by Alan McArthur
Parkville aldermen on Tuesday night approved the first reading of an ordinance to restrict possible ground floor uses along Main Street to retail businesses only.
Several property owners along Parkville’s Main Street presented a signed petition requesting the ordinance. The area from the railroad tracks to Second Street would be considered as part of the ordinance.
Offices and residences would be limited to upper floors of buildings while retail would have preference along the street.
Property owners will be allowed to have an “escape hatch” to rent for other uses if they show a good faith effort to advertise for retail and the property is still empty for at least three months. The property owner can then go to the community development director with the proof of advertisement and be granted use for a non-retail space.
The ordinance defines some examples of retail operations as: “bookstore, clothing store, florist, hardware store, antique store, art gallery, craft store, furniture store, clothing store, bakery, restaurant, ice cream parlor, coffee shop, and similar uses that sell goods directly to the consumer.”
Sean Ackerson, community development director and assistant city administrator, said any current non-retail operations on Main Street are allowed to remain until they vacate the property and then the property would be subject to the ordinance.
The cities of Mission and Overland Park in Kansas have similar regulations to limit first floor uses along Main Street also.
Ackerson said retailers want to be where retailers are in order to garner more traffic.
The first reading of the ordinance was approved by the board with a vote of 8-0. The second reading will be presented at the board's next meeting on Oct. 6.