Raytown Planning and Zoning split on Walmart decision

RAYTOWN, Mo. - The proposal to build a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Raytown has ignited a lot of opinions within the city. Thursday night, more than 100 people packed a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that lasted five and a half hours.

Commissioners were split on the plan for the 42,000-square foot store, which would be located on a city-owned lot at E. 62nd Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard.

Members voted 4-4, meaning the proposal failed. One commissioner was not present, so a motion for an affirmative vote was approved and set for May 2.

Commissioners want to address three issues at the May meeting. The first is store operating hours. Most Walmart Neighborhood Market stores operate 24 hours a day, and that has been a sticking point for many in Raytown.

Two other issues include the size of signage on the property and the scope and location of parking.

Critics of the project argue the store does not fit in with the vision for the downtown Raytown area and worry Walmart would not abide by design standards.

"There's no reason for the city to settle just because we want something on that ground," longtime resident Ron Wiseley said.

However, some believe Walmart could be a good neighbor by spurring more business.

Beth Kurzava recently opened her shop, Show-Me Quilting, across the street in Raytown Plaza. She thinks the grocery store would attract more people to a struggling area.

"I think this is the best opportunity Raytown's had in a long time," Kurzava said. "If it doesn't come through, I would guess that downtown Raytown would probably die."

If Walmart clears the May 2 meeting, the plan goes to the Raytown Board of Aldermen for consideration.

Walmart has offered to pay $650,000 for the four-acre lot and has put down a $5,000 deposit for the land.

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