The second attempt at a large grocery-store-anchored retail development in northeast Independence died Monday night.
The City Council unanimously voted against the Salem & 24 Community Improvement District, a 90,000-square-foot, $22 million project that would have featured a McKeever's Price Chopper. The project, would have been on recently annexed land near the corner of U.S. 24 and Salem Drive, would have had no tax increment financing – just a 1 percent community improvement district tax that would last approximately 30 years.
The council recently approved a community improvement district for the renovation and expansion of the nearby Cosentino's Sun Fresh Market and surrounding Arrowhead Shopping Center just west on U.S. 24. That project plan was quickly finished to present before the council after backers learned of the possible Salem & 24 project. They had questioned if the area could provide healthy support to two full-service grocery stores.
The council voted down an earlier version of the Salem & 24 project, which had a TIF plan and shorter CID, after the Arrowhead project came forward.
Salem & 24 backers had supported the Arrowhead project and said they had a study that showed the area could support two grocery stores.
Area residents expressed concerns to the City Council about the safety of increased traffic without an additional stoplight, noise and lights from the development affecting quality of life and whether another grocery store was needed.
“I don't believe a CID in this area would be a public improvement,” Council Member Karen DeLuccie said before casting her no vote. “The city's economic incentives shouldn't be used to even the playing field.”
Mayor Eileen Weir had been the lone vote for the project the first time it came before the council.
• The council also unanimously voted down a rezoning for 1401-1411 U.S. 24, between Crysler and Park. JR & Brothers Transportation had applied to rezone from general commercial to industrial in order to operate a storage lot for heavy vehicles and equipment.
JR had purchased the property last year and covered much of it with gravel but not applied for a parking area permit, according to city information.
The city's unified development code does not allow gravel parking surfaces, and the rezoning would have conflicted with the city's plan for that road. City staff and planning commission both recommended against rezoning. If approved, JR would have had to pave the lot, install a screen fence on the rear of the property and install an approved driveway.