News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

City makes home ownership easier

clock August 12, 2010 15:05 by author Jeff Quibell

jeffqmug Recently, Wanda and I helped our youngest daughter, Ashley, move to Lexington, Mo., into a house she is renting, as she prepares to teach early childhood/special education there this fall.

It surprises me how quickly time passes. It seems only yesterday that Wanda and I moved to Blue Springs. I remember our progression from apartment dwellers to home renters and finally homeowners. My parents were there to help with each move, and Wanda and I are pleased to be able to help our girls as they take their place in the adult world.

For our community to be inviting, we need to provide for the entire cycle of housing choices that most people require as they make the transition from apartment rental to home ownership, and retirement or assisted living choices. As a community, we must ensure that quality housing is accessible at each step along the way.

In Blue Springs, we have an appropriate mix of housing for our citizens to choose from, with rental opportunities, starter homes, move-up housing and retirement options. Last week the City Council expanded the options for qualified buyers by establishing a first-time home buyers program.

District 1 City Councilman Dale Carter ran for office on a platform that included developing this type of program. Just four months later, he succeeded in receiving the unanimous approval of the council to establish a fund for first-time homebuyers using federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

Wanda and I own a rental duplex townhome in Blue Springs, and over the years, we have rented to many young families who simply didn’t have the resources to make a purchase when they first became our tenants. We have found it typical that our tenants will stay for a few years, and then they are able to accomplish their goal of home ownership and purchase their first home. We are always thrilled to see this transition and ready to provide a home for the next family that is just one step away from home ownership.

Dale’s program will make it easier for our city’s renters to take that next step and as a result provide buyers for those wishing to move to their second or third home. Without those first-time buyers, the cycle of home purchasing stagnates and the pool of buyers is reduced, which can cause home values to decline. So while the program provides a direct benefit for a limited number of homebuyers, the indirect benefit is much wider. Soon, with the development of Missouri Innovation Park, it will be possible for even more of our citizens to live, play, and work right here in Blue Springs!

Congratulations to Councilman Carter for demonstrating effective leadership and for working with the mayor and the rest of the council to continue to keep Blue Springs the best place in the nation to raise a family!


In office, it’s actions that matter

clock July 28, 2010 09:33 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 Once again, it’s election time, as you can tell by the proliferation of political signs, letters to the editor, and junk mailings filling up our mail boxes. There are politicians who say they represent our interests, politicians who say they aren’t politicians, and opinion column writers, current and former politicians. How do we weed out the facts from the spin and make good decisions in selecting our next leaders? It’s difficult if not impossible to effectively verify the statements made by politicians in a timely manner. We often believe what we read or hear, especially if we know or trust the source.

As I read the letters to the editor and added my own comments to several, it occurred to me that those letters have been written with the best of intentions, usually to help friends with their efforts to win an election. Letters of support to express our own individual opinion of the person, not necessarily that the person we are supporting will in the end vote the way we think they should. Our elected officials surprise us at times with their comments, and their votes not always in sync.

So how do we as voters figure out whom to cast our vote for? Whom do we believe? The answer is simple and hard at the same time. We should make every effort to learn more about the people we are supporting, and we should dig more deeply than just our personal relationship with that person. Friendship is one thing; voting is another.

I really wasn’t surprised when I read Ron Fowler’s letter to the editor supporting Sheila Solon, as they are longtime political friends with similar positions on local issues. Ron wrote about how Sheila voted against multi-family housing complexes. What he didn’t mention is that she votes for them as well. Right or wrong, she is inconsistent on this issue. Once in February 2003 she voted to put multi-family zoning on Adams Dairy Parkway and twice that I recall in 2007 while I was on the council serving with her.

Ron also talks about Sheila voting against sales taxes. Those votes were actually against the new retail development on Adams Dairy Parkway. The next time you sit down for dinner at Olive Garden or shop at Target or Gordman’s, consider that she fought hard to stop Adams Dairy Landing from coming to town. Just before she left city office, she worked very hard to scale back Missouri Innovation Park from its original 500 acres to just 100 acres. Her actions would have restricted job growth in Blue Springs at a time when we need more high-quality jobs. Again, she is inconsistent after making “real jobs” a focal point of her council campaign.

Former Councilman Solon, as pointed out by Mayor Ross in a recent article, was very ineffective as an elected official while on the City Council. I expect it would be no different in Jefferson City. Fortunately, the voters have a choice on Aug. 3. I would recommended giving strong consideration to Mike Parker. I’ve spent some time getting to know him and believe that he will best represent the interests of his constituents and will be an effective leader.


Its Not Too Late to Apply - Minor Home Repair Program Deadline January 30

clock January 22, 2009 20:08 by author Jeff Quibell

Minor Home Repair Program (MHRP)

About the MHRP

Minor Home Repair Program

The one-year pilot Minor Home Repair Program was developed in response to the City Council's implementation of Blue Springs' first Property Maintenance Code.
The MHRP was designed with the desire to offer a program to primarily assist homeowners who do not have the financial means to respond to code violations that may exist at their single-family, residential property.

Applying for MHRP Funds

Apply for the MHRP today!

The Minor Home Repair Program (MHRP) will begin accepting applications on November 3, 2008. The City is accepting applications until Friday, January 30, 2009.
Program Focus
The emphasis of this program is on neighborhood conservation, and only minor exterior home repairs will be eligible. The program will encourage a high level of maintenance among property owners in a neighborhood by providing a grant to help cure the most visible home defects which may adversely affect the value of the home as well as surrounding properties.
MHRP Eligibility Requirements and Income Restrictions
MHRP Project Prioritization Guidelines
Downloadable MHRP Application (Fillable PDF)
Downloadable MHRP Checklist
For additional information or to apply for the 2008-2009 MHRP pilot program, contact Mike Peterman, Principal Planner by email or call (816) 228-0142.


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 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.


Multi-Family Task Force - Sixth Meeting Video

clock August 10, 2008 17:38 by author Jeff Quibell

Following are links to the Sixth multi-family task force meeting videos. If the video links are not visible click more to bring up the full article. More...


Multi-Family Task Force - Fifth Meeting Video

clock August 4, 2008 21:15 by author Jeff Quibell

Following are links to the fifth multi-family task force meeting videos. If the video links are not visible click more to bring up the full article. More...


Multi-Family Task Force - Fourth Meeting Video

clock July 20, 2008 10:59 by author Jeff Quibell

Following are links to the fourth multi-family task force meeting videos. If the video links are not visible click more to bring up the full article. More...


Multi-Family Task Force - Third Meeting Video

clock July 19, 2008 12:15 by author Jeff Quibell

Following are links to the third multi-family task force meeting videos.  If the video links are not visible click more to bring up the full article. More...