A 4-3 vote by the Blue Springs City Council will allow a senior living development to continue its plans to build, with Mayor Carson Ross breaking the tie in favor of the developer.
The project, proposed by the same developer of the Price Chopper on South Missouri 7, would bring 134 new dwelling units in a three-story senior living facility, called Novel Place.
The discussion came from whether a senior living facility is the best of the land as opposed to retail, and whether the city was obligated to allow the facility to build there.
Mayor Ross explained when the original plans for the development, White Oak Marketplace, were approved the intention was to allow residential facilities to be placed behind the Price Chopper.
“When we passed this it was the intent … that there would be a housing component to it,” Ross said. “I think we’re doing a disservice if we try to alter that and try to put in retail in an area where I doubt any retail is going to go.”
Council Member Chris Lievsay, representative of that district, was backed up by fellow district representative Kent Edmondson in saying the area would be a prime location for retailers.
“I think this is the center of the city,” Lievsay said. “As often as they tell me this is not appropriate for retail, we have – over the past five years, attempted to put some sort of senior facility here and it hasn’t come to fruition.”
Lievsay said redevelopment on Sunset Plaza and other expansions in the area justified keeping the area clear for retail.
“I think we’ve seen a lot of activity of retail and restaurants and entertainment in the area,” he said.
Edmondson shared Lievsay’s concern, worrying the city would be losing what he thought of as “one of the biggest retail opportunities” in the corridor.
“There’s really no other space that size,” Edmondson said.
Ron Fowler, District 3, reinforced the mayor’s priority in honoring the prior ordinance. City Attorney Jacqueline Sommer also clarified that with the ordinance in question as part of a contract, the primary developer would need to accept any changes.
In total, there were three ordinances regarding the development in front of the council Monday evening – rezoning the property, amending the planned unit development concept plan and approving the industrial development plan. The second ordinance, regarding the planned unit development plan, was where the 4-3 vote took place, with Councilmen Jerry Kaylor siding with Lievsay and Edmondson against it. All three ordinances passed.