Though the change incorporates a significant portion of Independence, city staff maintains the new language is just a planning tool for future development.

Though the change incorporates a significant portion of Independence, city staff maintains the new language is just a planning tool for future development.

The Independence Planning Commission Tuesday night approved, 5-1, the city’s application to amend the comprehensive land use plan with language specific to northwestern Independence residential uses.

The amendment outlines a neighborhood protection area residential land use classification in northwestern Independence, bounded by Blue Ridge Boulevard, 23rd Street, Crysler Avenue, U.S. 24 and Kentucky Road. In a broad range of densities, the amendment allows two to 18 dwelling units per gross acre with an average of four units per gross acre.

Senior Planner Mary Hunt said the language addition defines residential development intentions and protects the existing home characteristics in northwestern Independence, which are predominately single- and multi-family residential.

“The ... amendment would offer a new land use classification in an older area of the city where the development pattern from the earlier part of the 20th century is clearly different than those of the 1970s and later,” Hunt wrote in her staff report. “This change broadens the redevelopment options and offers the Planning Commission and City Council the flexibility necessary to retain the desirable characteristics of the neighborhoods and broaden the redevelopment options available, without limiting the variety of housing choices that residents desire.”  

Bill Rogers, interim director of NorthWest Communities Development Corporation, said he wished city staff would have notified more northwestern Independence residents about the amendment and said he hopes the change will aid future developers.

“If it’s good enough for northwestern Independence, why not just use it for the whole city?” Rogers said. “We’re not against (the changes); we just don’t understand them. I would hope there would be a better dialogue with us in the future.”

Commission Member Karen DeLuccie, who was the lone opposing vote, made a motion to continue the application for two weeks to further study its purpose, though the motion failed. (Commission member Pat Campbell was absent.)

“I really don’t see a reason for this,” DeLuccie said. “This is such a big area, and I’m with (Rogers) – why not do all of Independence? I still don’t get it.”  

Planning Manager Tom Scannell said northwestern Independence, one of the city’s oldest areas, is special because it incorporates many types of housing. He said the amendment will not affect current housing development now taking place within the area.  

City staff said land use plans are simply policy documents while zoning is more law-based and is specific to a parcel of land.

“Land use plans, by their very nature, are very general and flexible,” Hunt said, “and are all about the future and how we envision an area to look.”

The city is now updating its 17-year-old comprehensive plan. Visit www.ci.independence.mo.us and click on “City continues comprehensive plan update” to learn more and to provide input on housing and economic development.



Cheddar’s Casual Café coming to Independence

As a consent agenda item, commission members unanimously approved an amendment affecting a sign for the upcoming Cheddar’s Casual Café at 4675 S. Bass Pro Drive.

The applicant, Patricia Hill, said construction on Cheddar’s will begin in early July with a projected opening date taking place before the end of 2010.

Cheddar’s, a casual dining restaurant, began 31 years ago in Arlington, Texas, and aims to provide a menu of homemade favorites that are prepared in-house and from scratch, according to the company’s website.

The Independence location will be the second in the Kansas City area and will be the first on the Missouri side of the metropolitan region. Another metro location exists at 11865 W. 95th St. in Overland Park.