Two building contractors hope to use financial incentives to help relocate their businesses in Lee’s Summit.
Representatives of Kevin Higdon Construction LLC and Mar Building Solutions told the City Council Thursday that they plan to request property tax abatements through the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority, or LCRA, an appointed board that oversees projects in three urban renewal areas in the city.
The authority will review the proposals and offer a recommendation, which the council can consider in determining whether to grant tax incentives.
Kevin Higdon said that his homebuilding business is currently based in unincorporated Jackson County and that he wants to build an 8,000-square-foot office and warehouse in the Newberry Landings subdivision. Higdon said the office would give the company a new local base from which to build homes in the area, and the warehouse could take delivery of construction materials, resulting in new sales taxes for the city.
He said the company would have five employees at opening and would likely add a job a year in the future, “depending on the economy.”
In return, he is asking for a 100 percent tax abatement on the new building for 10 years, which would save him an estimated $11,499 annually.
Chad Anderson, president of Mar Building, said he too wants to build a new office and warehouse in Newberry Landings.
Anderson told the council the new 7,150-square-foot building would more than triple the general building contractor’s existing building at 1305 S.W. Jefferson St., which is being condemned as part of roadwork along Jefferson.
He said his company employs six people, and he expects to add 14 more jobs in the next six to eight years.
Like Higdon, Anderson is seeking a 10-year 100 percent tax abatement on the building, which would save him an estimated $10,664 a year.
“What the abatement is going to do is let us stay in Lee’s Summit,” Anderson said, noting that land costs are cheaper in surrounding cities.
Both projects would be within the LCRA’s U.S. 50/Missouri Highway 291 urban renewal area.
Council members encouraged both builders to continue their applications with the LCRA, although some members said they would oppose a 100 percent tax abatement if that were ultimately recommended.
“The issue I have with full real estate abatement is we still are providing police protection, fire protection, paramedics services, and I think any property owners should contribute toward that,” said Council member Bob Johnson, adding that he would be more open to a 50 percent abatement.
In other business, the council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance to replace the camera surveillance system at the city’s detention center. Police Capt. Mark Liebig, who oversees the center, said his staff has been struggling with intermittent disruptions in the system for the past three months and discovered that the 5-year-old system is at the end of its life cycle and must be replaced. The replacement will cost $59,728.
The council also voted unanimously to give final approval to rezoning 97.3 acres at 500 S.E. Missouri 150 for a mixed-use development. The project, proposed by JCM Development LLC, would include 186 single-family lots, 44 duplexes and four commercial sites, including two restaurants, a bank and an assisted living facility.
The council members also voted 6-3 to change their meeting schedule this fall. Beginning in October, the council will meet the first three Tuesdays of the month instead of the current Thursdays. Mayor Bill Baird said he wanted council members to be able to participate in more cooperative events with officials in other nearby cities, who typically meet earlier in the week.
Council members Johnson, Phyllis Edson and Fred DeMoro voted against the change, saying they either had a potential conflict on Tuesday evenings or the change would force other city agencies, such as planning commissioners, to change their meeting days.
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