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City officials react to results of business outreach survey

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

After 25 local businesses were visited by the Chamber of Commerce to gather their input and concerns about Platte City, various members and guests gathered at the February chamber luncheon to hear recommendations of their peers.

Representatives from the City of Platte City, Aquila, the Platte County R-3 School District, Platte County Government, and the chamber all came together to address the issues.

City hall was the first entity to take center stage, addressing numerous concerns. However, with no time limitation set to address those numerous concerns, city hall staff became the only individuals able to address the issues.

Some of the key issues outlined under city hall in the chamber’s business outreach action plan were: signage regulations, city hall not being business friendly to potential developers, affordable housing, and traffic issues.

In addressing the concerns regarding the signage ordinances in Platte City, City Administrator Keith Moody acknowledged how the placement of signs can be a powerful issue for business owners.

“Signage is one thing that can raise the hair on the back of a business owner’s neck,” said Moody.

Moody said the current sign ordinance allows for 10% of each side of a business to be used for signage.

“Signage is a reflection of the community,” stated Moody. “It’s how you approach the signage issue, depends on how much bang you get for you money.”

For a while, the staff at city hall has been accused of trying to keep new businesses out of Platte City. Moody set out to dispel that image of city hall during the luncheon, stating that they’re just upholding the regulations the citizens wanted in place.

“It’s not that we’re opposed to new businesses coming to town,” said Moody.

“It’s sometimes hard for the developers to get their arms around the zoning ordinances,” said Moody.

“The zoning ordinance document was established by the citizens of Platte City and adopted by the people who were elected to sit on the board of aldermen. Those ordinances reflect the changing opinions of our citizens of Platte City, the planning and zoning committee and the members of the board of aldermen. They aren’t the reflections of the staff, but the reflections of the community.”

Moody told the businesses present at last Thursday’s luncheon, that if anyone doesn’t like the current zoning ordinances, city hall isn’t the place to go to make those thoughts known.

“If anyone doesn’t like the document, then they need to approach the community, not the city,” said Moody.

Another issue of concern that was raised for city hall was the need to work towards compliance with housing goals, as set forth by the Economic Development Team.

Moody pointed out that in the 2000 census, the average cost of a single family home in Platte City was $111,500.

“Platte City sure does have adequate, affordable housing,” said Moody.

Traffic issues were a major concern also outlined by business owners.

Platte City Police Chief Joe McHale stated the city has seen more traffic accidents and congestions with its continued growth.

While he acknowledged the problem of continued congestion, McHale said he was proud to report that his department has been able to reduce the amount of traffic accidents by 35% over last year.

As traffic continues to be a key concern for everyone in the city, McHale suggested as more areas across the city become a hazard to make the department aware so they can analyze those specific areas.

The City of Platte City, Aquila, the R-3 School District, Platte County Government, and the Chamber of Commerce, will confront the remaining issues at the March Chamber of Commerce luncheon.




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