of such changes.

The governing basis for managing development is our city’s Comprehensive Development Plan. This plan is required by our city’s charter and must be reviewed, “not less than once every five (5) years.” The plan’s purpose is to prepare for our city’s future development in accordance with our anticipated needs. The plan provides guidance as to what types of development is or will be needed and where we expect or desire different types of development to occur.

Our current plan was last reviewed in 2003, and therefore is scheduled to be reviewed this year. State law requires our planning commission to “make careful and comprehensive surveys and studies of the existing conditions and probable future growth” of our city in the preparation of the plan. I am pleased that Mayor Ross has committed to a comprehensive review of the current plan.

It is a time consuming and expensive process, but with the current economic conditions, it is even more critical that we undertake such a review. Carefully planning for our future will position our city to be ready to manage new development in a responsible, progressive manner.

If you have suggestions or concerns about development in our city, please be sure to share your thoughts with your Mayor and City Councilmen.  Contact information is available at http://www.aboutbluesprings.com/page/City-Council-Contact-Info.aspx.


Blue Springs shows steady progress

clock October 2, 2008 01:30 by author Jeff Quibell

Progress is sometimes harder to see when it happens right around you. It is interesting to talk to someone who has been away from Blue Spring for a few years. They are more likely to see the progress that has occurred in town than those of us who are here every day.

Work continues on the Adams Dairy Landing shopping center. With the opening of R.D. Mize road on the south side of the project, Coronado Drive was closed to allow it to be rebuilt to handle the traffic that will frequent the shopping center when it opens. This project is breathing new life into the long stagnant Adams Dairy Parkway. It is exciting to see what other opportunities will be encouraged by the revitalization of the neighborhood that once occupied this site.

On Highway Seven south of Forty Highway there are a number of projects underway. More...


City Council backs off a key priority!

clock September 18, 2008 01:01 by author Jeff Quibell

Monday, Sept 15, 2008, the City Council decided to scale back the scope of work on road improvements for Woods Chapel Road by half a million dollars on the recommendation of District 1 Councilman Shaver.  The council then split on approval of the overall budget and Mayor Ross broke the tie in favor of approving the budget and removing some of the funding from the planned Woods Chapel improvements.

After eighteen years of stagnation in the Woods Chapel corridor, last year the city council finally decided to move forward on Woods Chapel redevelopment.  Now that the voters have solidly approved a bond issue to expand road improvements citywide including Woods Chapel, the current City Council is going back on the original commitment. More...


New life for downtown Blue Springs

clock September 11, 2008 13:56 by author Jeff Quibell

Downtown Coldwater by Adam Caselman August and September’s weather has been wonderful this year. My wife Wanda and I have just returned from Coldwater Michigan where my brother held his annual Wisconsin Style Fish Boil. For our daily exercise, we walked through Coldwater’s downtown and enjoyed the nice mix of shops and restaurants. For a city with 11,000 citizens, Coldwater has a vibrant walk-able downtown.

Annual celebrations are an opportunity for families and neighbors to get together and catch up on what is happening in their lives. In downtown Blue Springs, our annual celebration is the Fall Fun Festival, which is coming this weekend, from September 12th through the 14th.

Visiting Coldwater and comparing their downtown with ours brought to mind how our city is progressing with our downtown’s revitalization. Following the council’s passage of our new downtown plan, several residential developments began to appear. Recently The Examiner decided to relocate their local office to Main Street to participate in the excitement. It is important to keep moving forward and encourage additional progress!

Our study showed that for the plan to be successful the City would need to make a visible commitment to the downtown to encourage business owners to locate their business in our downtown district. Two special items are built into the plan to accomplish just that. First, the city needs to build an entrance feature at Main and Seven Highway to direct people to our downtown. Second our city hall, which is bursting at the seams, needs to be relocated to a new location to allow for the formation of a city square with City Hall as its center. This brings important traffic into our downtown to energize existing and new businesses.

This week, as you attend the Fall Fun Festival, I encourage you face south as you stand in line for your traditional annual Timothy Lutheran Burger. Imagine City Hall standing in the center of the block between Walnut & Main and 10th & 11th streets. Picture a square of businesses surrounding that block forming a traditional energetic downtown. That is what the city’s plan calls for. It is an exciting and necessary component for the revitalization of our downtown.

As citizens, we need to encourage our elected officials to follow through on this vision and insist that they take action to complete this important plan. That action would create jobs, energize our economy, and produce a vibrant walk-able downtown at a time when other cities are struggling.

The City Council will hold a public hearing for the budget at the September 15 Council Meeting in the Howard Brown Public Safety building at 6:30pm. I hope you will be able to attend and I look forward to seeing you there!

Photo of Downtown Coldwater compliments of Adam Caselman.


Blue Springs Multi-Famiy Task Force Holds Public Hearing

clock September 4, 2008 21:40 by author Jeff Quibell

Many of my readers have been following the activities of the Blue Springs Multi-Family Task Force being led by Councilman Solon.  At the August 18, 2008 Council meeting, the task force presented their recommendations to the City Council.  The recommendations consisted primarily of an upgrade to the standards for new multi-family development in the city, but did not address the rate of development or any issues regarding existing, older multi-family properties.

 

There will be a public hearing on these recommendations Tuesday, September 9, 2008 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm in the Howard Brown Public Safety Building, in downtown Blue Springs.  Anyone who would like to have input on how Blue Springs moves forward in regard to the development of multi-family housing in our city should plan to attend.


City Council Holds Annual Budget Work Session

clock August 12, 2008 19:34 by author Jeff Quibell
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On Wednesday, August 13, 2008, the Blue Springs City Council will hold its annual budget work session for the 2008-2009 budget year.  The meeting will be held at 6pm downtown in the Howard Brown Public Safety Building in the Council Chambers.  The meeting is open to the public.  The official public meeting notice can be read on the city's web site at http://www.bluespringsgov.com/CurrentEvents.asp?EID=441

Unlike city council meetings, work sessions are not televised.  Hopefully the city will eventually include these meetings in the web and television broadcasts at some point in the future.  Until then, if you have an interest in observing the process of working through the budget, you must attend the meeting in person.