The Blue Springs City Council held five public hearings on Monday night, with little comment from the community to weigh down the agenda. Each hearing passed without members of the community giving opinions for or against.
Prior to these hearings however, the council welcomed a special guest, former Presiding Municipal Judge John Jack. The council passed a special resolution to rename the Blue Springs Municipal Courtroom and Council Chambers as the “Honorable Judge John Jack Municipal Courtroom.” According to the city, Jack served as a municipal judge in Blue Springs starting in 1979, and as presiding municipal judge starting in 2003. He retired in 2018.
Council Member Susan Culpepper said it was her pleasure to see the resolution approved.
“I’m so pleased to be able to do this,” she said. “John Jack’s been with our community for a long time.” Culpepper mentioned his growing of the court and the number of cases he handled in during his tenure.
The topics of the public hearings that followed the resolution were mixed, with their associated bills each passing. The first allowed the vacation of water line easements for the proposed construction of Novel Place, a senior retirement facility. The second allowed for a property tax abatement for the construction of five two-story residencies with ten units each. These units will be at 106 and 108 S.W. Eighth St. The developer is Dwellings by Design KC.
The public hearing regarding the community improvement district implementation for the northern Price Chopper located at 1305 N. Missouri 7 was next. That allows for a one-cent sales tax on goods purchased within the store. There was some concern raised by Council Member Ron Fowler, however a representative of the developer said the Cosentino family, which owns the Price Chopper franchise, considered the possibility when requesting the CID, but does not believe it will negatively affect business.
The first draft of the next five-year capital improvement plan was held, with City Administer Eric Johnson saying amendments could be made before he brings his budget proposal to the council in August. The presentation made to the council regarding the plan said the challenge was to identify “long-term solutions to address gaps in deferred maintenance,” in the city, and many projects are under-funded.
Finally, the council opened the public hearing regarding the regulations for medical marijuana in the city. While no members of the community stepped forward to share their thoughts on the matter, two council members made their own requests.
Fowler voiced concern about the downtown development code, asking to divide the bill, requesting the portion of the bill regarding downtown development be moved to discussion during the council meeting on June 3.
The proposal made by Fowler removes the section from the bill, allowing the Downtown Review Board to examine the legislature before making its recommendation to the council.
Council Member Kent Edmondson proposed permitting regional commercial areas to host a testing facility for medical marijuana, speaking specifically of the I-70 corridor. He requested the “buffering” restrictions be eased in those areas, from 1,000 feet to 300 feet to allow for more access on the outer roads. He explained testing facilities are similar to medical labs, and are “usually inconspicuous in what they do.”
The easement on the buffering would only apply to the instance of a potential testing facility in the specified area, according to Edmondson.
With those amendments, the measure was passed to implement the restrictions recommended by staff, limiting hours of operation for medical marijuana facilities to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., keeping them 1,000 feet away from churches and schools, mirroring state regulations.