Gas Light Plaza owner wins appeal from city

bbashioum@demo-mo.comNovember 22, 2013 

Harrisonville’s Board of Aldermen voted in favor of an appeal made by business owner upset that the Missouri Department of Transportation were suggesting to close off a main entrance to a major retail shopping area he owns.

“Access is everything to a business,” said Tim Soulis, Gas Light Plaza owner, during a September BOA meeting.

As part of improvements to be made in the upcoming 291/71 Highway corridor improvement project, MoDOT wishes to improve traffic flow in a portion of North Commercial Street and had recommended shutting down Gas Light’s west driveway.

MoDOT is planning to install a lighted traffic signal at Plaza Drive and city officials said the driveway was simply too close to the intersection and would cause concern for traffic flow.

While he recognizes the importance of safety, Soulis said in September that shutting down one of the four entrances has the potential for the shopping area to lose customers and would result in a loss of the business investment he’s made.

Gas Light Plaza has the potential to house up to 29 businesses and is home to about 150 jobs.

“It’s a very vibrant center when you throw in those measures,” Soulis said. “Honoring an existing business investments in our community and protecting these business assets should be a high priority for the design criteria and its implementation.”

Soulis appealed the plans to eliminate the driveway and made the proposal to relocate the driveway a few yards east, about 100 feet from the proposed intersection, and establishing a right-in and right-out channelization design that would eliminate drivers from making left turns into and out of the retail area.

Since the meeting, Soulis and MoDOT came to agreement to relocate the driveway and compromised in establishing a right-in only channelization design.

During the Nov. 18 BOA meeting, Eric Patterson, assistant director of public works, asked aldermen to vote to uphold the appeal. The Public Works Committee recommended approval, he said. “It’s the less bad option,” Patterson said.

Aldermen approved the appeal 8-0.

In other meeting business, Alderman made the following actions:

Approved an ordinance outlining new board procedures by a vote of 6-2.

During the Nov. 8 BOA meeting, City Clerk Kim Hubbard said there have been questions regarding the city’s policy of suspending the rules and moving an ordinance to a second reading.

City code states that an ordinance needs to be read twice prior to passage and that both readings may occur at a single meeting. The practice of requiring a unanimous vote to move to the second reading is not required by code or state law.

Ward 3 Alderman Bret Reece requested a policy be drafted that allows the second reading of an ordinance at the same meeting if a majority of the elected officials vote to do so.

Approved an ordinance authorizing the city administration to enter into a contract with Insituform Technologies USA in an amount not to exceed $42,734.90 to repair the Ann Street sanitary sewer line by a unanimous vote.

Approved an ordinance authorizing the city administrator to execute an amendment to the Burns and McDonnell contract in an amount not to exceed $117,890 for filter evaluation and completion of a facilities plan for the Harrisonville Water Treatment Plant.

Approved an ordinance to amend the 2013 budget for the city of Harrisonville for the fiscal year Jan. 1-Dec. 31.

Approved an ordinance to authorize the city administrator to execute a Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Emergency Airport aid agreement between the city of Harrisonville and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for funding for the replacement of the runway light controller at the Lawrence Smith Memorial Airport in an amount of $8,100.

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