Food trucks are now a possibility at the southwest corner of 47th Street and Mission Road.
The Roeland Park City Council on Monday voted 6-1 to approve a special use permit for the vacant lot that would allow for food trucks to operate on site and neighboring restaurant Taco Republic to continue using parking stalls on the property.
The approval comes with stipulations. No more than three food trucks can operate at any time; hours are limited to 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and trucks can’t park overnight. In terms of shared parking, 34 parking spots can be used for 12 months and 12 designated spots can be used for an additional six months afterward. The owner must carry $1 million in liability insurance with the city as an added insured.
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Site cleanup, including removing concrete slabs, must be done within 12 months.
Site developer Tony Krsnich, president of Flint Hills Holdings, the company that owns the vacant lot, said the removal of the concrete would be financially challenging.
“We’ve done everything we said we were going to do,” Krsnich said. “We don’t have the money.”
Krsnich’s goal is to find a developer to establish a Kansas City original restaurant on the site. He is planning for a 4,000-square-foot restaurant with 55 to 65 parking spots. He’s been avoiding making any deals with a chain restaurant in the meantime.
He said the idea behind the food trucks was to bring some buzz to the area.
“From a vibrancy standpoint, it would bring a lot to the area,” he said.
Krsnich did say that he has received a letter of intent from a developer, but that it’s too early to determine if that will go through. If the deal were to go through and construction went underway fast enough, it could supersede the need for Krsnich’s company to remove the concrete slabs because they would be taken out by the developer. But Krsnich was doubtful things would move that quickly.
Council members, a neighboring business and some residents were eager to see the site cleaned up.
“People come from all over the world come and stand in line at Joe’s KC and have to look at that,” resident Tom Madigan said. “It looks terrible.”
Steve Querrey, director of operations for Joe’s KC, said Joe’s is in favor of development and isn’t afraid of competition from another restaurant. But he called the current state of the property an “eyesore.”
Querrey also worried that food truck customers might end up using restrooms at neighboring restaurants, which would tie up the facilities for their customers.
Resident Jeff Bartz, who lives directly behind the neighborhood, spoke in favor of giving Flint Hills Holdings time to find a good developer.
He said the site right now is an improvement from its previous condition.
“We’re more than happy to have development come in,” Bartz said.
In other news, the council unanimously voted to begin planning improvement to Nall Park at 48th and Nall Avenue. The vote allocated up to $11,600 to a redesign plan for the bathroom, the drinking fountain and shelter lights, bringing everything up to code and ADA standards.
The Nall Park bathrooms have been closed to the public for over a decade.
Also Monday, the council voted 6-1 to allocate $6,000 to do a topographic and boundary study on R Park at 5535 Juniper Drive. But the council, on a 4-3 vote, rejected a $14,800 expenditure to commission a design development plan for the park.
Public Works Director Jose Leon said the survey will serve as a planning document for placing amenities in the park.
“It’s the first phase of really, truly planning the park as it should be,” Leon said.
Several residents who sit on the Parks Committee spoke before council in favor of completing studies to plan out the park and place amenities.Citizens have donated approximately $26,000 for R Park amenities. That money was used to buy 10 benches, four picnic tables, a bike rack and three trash receptacles that are slated to arrive this month.
Ward 3 Councilman Ryan Kellerman was against spending city money for a design development plan because he said one had been completed four years earlier.
“We owe it to our taxpayers not to be redundant,” he said.
Leon said that changes to the park, including the addition of a walking trail, prompted the request for a new plan.