• TIF redevelopment plan advances

  • Change could be coming to soon to all but one quadrant – for now – of Independence’s 23rd Street and Noland Road intersection.

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  • Change could be coming to soon to all but one quadrant – for now – of Independence’s 23rd Street and Noland Road intersection.
    Following 90 minutes of presentation and discussion, the Independence Tax Increment Financing Commission Thursday night recommended approval of tax increment financing for the prominent intersection, a proposal that was spurred by the city and a blight study.
    The vote was 8-1, with Matt Mallinson, one representative for the Independence School District, in opposition. The City Council makes the final vote on the TIF proposal. If approved, the city hopes the TIF designation will kick off additional redevelopment along the corridor.
    The resolution approved included 23rd and Noland TIF plan, recommending redevelopment area, designation of blight and approval of two projects – the development of a new QuikTrip in the southeast corner and the redevelopment of Independence Complete Auto Service in the northeast portion – within the area.
    Representing the new QuikTrip that already has some walls going up, attorney Bunk Farrington said that without the aid of TIF, the convenience store would halt construction. After receiving some private financing for the project, it was subject to appraisal, which came back lower than anticipated.
    “This project, we thought, was going along really well – we’ve kind of run into a buzz saw,” Farrington said. “... We really need this TIF to get there. ... This was a surprise to us. We thought that we weren’t going to have any problems with this.”
    Historically, most TIF plans in Independence have been prepared and submitted by one developer. For the 23rd and Noland proposal, the city prepared the redevelopment plan in coordination with Gilmore & Bell law firm, with the QuikTrip project included.
    If the plan receives City Council approval, the city will issue no bonds for the TIF – instead, it will operate using the pay-as-you-go method.
    The city then published a request for proposals for other development projects within the proposed TIF area. One proposal, at Independence Complete Auto Service, came back.
    City staff had considered redevelopment incentives for the struggling 23rd and Noland area, and a blight study was performed around the area. While the southwest corner (now occupied by Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care) is not included at this time, the redevelopment area could expand in the future, which would require additional public hearings before the TIF Commission.
    According to the city, blight evidence at 23rd and Noland includes numerous property maintenance code violations issued by the city, dangerous pedestrian sidewalks, deteriorating parking lots and others.
    Another unusual component of the intersection, Bushek said, is the improper subdivision and obsolete platting, some of which date back to the 1880s.
    “The plats pre-date automobiles. They date back to a time when horses were the main mode of transportation,” Bushek said. “... If there’s ever been a test case for obsolete platting in Missouri, this may be it.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Mallinson said he didn’t see the area as blighted but rather impacted by a lack of maintenance by property owners and businesses. He also was concerned about relocating QuikTrip from a non-TIF location into an adjacent TIF district.
    “If the city has cited the building owners numerous times, I think something different needs to be done,” Mallinson said. “I think that development is a good thing and I would help encourage that along, but I’m a little concerned that the Independence School District is going to shoulder a lot of this again.”
    As a whole, TIF Commission members spoke to optimistic viewpoints of a financing tool for private developers to breathe new life into the widely traveled intersection.
    “It is kind of discouraging,” TIF Commission member Ron Bruch said of the existing state of the intersection that he drives past several times daily. “It’s kind of an eyesore, and I’m certainly glad to see that somebody is stepping forward to make some progress in that part of Independence.”

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