A 60,000-square-foot climate-controlled storage facility is set to be built within Market Place after aldermen voted to make an exception to a TIF rule on Monday night that limits non-sales tax-generating businesses.
The resolution allows for the developer of the Harrisonville Market Place TIF plan to lease a portion of the redevelopment project area to a non-retail business. The board’s final vote was unanimous.
Aldermen had spent nearly an hour discussing the resolution during a work session on June 5, questioning whether they should make an exception to a rule in the Market Place TIF agreement regarding non-retail businesses.
According to the Market Place agreement, no more than 20 percent of a building can be non-retail use, unless it’s approved by the board of aldermen. The land is owned by West Star Development.
Mike Christie, of West Star Development, described the project to the city last month. The proposed building is expected to be about 70,000 square feet, which includes a climate-controlled storage facility, seven retail spaces and a 1.5 acre lot ideal for a fast food business. The developer is hoping to build the two-story storage facility along with the retail spaces on the southwest corner of the Commercial Street property. The lot has remained vacant since the Market Place TIF started in 2007. Photos of a similar development by West Star in Overland Park were presented to the aldermen during a work session earlier this month.
City Administrator Happy Welch explained to the board last month that the Market Place TIF agreement requires board approval to allow a non-retail use business making up more than 20 percent of a building.
Before going into discussion Monday, Mayor Brian Hasek shared his thoughts to the board on the rule and the non-retail portion of the project. At least one alderman, David Dickerson, expressed concern earlier this month and on Monday night in making an exception to the rule in light of a recent state audit that criticized the city’s handling of TIF districts.
“My initial thoughts were that if this didn’t make a big change, we may not want to make an exception to the rule. But the more I thought about this, the more I’m looking at this project, I don’t think it’s ever going to meet its full financial requirements,” Hasek said, adding that the city reached out to the state auditor’s office as well as Commerce Bank for input. The mayor said both entities reported no objections to the board’s handling of making an exception to the TIF rule.
“Mr. Christie has pointed out, he is correct. He has not been here before asking for anything. He has filled this center up. It does look better than it has in a long time,” Hasek added. “So far, I think he has kept his word of what he’d do with that place when he bought it, and I don’t see a reason not to trust that he will move forward with this. The only thing that I would ask in return is that he continues to build out this facility to its capacity.”
According to the resolution, property tax currently generated by the lot is $6,252 per year. Now with the board’s approval of the new proposed development, the city estimates it will bring in up to $106,895 in taxes per year. The estimated tax revenue is expected to be applied toward the city’s TIF payments.
With respect to the state audit, City Attorney John Fairfield pointed to an effort on the city’s part to analyze the project and rule in the TIF agreement and to document its analysis in a resolution. Additionally, in response to questions from Alderman Dickerson about amending the rule in the TIF agreement, Fairfield said he didn’t recommend it, adding the TIF rule is “not unusual” and allows the board some control over what happens to the TIF redevelopment area in the future.
Aldermen ultimately voted 8-0 to pass the resolution. It went into effect after its passage Monday.
In other business, the board of aldermen also approved the following:
▪ Approved an annual destruction of records in administration/payroll, finance/utilities and the police department.
▪ Approved a single bid from JP Collision Co. for $18,218.27 to repair four police vehicles damaged earlier this year in a hail storm.
▪ Passed a resolution authorizing the city administrator to execute the attached contract for a one year lease on hangar space at Lawrence Smith Memorial Airport between the City and Jeramie Swanson.
▪ Passed a resolution authorizing the city administrator to execute a contract with Excalibur Contracting for nuisance abatement services.
▪ Passed an ordinance adding a line to an existing ordinance making it unlawful for any person to knowingly posses a firearm that has been defaced in the city of Harrisonville.
▪ Passed an ordinance making it unlawful for misuse of the 911 emergency telephone service in the city.
▪ Heard a first reading of an ordinance amending a section of the Harrisonville Code of Ordinances regarding parking/no parking on Elm Street between Price and Halsey streets.
▪ Passed an ordinance to amending a section of the Harrisonville Code of Ordinances regarding parking/no parking zones on Elm Street between Price Street and Mechanic Street. The ordinance calls for no parking on the south side of Elm Street between Price and Mechanic streets at all times, and no parking on the north side of Elm Street from Price Street to 1,244 feet east on school days between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
▪ Passed an ordinance amending the city’s code and permitting trapping in the city, the regulating thereof in light of damage to dam and spillway areas at City Park due to muskrats. The code amendment will allow for trapping by a certified trapper with a permit from the Missouri Department of Conservation and approval from the parks and recreation director and/or the city administrator.