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TIF panel recommends Shoppes at North Gate

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

Cox Rabius Development, LLC, developers of the proposed Shoppes at North Gate, may have been hoping for an unanimous vote from the TIF Commission, but that is not what they received.

After three hours of presentations and discussion, the 11-member TIF Commission voted on the proposed tax increment financing redevelopment of the 7.5 acre property at the intersection of HH Hwy. and NW Prairie View Road in Platte City.

By a vote of 9-2, with Platte County Second District Commissioner Jim Plunkett and Platte City Special Road District representative Bill Brown voting no, the commission gave its approval which will be forwarded and presented to the board of aldermen at a future meeting.

“I’m really pleased that we had a 9-2 decision,” said Developer Dina Cox. “I would be hopeful as we go forward the two that couldn’t support us find North Gate to be a positive for the community.”

The meeting remained pretty routine until a motion was put on the floor to approve a resolution stating the authorization of the TIF. The resolution is contingent upon a final document approving the language between the developer and the Platte County R-3 School District for the $133,000 annual contribution from the development to R-3.

Once the motion was seconded, Plunkett motioned that the resolution be amended to include requiring the developer to extend a sewer connection to the east side of I-29. Brown seconded the motion.

“One of the questions I asked is they kept saying early on they didn’t have enough money to make it work,” said Plunkett.

“My question to them was were they going to do a CID (Community Improvement District) to help supplement the funding to the district and their answer was yes, and they even knew what the percentage was going to be, saying they anticipated it would be a half cent. What has frustrated me is that from the beginning they were never forthcoming. If I had never asked how they were going fund the school district, they would have never came forth with that information.”

According to Plunkett, his whole reason for requesting the developer to run a sewer line under the interstate was because the developer’s attorneys at King Hershey Law Firm admitted to not knowing about the 3/8 cent sales tax for streets which was passed by voters last Tuesday. That lack of knowledge affected the accuracy of the latest figures they presented to the commission on Thursday night.

“The reason I made my proposal is because they had a funding mechanism they never disclosed to us through the CID and secondly, with the passage of the 3/8 cent road tax and even with the modified papers they gave to us Thursday night, they didn’t include the passage of the 3/8 cent sales tax,” stated Plunkett.

With the implementation of the CID and the 3/8 cent sales tax, Plunkett said shoppers at the Shoppes at North Gate will pay nearly as much in sales tax as the shoppers of the Zona Rosa development.

If Cox-Rabius sets the self-imposed CID tax rate at the anticipated one-half cent, combined with the recently passed 3/8 cent sales tax and other state and local taxes, the redeveloped area could become the second most expensive place to shop in Platte County, according to Plunkett.

Currently, Zona Rosa’s tax rate is established at 8.95%. If developed and taxes are implemented as the developer has stated, the Shoppes at North Gate tax rate will be set at 8.48 percent
Cox said that she is not concerned that the additional CID sales tax tax rate could create a potential negative effect on business.

“When you look at it on a $100 purchase it would be 50 cents and I think certainly the ambiance and the development will bring enough value that people won’t be concerned about 50 cents on $100,” stated Cox.

Cox acknowledged that the exact amount of the CID has not yet been determined.

“There is a chance it could be a full one cent. (It will be determined) after we have final numbers in on some of the infrastructure that has to be done,” she said.

Plunkett said he believes that additional CID revenue could have potentially created the revenue the city needed to extend a sewer line across I-29.

“I speculate that logically the sales tax could have easily funded the sewer extension. Initially, they always said their projections were tight and now when they have two additional mechanisms of revenue and with the public infrastructure improvements presented in the plan less than 15 percent, why not offer up something that would be great for Platte City?”

Platte City TIF Attorney Doug Patterson said, “I respect the motion to amend but that’s a material change to the plan. It would be a gut of this plan.”

Developer Dina Cox also stated the additional attorney fees and engineering fees it would take to redevelop the plans from the beginning to include the sewer extension would not be reasonable.

“I don’t think it would be feasible,” she said.
Plunkett stated, “The entire purpose of this TIF was to bring economic funding through taxes to the City of Platte City, Missouri.

“If the purpose of that is to make that happen, they why shouldn’t you take additional revenue that is generated and not shown to us in any of the books and open up additional development east of I-29? If you did that then all the taxing jurisdictions would benefit because of property tax.”

If a sewer line would be run underneath the interstate, Plunkett said it would potentially open the floodgates for Platte City.

“If you open the area up across the street to commercial development, the property taxes generated off commercial development would exceed those of residential development,” said Plunkett. “I’m in hopes that Mayor (Dave) Brooks is successful at negotiating at no cost to the city an extension of sewer lines under I-29 because that’s what I was proposing.”

Plunkett said he does not regret his motion or vote.

“The county commission’s stance has never wavered. Our request of developers is to make these improvements out of their pockets without any kind of reimbursement from any public bodies,” he said.

“I can’t vote yes on this one and then turn around tell other developers in Platte County that they must pay for it on their own.”

Now that the TIF Commission's recommendation has been made, a final decision on issuing the TIF will be made by the Platte City Board of Aldermen. The aldermen must wait at least 14 days from the time of the TIF Commission decision to take up the matter.


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