Council Recap: Short-Term Rentals, QuikTrip, and Street Designation for Coach Shepherd – Excelsior Citizen

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Consideration of Honorary Street Designation of Coach John Shepherd Way

City Manager Molly McGovern presented a resolution for the honorary street designation, celebrating the contributions of two renowned high school coaches, Vic Bonuchi and John Shepherd.

The resolution, which was unanimously approved, will see a section of US 69 between Crown Hill Road and Tracy named “Coach Vic Bonuchi Way” in recognition of Bonuchi’s impact. Additionally, Leavenworth Street, adjacent to Lewis Elementary School, will be designated “Honorary Coach John Shepherd Way.” This decision highlights the city’s appreciation for the coaches who led their teams to victory and played pivotal roles in mentoring youth in the community.

Missouri State Representative Doug Richey and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) have approved these designations, underscoring broad support for this initiative. As McGovern remarked, “Their contributions to Excelsior Springs will be memorialized, acknowledging the lasting legacy of these coaches in shaping the lives of many Excelsior Springs citizens.

Consideration of USBR 51 Bike Trail Designation – Resolution No. 1489

The Council approved a resolution for the designation of a new bicycle route through the city. Presented by Nate Williams, Director of Parks, Recreation, & Community Center, the resolution supports the development of the United States Bicycle Route 51 (USBR 51), a project spearheaded by the Missouri Bike Federation and Adventure Cycling Association in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

The resolution acknowledges the significant economic impact of bicycle tourism, which contributes approximately $75 billion annually to local economies across North America. Recognizing the potential benefits for Excelsior Springs, the council approved and supported the proposed USBR 51 route that passes through the city. 

With the council’s endorsement, Excelsior Springs joins the broader effort to develop USBR 51 across Missouri. The city’s approval is a step towards getting the route officially designated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Once this designation is achieved, Excelsior Springs plans to enhance its infrastructure by posting signs along the city’s right-of-way to guide and welcome cyclists traversing the USBR 51.

Consideration of Purchase 4 Zero Turn Mowers for Parks Division – Resolution No. 1490

Nate Williams, Director of Parks, Recreation, & Community Center, presented a resolution for purchasing four new zero-turn mowers, emphasizing the need for regular equipment updates for efficient park maintenance.

According to Williams, the Parks Division is on a schedule to replace its zero-turn mowers every three years. This year’s replacement includes an additional trade-in of a larger area mower purchased in 2021, which has proven unsuitable for the hilly terrain of the parks. The proposed exchange involves trading two John Deere Z950 mowers and one John Deere 1570 mower.

The financial details laid out in the resolution were clear. The cost for four John Deere Z950M mowers totals $52,600.00. However, the trade-in value of the old mowers amounts to $36,750.00, reducing the net expense to $15,850.00. This purchase, previously approved by the Parks & Recreation Board on December 19th, will be fulfilled by Heritage Tractor in Smithville.

Consideration of Western Star X47 Truck Purchase – Resolution No. 1491

Chad Birdsong, Director of Public Works, presented a proposal to the Excelsior Springs City Council to purchase a new dump truck to enhance the city’s public works operations. The council approved the proposal to replace and upgrade the current fleet with a more efficient and capable vehicle.

Birdsong explained that the Public Works Department had budgeted in the Road and Bridge fund to acquire one dump truck for the 2024 budget year. After thorough research and collaboration with Midway Sterling Truck Center and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) State Bid program, a Western Star 47X truck was identified as the ideal vehicle for the city’s needs. This model is similar to what MoDOT uses for highway maintenance, ensuring reliability and suitability for various public works projects.

The original list price for the 2025 model of the truck is $288,686.00. However, thanks to the state bid program, the cost is significantly reduced to $192,571.00. This price includes a 7-year/100,000-mile engine warranty. Detailed specifications and a cost breakdown were provided in the attached proposal. The plan also includes eliminating an additional older dump truck from the fleet, with the proceeds from this sale contributing to the purchase of the new truck. The Road and Bridge funds will cover the remaining cost.

The Road and Bridge District had met on December 20th and approved a budget not to exceed $195,000.00 for this purpose. While placed in Construction Services, the new asset will be available across all Public Works departments. Public Works recommended the purchase of the truck for the 2024 budget year, with an expected delivery in mid to late summer.

Consideration of Wastewater Treatment Plant Clarifier Scraper Blade Purchase

Chad Birdsong, Director of Public Works for Excelsior Springs, presented another item to the City Council, focusing on the upkeep of the city’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The proposal addressed the need to replace the scraper blades in the two clarifiers at the WWTP, a key component in maintaining the functionality and efficiency of the wastewater treatment process.

Birdsong explained that the scraper blades are subject to wear and tear due to their continuous operation since the plant’s startup. Replacing these blades is essential for the uninterrupted and effective operation of the clarifiers. Parkson, the company that took over from the original equipment manufacturer, now out of business, provided a quote for replacing and installing five scraper blades, amounting to $55,650.00.

Given the specificity of the equipment and the acquisition of the original manufacturer by Parkson, this purchase is considered a sole source vendor situation. These replacements are critical to ensure the smooth operation of the wastewater treatment plant, which is vital for the city’s environmental health and compliance with regulatory standards.

The City Council approved the proposal as part of their commitment to maintaining essential city services and infrastructure.

Consideration of Lease Renewal with DEP for Use of 220 Dunbar

Molly McGovern, City Manager of Excelsior Springs, presented a proposal to the City Council to renew a lease agreement with the Downtown Excelsior Partnership (DEP). The lease pertains to using the property located at 220 Dunbar, historically known as the old Firehouse, for storing Christmas decorations and Parks & Recreation equipment.

McGovern highlighted that this location has been effectively utilized as a central storage point for the past five years. It has facilitated easy access for community volunteers involved in various activities, from coaching to holiday decorating. The centralized storage has been instrumental in supporting these volunteers in fulfilling their roles within the community.

The proposal sought to renew the lease agreement, which she said has been mutually beneficial. Notably, the lease does not involve any monetary rent. Instead, the value of the lease is seen in exchange for the community service provided – specifically, the adornment of the city during the Christmas season, which adds to the community’s festive spirit and enjoyment.

The renewal shows the city’s appreciation of the value of these decorations to the community’s ambiance during the holiday season. It also underscores the importance of supporting volunteers who dedicate their time and effort to beautify the city and engage in community services.

Consideration of Amendment to Chapter 400.230 Zoning Regulation for Special Use Permits

Doug Hermes, Planning Consultant for Excelsior Springs, presented a significant amendment to Chapter 400.230 of the Zoning Regulation, focusing on the city’s Short-term Rentals (STRs) governance. The City Council made a pivotal change to the ordinance, defining short-term rentals as those lasting 27 days or less to distinguish them from month-to-month rentals. This modification aims to clarify the regulatory framework for STRs, a growing sector in the city’s housing and tourism market.

The council also expressed an interest in revisiting the topic of density regulations for STRs, planning to gather community feedback for a more comprehensive approach. The amendment’s immediate approval was deemed necessary to address current issues surrounding existing STRs.

Hermes provided a comprehensive overview of the proposal, shaped through multiple study sessions conducted by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The key points of the amendment include:

    • Definition of Short-Term Rental: A Short Term Rental is defined as a permanent residential dwelling unit or any portion thereof, or a Mixed Residential and Non-Residential Use within the Central Business District, rented for occupancy for a period of less than 27 consecutive calendar days. This definition applies regardless of whether a permanent resident is also present during the period of occupancy​.
  • Permissibility of STRs:
      • STRs are allowed in any legally conforming single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family residential structure or Mixed Residential and Non-Residential Use within the Central Business District, irrespective of the zoning district.
      • Within the Downtown Tourist Area, STRs are permitted outright.
      • Outside the Downtown Tourist Area, STRs are permitted with a Special Use Permit (SUP).
  • Requirements for STRs:
      • All STRs must obtain a City business license, issued upon compliance with all applicable zoning and site standards.
      • STRs must adhere to specific site standards, including sufficient off-street parking (two spaces for up to three bedrooms, with one additional space for each additional bedroom), a maximum occupancy of two adult guests per bedroom, biennial city rental inspections, and the possibility of revocation of the City business license and/or SUP upon three or more City Code property maintenance and/or disturbance citations or charges within a one-year period.
  • Exceptions and Special Conditions:
    • STRs located in a Mixed Residential and Non-Residential Use within the Central Business District are exempt from off-street parking site standards.
    • Proposed STRs in the Downtown Tourist Area that cannot meet the off-street parking site standards may be considered through a Special Use Permit application.
    • Only the property owner of record may obtain a City business license and/or apply for a Special Use Permit for a STR.
  • Boundaries of the Downtown Tourist Area: The ordinance defines the boundaries of the Downtown Tourist Area, encompassing various historic districts and specific streets as outlined in the ordinance​.
  • Legal Provisions and Enforcement: The ordinance includes provisions for legal interpretation enforcement and overrides any conflicting regulations within the Municipal Code of the City of Excelsior Springs. It is effective upon its passage and approval​.

Hermes said the ordinance intended to balance the growth of STRs with the preservation of neighborhood character and community expectations, promoting development and tourism while maintaining residential integrity.

Consideration of Special Use Permit for 812 Saint Louis Ave.

City Planner Shantele Frie presented a proposal for a Special Use Permit (SUP) concerning a property at 812 St. Louis Avenue. The application, submitted by Sharps Property Management LLC, seeks to convert a vacant single-family residence in the R-1 Single-Family Residential District into a short-term rental. This initiative reflects the growing trend of properties used as Airbnb or VRBO accommodations. The property, comprising two structures, plans to use the main residence for this purpose.

The proposed short-term rental can add a new dimension to the local housing market, located in a primarily residential area with neighboring zones, including residential and non-retail business districts. The City’s Zoning Regulations permit such special land uses under individual consideration, which is where the SUP comes into play. The staff analysis indicated that the proposed use is compatible with surrounding properties and would not adversely affect public health, safety, or adjacent land uses. The residence also meets the required parking criteria with its existing facilities.

As this is a new application for a special use permit, the staff suggested an initial two-year time limit for the permit. This timeframe allows for a thorough review of the rental’s operation and its impact on the neighborhood. 

Consideration of Quik Trip Final Plat & Site Plan

The City Council reviewed two agenda items City Planner Shantele Frie presented concerning the development of a new QuikTrip convenience store. The store, proposed by QuikTrip Corporation, is planned for a strategically located vacant lot at the southeast corner of US 69 Highway and McCleary Road, with the address 2021 W. Jesse James Road.

The property, currently zoned as C-3 Service Business District, underwent an administrative lot split last year, merging tracts to form a single parcel for development. Originally, the development included plans for both a convenience store with gas pumps and a medical clinic building.

However, the latest proposal focuses solely on the QuikTrip store, which involves constructing a convenience store with fuel pumps on a unified lot. This significant change in the site’s use led to a revision of the initial plans.

Key elements of the proposed development include infrastructure improvements, such as creating full access from McCleary Road and right-in/right-out access from Jesse James Road.

Additionally, the plan outlines enhancements to the intersection of McCleary Road and US 69 Highway, including eliminating the eastbound merge lane onto Jesse James Road and adding a deceleration lane for better traffic flow into the site. The development also addresses essential public utilities like water and sewer services, with an existing water main along both McCleary Road and Jesse James Road providing adequate water supply.

Stormwater management is a critical aspect of the project, with plans for an on-site detention basin and comprehensive management strategies. Public Works Plans for the sanitary sewer line extension and stormwater management have already been approved.

The proposal aligns with the city’s comprehensive plan, which designates the property for future industrial development and recognizes the surrounding roads as major arterial and collector streets. The plan also integrates a sidewalk/trail along the south side of Jesse James Road, enhancing pedestrian access and aligning with future trail development plans in the area.

City staff has analyzed the final plat and site plan, concluding that the development is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and design standards. The design of the QuikTrip store is strategically focused on optimizing space usage and includes a modern aesthetic with brick and stucco exteriors. The plan also involves shared parking and drive areas with adjacent properties and satisfies requirements for parking spaces, illumination, and landscaping standards

The council approved the final plat and site plan applications for the QuikTrip Store No. 0279.

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