The former Joe's Crab Shack building in southeastern Independence could soon become a country bar and restaurant.
The city's Planning Commission last month approved a rezoning request from Kaster Architects, which is working with Des Moines, Iowa-based business owner Tom Baldwin to transform the building in the Hartman Heritage Center development that has been vacant for two years into a Shotgun Betty's.
The Facebook page for Shotgun Betty's in Des Moines, which Baldwin's LLC owns, describes the place as a country bar that likes “the music loud and the beer cold.”
David Kaster, representing Baldwin, said they applied for the rezoning from O-1 (office-residential), which allows for restaurants, to C-2 (general commercial) because they didn't know if the business would have at least the 50 percent sales from food required for a restaurant zoning.
The rezoning ordinance has not yet been on the City Council's agenda.
Kaster said Baldwin's LLC, Dark Side of the Spoon, has business concepts in Des Moines and Omaha, but Shotgun Betty's would be his first foray into the Kansas City area.
“We weren't quite sure how they'd fit in,” Kaster said, as far as sales percentage.
Kaster said they will “cosmetically change the outside,” which has become unsightly since Joe's Crab Shack left, and would replace what has become a leaky roof. Some of the kitchen will be taken out to make way for a stage for live music a couple days a week. The stage would be entirely inside, though the patio could have some speakers.
Doug Morris, whose owns the building next door that serves as a Park University branch, told the Planning Commission he was concerned about possible noise during Park's evening classes, parking spilling over onto Park's lot and trash left in Park's lot and dumpster. The parking lots for the two buildings have a small divide.
“I would love to see the building occupied as much as anyone; I think it benefits all of us.” Morris said, adding that a family-oriented restaurant would perhaps fit better.
On the Border restaurant is directly west of the former Joe's Crab Shack, and further down is Twin Peaks, which several years ago moved into the building vacated by Macaroni Grill.
“I had problems when Joe's was there,” Morris said. “from what I understand, this is pretty much a bar.
“We already had Twin Peaks right up the street, and that's pretty much a bar,” Morris said. “A more regular restaurant makes more sense to me.”
Commission Chairperson Eric Ashbaugh said he understands Morris' position, but the rezoning request still fits the area, and ultimately the council will make the final determination. He suggested working with Kaster and Baldwin on some barrier to provide more separation between Park's building and the new business.
“If they do get approved and work with you,” Ashbaugh said, “that would be better.”