KC Council Tells QuikTrip To Talk To Neighbors (Again) Before A Final Vote On Westport Expansion

Jun 29, 2017

Another conflict over a Westport modernization project brought out hours of testimony Wednesday in front of the Kansas City Council's planning, zoning and economic development committee.

The proposed projects have seen strong opposition from neighbors who fear the historic character of the district will change. 

This time, debate centered around plans to upgrade and expand the QuikTrip on Holly Street and Westport Road to a so-called "generation three" model, a project that began more than a year ago. In September, the City Plan Commission rejected QuikTrip's proposal, meaning Wednesday's presentation to the committee was the final chance to move the plan forward.

The gas station has been operating in that location since the 1980s, but has outgrown its space, according to project officials.

The new design will take up 1.5 acres, include 52 parking spots and add six more gas pumps.

Initially, West Plaza residents were concerned with the amount of space the new station would need, including surrounding residential land. However, the plan presented Wednesday resolved that issue. 

“The entire property we’re talking about rezoning is all zoned B32," Attorney Patricia Jensen, who represents the developers, said. "It's all commercially zoned. So we’re not changing like we did at 102nd and Wornall, where we had to rezone some of the residential property into commercial classification."

However, neighborhood officials say there was a "fall-off" in negotiations. Despite the West Plaza group's suggestions, there were a few points the company wouldn't budge on.

Plans for the expanded QuikTrip include closing Mercier St. to through traffic, which has been a sticking point for neighbors.
Credit QuikTrip

One of the biggest points of contention was Mercier street and whether or not it would remain open to traffic.

“The staff originally wanted Mercier street to remain open, the City Plan Commission wanted it to remain open, the neighborhood wanted it, it's just the applicant," Attorney Spencer Thomson, who represents the neighborhood group, said. "And with all due respect, should a store gas station operator have the right to disregard the area plan, disregard the wishes, the Plan Commission, the neighborhood, etc. on such an important issue as street vacation?”

A long line of neighbors expressed similar concerns and overall disapproval.

After two hours of testimony, it was clear there was still a disconnect between the developers and the neighborhood. In the end, the committee decided to pass the plan with no recommendation and require an additional meeting before the plan goes before full council. 

Project Manager Andrew Smith assured that there's still has room for compromise. 

"This is just a site plan approval," Smith said. "We haven't gotten into full engineering drawings. We haven't done the full retaining wall drawings and we'd be happy to work with our adjacent landowners when we get to that point." 

The meeting will be held after the July 4th holiday.

Lexi Churchill is a news intern for KCUR 89.3