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Lee’s Summit nixes enterprise zone idea

Updated: 2013-06-13T01:27:23Z

By RUSS PULLEY

Special to The Star

The Lee’s Summit City Council took little time to spike a proposed economic development zone opposed by many homeowners in the central city.

Mayor Randy Rhoads opened a public hearing June 6, heard brief comments from Mark Dunning, a staff person working on the project, and promptly closed the hearing after the council agreed by consensus to skip additional testimony.

The council then voted to end a months-long exploration of an Enhanced Enterprise Zone in the older part of the city. It was unanimous except for Rob Binney, who left the room and did not vote.

One requirement for the zone was to designate a broad area as blighted, which alarmed property owners who feared their home values would fall.

As more homeowners heard about the proposal, the opposition swelled.

Residents filled nearly every one of 255 seats in the council chamber, a rare event. Some stood at the rear.

When the council voted to kill the enterprise zone, the crowd cheered.

Before the vote, Councilman Allan Gray told the crowd that he appreciated their participation and feedback, which helped the council make a decision.

He said it behooves them to become aware of situations facing the city and continue to help shape its decisions.

He asked the crowd to be prepared to support other attempts to promote economic development.

“It is the responsibility of the council to make sure the city is a viable, vibrant, growing city that continues to move forward,” Gray said.

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