A group gathering signatures to try to put Kansas City’s proposed downtown convention hotel to a vote needs more referendum signatures.
The city clerk’s office reported Tuesday that the group, Citizens for Responsible Government, had gathered 2,813 valid signatures of registered voters. It needs 604 more signatures by June 17.
Dan Coffey, spokesman for Citizens for Responsible Government, could not be reached for comment about the group’s chances of meeting that goal.
The group wants the City Council to repeal an earlier ordinance that granted zoning and a development plan for a new 800-room Hyatt Hotel near Bartle Hall. If the council won’t repeal, CFRG wants the public to vote on the hotel in November. If it gathers sufficient signatures, it could force a public vote.
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But backers of the hotel believe they can accelerate project approval and possibly circumvent the referendum vote, even if CFRG gets enough signatures.
The council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee will consider a new ordinance Wednesday that approves the zoning and development plan for the site bounded by Truman Road, Baltimore Avenue, 16th Street and Wyandotte Avenue. If the committee and the full council approve this new ordinance, city officials argue it would take effect immediately and would not be subject to a referendum challenge under the city charter.
Attorney Mike Burke, representing the hotel developers, has said the hotel doesn’t use any general fund taxpayer dollars, and approval of this new ordinance would allow the project to move forward. But Coffey has suggested in the past that his group might pursue the matter further in court if it gets enough signatures.
Supporters hope to break ground on the hotel late this year and have it open in late 2019 or early 2020.