When the Todd George Marketplace was approved in Lee’s Summit, nearby residents expected a restaurant to be built 100 feet away on a pad site, not in a line of shops that would be much closer.
Residents of Silkwood Estates had negotiated with West Star Development on the project at U.S. 50 and Todd George Parkway, working through issues, like storm water detention, that would affect their homes.
Now, a proposal to build a Johnny’s Tavern at half the distance, with a patio, has prompted residents to fight an ordinance change offered by the city to allow the restaurant at the east end of the in-line shops.
“It’s a crime. It’s devastating to our neighborhood,” said Karen Traxel. “Fifty feet allows all of the trucks for any restaurant delivering alcohol, the food, picking up (waste). Considerably more traffic than other stores would have in a strip mall.”
The city ordinance says such a restaurant must be 100 feet from residential property lines, but the city staff says that wording in its Unified Development Ordinance was an error. The city’s practice for years has been to measure the distance around the building to the front door. But when developers of the mall asked for a clarification, the staff realized the rule didn’t say what was intended.
The City Council voted in late December to change the ordinance to 50 feet, but added a clause that would prevent a restaurant from having a patio closer than 100 feet to the property line.
Mayor Randy Rhoads vetoed that ordinance on Christmas Eve. The council is to discuss the veto Thursday.
He asked the council to reconsider the original bill without the amendment. He said the council could make future adjustments regarding patios after more committee meetings and hearings.
The original bill had been the subject of public hearings and had been discussed by the council’s Community and Economic Development Committee and the Planning Commission, with opportunities for residents to comment, Rhoads said, but the amendment had not.
He said it would be cleaner to take the patio issue through the same process and consider what other measures could also be appropriate. He said he agreed with Councilman Derek Holland that the amendment was a “piecemeal” approach to prevent patios from being a nuisance.
“We heard from one residential community, who has valid interests, but we passed a law that affects the whole city,” Rhoads said.
Traxel said the mayor’s veto “goofed” everything up. She said Louie Riederer, one of the restaurant owners, was meeting with residents and willing to work on reasonable controls for a patio and the topic was scheduled for a Community and Economic Development Committee meeting this month.
“I personally will uphold the veto. We need an in-depth look at patios, not just piecemeal,” Holland said in an interview.
Holland said that considering requirements for sound barriers or limiting hours of operation are needed, because the 100-foot distance isn’t enough to prevent loud noise from carrying to adjacent property.
Councilman Bob Johnson said he was disappointed by the veto. He will ask for support of an override.
He said he had made the amendment because the noise issue would affect other areas of the city as well, noting the project is not in his district. He said the city earlier had issues with a band at an establishment on Missouri 291. His thought was: “We might as well deal with it right now before it becomes a problem.”
Traxel said her neighborhood would prefer that the 100-foot limit remain for restaurants and that the Johnny’s Tavern be built on a pad site. If not, then the group wants to at least keep the 100-foot rule for patios, with additional buffering, such as walls for a sound barrier.