Leawood gives preliminary OK to sales tax CID for Camelot Court

06/03/2014 3:21 PM

06/03/2014 3:51 PM

The Leawood City Council on Monday gave preliminary approval for its first Community Improvement District — and with it a sales tax to improve a shopping center.

The 22-year district is expected to raise $8 million from a 1-cent sales tax for the Camelot Court shopping center, 11851 Roe Ave.

In doing so, the council held firm on its policy that the sales tax must be used exclusively for exterior improvements.

A similar proposal for a so-called CID for the Hy-Vee grocery store at 12200 State Line Road has foundered because city staff and some council members have opposed allowing the store to use the sales tax money for interior improvements to the nearly 30-year-old grocery store. Hy-Vee closed that store earlier this week but plans to keep the pharmacy open indefinitely.

Camelot Court, which is owned by MD Management and represented Monday by attorney John Petersen, had initially asked for a CID sales tax that would have totaled just over $10 million for the 24-year-old center. The entire shopping center redevelopment plan is supposed to cost $36 million.

“The council established that we are not paying for 100 percent for the exterior work at Camelot Court,” said City Administrator Scott Lambers. “Each project stands on its own merits.”

City Councilman James Azeltine said the $8 million Camelot Court CID would pay for about 80 percent of the project’s exterior costs such as landscaping, irrigation, lighting, signage and closing at least one of the three entrances from Roe Avenue. He noted that the $8 million represented about 22 percent of the total cost of the renovation.

Azeltine stressed that the CID is simply a “pass-through” that has no effect on the city’s budget itself. Only those who shop at the center will pay the extra 1 percent sales tax.

The council gave preliminary approval for the CID on a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Lou Rasmussen opposed and Councilwoman Carrie Rezac absent. The CID still needs formal approval at the next council meeting, June 16, to go into effect.

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