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Land Management

Local attorney takes up skating rink's cause

The Excelsior Springs Standard of Excelsior Springs, Missouri

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After city officials put the brakes on plans to re-open the Skates roller rink in an empty building on the eastern edge of town, local attorney Ben Mook told the Excelsior Springs City Council Monday night that he believed the city's reason for rejecting the proposal from Lora Kingery, Bob Whitacre and Tom Whitacre was not allowed under the city's zoning code.

Mook, who operates a law office in the downtown area with his wife, Amanda, said his reading of the Chapter 400.050 of the city code indicated that a building could not be ruled non-conforming simply because of height, yard, parking or loading requirements. The building, which is zoned C-3, once housed a heating and cooling building, but has been vacant for some time. Since a skating rink is not a typical tenant for such a building, the owners asked the Board of Zoning Adjustment for a variance so they could reopen their business, which was displaced when Walgreens was constructed at W. Jesse James and Crown Hill roads.

Their request for a variance was rejected because of insufficient parking. According to city officials, a commercial building of that size would need 40 or more parking spaces, though an exception could probably be made because most roller skating enthusiasts are not old enough to drive themselves to the rink. Still, the property has no parking to speak of, and an alternate plan to allow for parking at two neighboring businesses fell flat because it would require customers to cross Missouri 10 to get to and from the business.

The council listened to Mook's testimony, but Mayor Carolyn Schutte said it would be better for Mook to talk first with Code Enforcement Agent Larry Murry, and then perhaps to the BZA.

As the Standard reported Tuesday, the council also approved funds to renovate four "push-up" greens at the Excelsior Springs Golf Course—the last four greens that dated back to the 1940s—before the golf season picks up in the spring, but before they could do that they had to change the city's laws to allow that expenditure as recommended by the Excelsior Springs Capital Improvements Authority.

According to city attorney John McClelland, city code from 1990, when the golf course was operated by a contractor, prohibited such an expenditure.

To change that, the council voted 4-0 to change Section 155.180 of the Municipal Code to read that all golf course funds would be deposited in the city treasury to the credit of the Golf Enterprise Fund and kept separate from other city funds, then expended through authorized vouchers as provided by the city's purchasing policies.

Councilman Jim Nelson was absent from the meeting.

In other business, the council voted unanimously to continue the city's participation in the Mid-America Regional Council's Regional Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program. The program, which allows local residents to dispose of batteries, oil, paint, chemicals and other hazardous waste at drop-off sites throughout the year, is paid at a rate of 94 cents per capita in each of the participating jurisdictions—five cents per capita more than last year. For Excelsior Springs, where the U.S. Census Bureau population count is 11,796, the total for the contract is $11,088.24.

The council also unanimously approved a change to the city's drug testing policy for its employees. Theses changes were mandated by federal and state guidelines, especially the Missouri Department of Transportation, in order for the city to operate the bus system.

Copyright 2009 The Excelsior Springs Standard, Excelsior Springs, Missouri. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: December 25, 2009

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