Independence preps for growth with updated comprehensive plan

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- City leaders in Independence have a new plan to guide future developments in the city. On Monday, the city council approved a new comprehensive plan. It lays out a set of principles to guide development in the city through the year 2040. 

The plan, nicknamed "Imagine Independence," replaces a previous plan adopted in 1993. 

Independence is the second largest city on the Missouri side of the metropolitan area after Kansas City. The city expects to add 12,000 residents over the next 20 years. That means the city will need more houses, restaurants, and jobs. 

The comprehensive plan sets the stage for how to implement that growth and balance the needs of the community with ideas from developers. 

As an example of where residents will see a plan on paper turn into development in the city is along Little Blue Parkway. The city extended the road north of 39th Street, opening access to new areas.

Mayor Eileen Weir said ideas in this comprehensive plan will help balance which businesses and how much commercial versus residential development moves into the area. 

"We have a lot of undeveloped land to work with," Weir pointed out. "Before we start attracting developers who want to develop in that area, we want to make sure that what they're proposing matches what our community wants, both aesthetically and functionally."

She compared the comprehensive plan to a pitch to attract developers to an area under a certain framework. 

“They can get a sense, before they even come to town, of what they can expect, or what we're visioning and how it matches what they have in mind for development,” Weir explained.

Other concepts the plan focuses on include improving the quality of housing in Independence and adapting the way the city uses facilities like community centers and City Hall. 

To see the plan, click here.

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