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January 30, 2014

City Council responds to KCI petition initiative

The council introduced an ordinance that promises to require voter authorization before the city demolishes Terminal A, B or C, or before the city constructs a new terminal. The measure goes to the council’s finance committee next week for debate.

The Kansas City Council has drafted a response to a citizens petition initiative regarding plans for a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

The council Thursday introduced an ordinance that promises to require voter authorization before the city demolishes Terminal A, B or C, or before the city constructs a new terminal. The measure goes to the council’s finance committee next week for debate.

“It is to put in the city code an ordinance that says that we’re going to go to a vote of the people on the airport,” said City Councilman Jim Glover, one of the ordinance sponsors.

He said the City Council had always intended to go to a public vote before proceeding with any major changes at KCI, but the public has been highly skeptical about that.

The skepticism prompted a group of Kansas City residents to gather more than 3,573 signatures, enough to trigger an election. The petitioners wanted voters to prohibit any city employee or agent from implementing any plan to demolish any passenger terminal “at any city-controlled airport” or to construct any new terminal, except with voter approval.

Glover said Thursday that the city attorney is worried about the broad language of the petition –– because it applies to any “city-controlled airport,” it could affect Wheeler Downtown Airport. And it appears to prohibit any “planning” for a new airport terminal. Glover said the Federal Aviation Administration requires the city to plan for the future of the airport, whether or not the city proceeds to build a new terminal.

Dan Coffey, a spokesman for the petitioners, said Thursday he had not seen the council’s proposed ordinance and couldn’t comment on whether the petitioners would find the revised language acceptable.

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