The Grain Valley Board of Aldermen met briefly November 13th for its regularly scheduled meeting.
A public hearing was held regarding a Change of Zoning request from District R-3 (Multifamily Residential District) to District C-2 (General Business District) for the former Pub & Patio restaurant/bar space at 640 NW Yennie Avenue.
Jarett Primm, owner of Aspire Apartments where the restaurant space is located indicated they are looking to secure a restaurant that serves liquor vs. a bar that serves food with some limitations on the kitchen size. Community Development Director Mark Trosen stated this public hearing relates to an area on the comprehensive plan that shows mixed use.
This property had a 2009 CUP to allow a bar and grill in this space with four conditions. These conditions have not been followed and voided the CUP. The owners are now trying to bring this property into proper zoning regulations to allow a new restaurant/bar in this location. No residents commented during the public hearing, and the first reading of a bill to change zoning was approved unanimously later in the meeting.
In other business, the board approved the first reading of the 2024 budget, which includes merit pay and salary schedule increases as well as the cost to demolish the old farmhouse located at the old Sni-A-Bar Farms property. These items were previously approved by the Board during its October 16th budget workshop.
A resolution approving the purchase of two SUVs for police department use and an ordinance calling for an election on April 2, 2024 were both unanimously approved.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be held Monday, November 27th at 7:00pm.
Grain Valley Police Department (GVPD) is now accepting child nominations for its annual Shop with a Cop event. This program is an opportunity for local children to be matched with an officer during a shopping event at Target. After shopping, children can wrap gifts for family members with officers at City Hall/Police Department.
Nomination forms open on November 6th and will close on Friday, December 8th. Forms can be turned in at the police department or to the child's school counselor. Parents/guardians of the selected children will be contacted after the application process closes. GVPD says the shopping is scheduled to take place around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20.
If you would like to support Shop with a Cop, cash/check donations can be made in person at City Hall, located at 711 Main Street. Checks must be made payable to City of Grain Valley - with the memo line dedicated to Shop with a Cop.
If you have any questions, contact the Grain Valley Police Department at (816) 847-6250.
Nomination Forms can be accessed at this link.
by Cole Arndorfer
The Board of Aldermen briefly met for their second regularly scheduled meeting for the month on Monday, October 23. The meeting consisted of two resolutions and the first read of one ordinance.
With no public comments and the consent agenda approved, the board moved directly to resolutions.
In this section, the board discussed two new resolutions. The first, introduced by Alderman Knox, would appoint Robert Headley to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for a four-year term. Headley would be filling a position vacated by a member stepping down. The resolution was passed unanimously.
The second resolution, introduced by Alderman Mills, called for the reappointment of four members, Debbie Saffell, Craig Shelton, Elijah Greeene, and Chriss Bamman, to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a four-year term. All four of these members terms were up and all have stated that they would like another term on the commission. This resolution was also approved unanimously.
Next up was the first read of one ordinance, calling for an election in the City of Grain Valley on April 2, 2024. City Administrator Ken Murphy explained this is the official administrative step the city must take in order to hold its general municipal election. This election would entail voting for alderman positions in Wards I, II, and III as Alderman Arnold, Alderman Knox, and Alderman Skinner’s terms are expiring. Mayor Todd’s term is expiring, so the April 2024 election will also include a mayoral race. The first read of this ordinance was approved and it will be brought back, by title only, during the next scheduled meeting.
During city staff reports Community Development Director Mark Trosen noted that on Tuesday, November 7th from 5:30-7:30pm, the city will host an open house in order to share the design of the shared trail from Blue Branch to Nelson. The open house will be held at the new library off of Buckner Tarsney.
Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Davies reminded board members that the city’s Downtown Spooktacular is being held on Friday, October 27 from 6:15-8:30 pm. The event kicks off in Armstrong Park at 6:15pm with the Witches and Wizards Walk. Once the walk hits downtown, the event officially opens up. As of now, 34 local vendors have signed up to pass out treats and other goodies. A fireworks display will close out the event. Main Street will be shut down during this time.
The next Board of Aldermen’s meeting will take place at 7:00pm on November 13 at City Hall.
Residents may safely dispose of unused/unwanted/expired drugs during a Drug Take Back event hosted by Grain Valley Police Department (GVPD) from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday, October 28th! Residents can drop off items at a station set up in the City Hall/police department parking lot at 711 Main ST.
Please note that liquids, syringes/sharps, illegal drugs, and inhalers will not be accepted.
In addition to the drug take back event, GVPD will also be hosting a shredding event for Grain Valley residents. This allows residents to dispose of any unwanted/invalid confidential documents. All materials must be boxed/bagged and free from items such as staples of bindings.
On Monday, October 9, the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen briefly met for their regularly scheduled meeting. This meeting consisted of a community survey presentation and two new resolutions.
Under presentations, Assistant Director of Community Research for ETC Institute, Ryan Murray, gave the board an overview of data that was collected through a recent survey of community members. Through the survey, it was found that 80% of respondents said that they were either very satisfied or satisfied with Grain Valley as a place to live and a place to raise children. Murray said that throughout the survey, they saw many satisfied and very satisfied answers from residents.
ETC Institute highlighted some areas for improvement within the city based on the responses of those surveyed. Those areas include: maintenance of city streets, sidewalks, and infrastructure, enforcement of city codes and ordinances, effectiveness of communication with the public, parks and recreation programs and facilities, and police services.
Looking at trends from past surveys to this year, Murray said that the overall value of taxes and fees, as well as the quality of the education system within the city has gone down in terms of overall satisfied and very satisfied responses.
“Across the country, we’re seeing sharp downturns in those perceptions of government that are related primarily to public trust,” Murray said. “We’re seeing those types of responses or perception shifts right in our results from year-over-year.”
A trend that has seen a sharp increase in satisfied or very satisfied responses is appearance of neighborhoods and appearance of commercial properties in the city.
Moving on to resolutions, the board discussed and took action on two resolutions.
The first resolution was introduced by Alderman Bray. This resolution would authorize the city administrator to renew the city’s annual software and hardware maintenance and support agreement with Neptune Technology. City Administrator, Ken Murphy, said that Neptune Technology is who the city uses for their water meters and water meter reading symptoms. Murphy said that the city has been very happy with the work they have done and would like to continue it. The resolution was put to a vote and passed unanimously.
The other resolution was introduced by Alderman Cleaver. This resolution would approve the city’s contract with Tandem Paving Co. to do repairs at Butterfly Trail. Murphy said that the original budget only accounted for filling cracks at Butterfly Trail but the city has decided to use savings from the Ryan Road project to also add a seal coat in order to extend the lifespan of the trail. The resolution was passed unanimously.
In Alderman Arnold’s comments, he recognized the Grain Valley Band as they were Grand Champions at the recent Blue Springs band competition. The band scored top honors in all categories. Arnold said that he looks forward to their continued success as they continue to compete.
Arnold also noted the upcoming Downtown Spooktacular, asking about how donations were coming for that event. Mayor Todd said that there have not been any donations as of yet and Arnold presented him with a $500 check as a personal donation to the event. Arnold challenged the rest of the board to also donate to the event and said that the donations would help show the public that they are committed to saving taxpayer’s dollars.
The next Board of Aldermen’s meeting will take place at City Hall on October 23 at 7:00pm.
Beneath the glow of the full moon, the City of Grain Valley will be hosting its second annual Downtown Spooktacular, a free community event from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, October 27th.
In 2022, Downtown Spooktacular brought in over 2,000 residents and visitors to the downtown district. Businesses were able to register in contests and as a treat station – handing out goodies and hosting quick games at their assigned space. Trick-or-treaters were able to walk the downtown district and collect candy/goodies from local businesses, participate in the City’s haunted walk-through, and enjoy a stage show put on by volunteers and City staff.
This year Halloween enthusiasts of all ages are invited to join us for an unforgettable evening of family-friendly fun. Downtown Spooktacular will commence with a Witches and Wizards Walk, beginning in Armstrong Park and ending at the Halloween stage in Downtown Grain Valley. Following the walk, festivities will be ready and waiting for residents in the downtown district. After an evening of your traditional trick-or-treating, Downtown Spooktacular will end with a Halloween fireworks show.
“From participating in our jack-o’-lantern contest or window decorating contest to trick-or-treating or watching our first-ever fireworks show, there is something for everyone at Downtown Spooktacular,” Public Information Officer Tiffany Lor said.
“For the safety of trick-or-treaters and staff, we will be closing Main Street from Yennie to Front Street between 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. We ask that motorists seek alternative routes during the event hours.”
Other closures are as follows:
For more information on registration (free) or Downtown Spooktacular festivities, contact the Public Information Officer at (816) 847-6293 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: City of Grain Valley
by Cole Arndorfer
The City of Grain Valley Board of Aldermen met briefly for their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 25. The meeting included a ceremonial oath of office for new police captain Joseph Christiansen, a public hearing on the property tax levy, one new resolution, and action on three ordinances.
Though the board held a public hearing in the August 28 meeting for the property tax levy, the city received new numbers from the county that has changed the amounts a bit. The previous total levy was 1.4494. With the new numbers, the proposed total levy would be 1.0781. After no discussion from aldermen or public comments, the public hearing was closed.
Under resolutions, the board discussed a proposal by Alderman Ryan Skinner to declare and affirm a vote of no confidence in Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr.’s ability to serve the county’s residents due to the management of the 2022 real property tax assessments process. The board approved this resolution unanimously.
For ordinances, the board heard three bills. One was read for its first and second read and the other two were brought back for second reads.
The first ordinance was read to set the city’s tax levy for the upcoming year as previously discussed in the meeting. While discussing the bill, Alderman Dale Arnold said that the city is doing their part in making sure that residents are not paying more than they should with their updated property tax assessments. The first read of the bill was approved and it was immediately read for its second read. This bill was passed unanimously and the tax levy will be set at 1.0781.
The second ordinance was the second read to amend chapter 215 of the city code regarding marijuana in order to align with the state laws. This bill was passed unanimously.
The final ordinance discussed was the second read of a bill calling to amend chapter 425 of the city code. This would remove language referring to “medical marijuana facilities” and replace it with “comprehensive marijuana facilities” in order to be consistent with state laws. After no discussion, this bill was passed unanimously.
Following ordinances, was the city staff reports. In his report, Police Chief Ed Turner, expressed his gratitude to all those who participated in National Night Out. Turner said it was a great opportunity to interact with the community and it was a great time.
In his mayor’s report, Mayor Todd reported the city recently striped some parking spots along Main Street downtown in order to have the correct sight distances for people to safely move in and out of those spots. He also noted the issues at the intersection in front of City Hall with the ongoing construction. Todd said that the city is aware of issues that are happening with the traffic lights and they have taken the steps necessary to alleviate it, adding that the construction is getting close to wrapping up.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen will take place at City Hall on Monday, October 9 at 7 pm.
by Cole Arndorfer
The City of Grain Valley Board of Aldermen met on Monday, September 11, for their first regular meeting in the month of September. This meeting included a presentation on the Comprehensive Plan and Parks Master Plan by Confluence, a public hearing on amending Chapter 425 of the City Codes of Ordinances in order to be consistent with the Missouri Constitution being amended in regard to marijuana laws, three new resolutions, and two first readings of ordinances.
Under presentations, representatives from Confluence Inc. gave aldermen an overview of both the Comprehensive Plan and the Parks Master Plan that are ready to be implemented.
At the time of the public hearing regarding the marijuana laws, Community Development Director, Mark. Trosen, explained that Missouri voters voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. Because of this, the Code of Ordinances must be changed to remove language referring to “medical marijuana facilities” and replace it with “comprehensive marijuana facilities”. The public hearing was closed with no residents speaking regarding the matter.
The first resolution was over adopting the Comprehensive Plan and the Parks Master Plan that was discussed previously in the meeting. The board had a lengthy conversation concerning the planned increase in multifamily housing and decrease in single family housing and how that might affect the city in the future. At this time, the board felt that even though this plan was a soft plan and would be able to change over time, their constituents would not be on board with the planned increases in multifamily housing that the plan spells out. This resolution was rejected 4-1 with alderman Bray being the lone acceptance vote.
The next resolution discussed was brought up in order to allow the city administrator to execute an agreement with Crawford, Murphy, and Tilly Inc. to design a northeast sewer interceptor and pump station. This was approved 5-0.
The third, and final, resolution that was discussed was in order to allow the city to enter into a contract with Shawnee LED to install a digital sign. This was approved 5-0. The digital sign discussed will be a 4’ by 8’ board with a base that is 2’ by 10’ and it will replace the old, manual sign at City Hall.
Under ordinances, the first bill discussed was to amend the city code regarding the legality of recreational marijuana in the city in accordance with state law. The first read of this bill was accepted 5-0 and it will be brought back for its second read at the next meeting.
The second bill discussed was to amend the wording in the city code regarding marijuana as previously discussed in the meeting. The only changes in the code would be taking out the “medical marijuana facilities” wording and change it to “comprehensive marijuana facilities” in Chapter 425. The first read of this bill was accepted 5-0 and it will also be brought back for its second read at the next meeting.
During staff reports, Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Davies updated the board on the fall baseball and softball program; saying that games would start next week and run through the middle or end of October depending on the weather. The department reports 335 kids participating in the programs this season.
During mayor comments, Mayor Mike Todd thanked everyone involved in the parade from the police department, to parks and recreation and public works, to the volunteers that helped everything run smooth. He also noted that this looked to be the highest attended fair that he could remember.
The next meeting of the board of aldermen will be held on Monday, September 25 at 7 pm in City Hall.
by Cole Arndorfer
The Grain Valley Board of Aldermen met briefly for their second August meeting on Monday, August 28. This short meeting included a proclamation for National Service Dog Month, approval of a liquor license for Valley Moments, a public hearing on the property tax levy, two resolutions, and five ordinances.
Mayor Todd and the board of aldermen presented a proclamation to recognize September 2023 as National Service Dog Month. Todd said that the need for service dogs is growing and the city is continuing to work toward becoming an inclusive community, in which all citizens and their service dogs are embraced. Deborah Morrison and her service dog, Mango, accepted the proclamation from Mayor Todd.
Under previous business, the board heard the second presentation for a liquor license for Valley Moments. As the business owner, Sadie Gibson, has a state license in hand and the police department has signed off on the application, the board approved the liquor license for the business.
The board then moved on to a public hearing for the property tax levy. General fund, debt service fund, parks and recreation, and public health are all the pieces that make up the total tax levy. Going through the current levy, the general fund currently makes up $0.4685, the debt service fund is at $0.8362, parks and recreation comes in at $0.1035, and public health rounds out to $0.0412. This makes the current total tax levy $1.4494. With regards to the increase in assed property valuation seen in the past year, the following changes to the levy have been proposed: general fund would be brought down to $0.3907, the debt service fund would drop to $0.5427, parks and recreation would come out to $0.0863, and public health would be decreased to $0.0344, bringing the proposed total for the tax levy to $1.0541.
City Finance Director, Steven Craig explains, “since this is an odd year, Jackson County has been appraising the properties and we saw about a 26.8% increase in the assessed valuation compared to last year. The state law does require that the levies be rolled back to be revenue neutral… and ours did roll back approximately 40 cents as a result of that.”
City Administrator Ken Murphy said that these are the numbers that the city has at this time and that they should be receiving a more solid round of numbers by the next board meeting in order for the board to take action on the issue. He also pointed out that the city has to have these numbers sent back in to the county by the end of September, noting that this is later in the process.
The board then discussed possible problems that changing the levy may cause as there are still citizens in the appeals process with the county regarding their property assessments. Craig said that there is a statute in Missouri state law that would allow the board to take action to adjust the levy if, for whatever reason, the assessments were to be held at the 2022 rate. After no members of the public stepped forward to talk on the matter, the public hearing was closed. The issue will come back for the next board meeting.
Under resolutions, the board discussed and took action on two resolutions.
The first resolution was to establish the need to amend the 2023 budget in order to fund the all-inclusive playground project at Armstrong Park. The board approved this resolution unanimously.
The second resolution was related to the first. This resolution entered the city into a contract with Cunningham Recreation to build the all-inclusive playground at Armstrong Park. The new playground would be installed by the end of the year and will take the place of the two existing playgrounds at Armstrong Park. The two existing playground sets have the capability to be moved to some of the other, smaller, parks in the city once they are removed. The board approved this resolution unanimously.
Under ordinances, the board heard five bills, four for their second reads and one for its first and second read.
The first bill approved the vacating of the platted cul-de-sac on the east and west side of NW Jefferson Court as discussed in the previous meeting. This was approved 6-0.
The next bill approved amending chapter 415 of the Code of Ordinances relating to Flood Hazard Prevention in order to adopt a new countywide flood insurance study. This item was also discussed in the previous board meeting. It was approved 6-0.
The third bill was approved to allow the city to create an ordinance that outlines the procedure for disclosing potential conflicts of interest and substantial interests for certain officials. This item was discussed previously in the last meeting. It was approved 6-0.
The fourth bill was approved to allowed the city to add Chapter 255, Article I, Section 255.010 to the City Code in order to allow bow hunting for deer within city limits. This item was discussed at length in the previous meeting. This was approved 5-1 with Alderman Arnold being the sole “no” vote.
The final bill discussed went with the first resolution discussed previously in the meeting. This bill was approved to allow Mr. Murphy to amend the 2023 budget in order to fund the all-inclusive playground project at Armstrong Park. The first read was approved and it was read again, by title only, where it was approved again 6-0.
Next on the agenda was city administrator and staff reports.
City Administrator Ken Murphy had just one item for his report: he said that the city is making progress on the construction of the new police station and that officials should be on the lookout for upcoming dates to walk the site in September.
For his mayor’s report, Mayor Todd spoke on the upcoming fair and parade taking place in the city September 8-9. He stated that the parade start time was moved up to 10 am this year in hopes to draw more attendance for that. He also said that there are well over 120 vendor spots, which is the most the city has ever had and the first time he can remember having to put together a waitlist for the event.
The next board of aldermen meeting will be held on September 11 at City Hall, starting at 7 pm.
by Cole Arndorfer
The Grain Valley Board of Aldermen met briefly Monday, August 14th for their regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall. reviewing a liquor license request, two items for public hearing, three resolutions, and the first readings of five ordinances.
Valley Moments, a business taking over the current Iron Courtyard space downtown is seeking a liquor license. The business is looking to use the space as an event venue for graduations, baby showers, birthday parties, wedding receptions, and other events. The business applied for a by the drink and a Sunday sales license. The board had no questions for the business and the item will be brought back to the next meeting for review.
Next, the board held public hearings on two items. The first was the vacations of the Northwest Jefferson Court cul-de-sac right of way. The second item was over amending chapter 415 of the Flood Hazard Prevention code and to adopt a new countywide flood insurance study. No members of the public stepped forward to comment on either of these items and the public hearing was closed.
After closing the public hearing, the board moved onto the resolutions portion of the meeting.
The board discussed a resolution introduced by Alderman Mills to install six new street lights on South Outer Road. The resolution was unanimously passed.
The second resolution discussed was brought by Alderman Skinner to allow the city to enter an agreement with Heartland Traffic Services, Inc. to complete pavement markings. Heartland would be responsible for the pavement markings on Ryan Road from Buckner Tarsney to Minter. This would also include two cross walk markings at the entrance to South Middle School and another at Duncan Road and Nicholas. After confirming that the repavement project on Ryan Road was complete, the board unanimously approved the resolution.
The final resolution discussed was to allow for the purchase of a 2023 Chevrolet Silverado crew cab truck to be used by the police department. City Administrator Ken Murphy said the city was contacted by a dealership that had a customer back out of a deal for the truck and that this truck would be used as a replacement for one of the department’s older vehicles. The city has budgeted money in place to purchase replacements for two Explorers being used as patrol vehicles; however, those vehicles are extremely hard to purchase right now, and it would not be until next budget year that the city could purchase those. After discussion, the board unanimously approved this resolution.
Under ordinances, the Board first approved the first reading of an ordinance to allow the city to enter an agreement for streetlights with the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission for the six streetlights along South Outer Road. This passed 6-0.
The second bill related to the first item on public hearing, creating an ordinance vacating the cul-de-sac on the East and West side of Northwest Jefferson Court. This item will be brought back for the next meeting by title only.
The third bill related to the other public hearing item, amending chapter 415 of the Code of Ordinances relating to Flood Hazard Prevention. This item will be brought back by title only at the next meeting.
Fourth, the board discussed a bill to create an ordinance that outlines the procedure for disclosing potential conflicts of interest and substantial interests for certain officials. Murphy said that this is something the board has to do to stay in compliance with the Missouri Ethics Commission and he does not believe that anything has changed since the last time it was discussed. This will be brought back by title only at the next meeting.
The final bill would add Chapter 255, Article I, Section 255.010 to the City Code in order to allow bow hunting for deer within city limits. This was an item that the board started looking at about a month and a half ago, Murphy said. It would allow residents to bow hunt for deer on ten acres of property or more. He also said that the city utilized a legal team and looked at what some other cities in the area have done related to this in order to put together this bill.
Alderman Arnold brought up concerns over the higher-powered crossbows being used, hunters shooting at deer along their property boundaries that may cause problems, as well as that the city has not done a study on the deer population in the area to see if that is a problem. The first read of this bill passed 5-1 and will be brought back to the next meeting.
Following ordinances was City Staff reports. Police Chief Ed Turner noted that the department will be having their Cakes, Cops, and Conversations event at Armstrong Park from 8 am to 11 am on August 26.
“This will be a great opportunity for us to engage the community,” Turner said.
All are welcome to come out for all-you-can-eat pancakes provided by Chris Cakes.
Parks & Recreation Director Shannon Davies provided updates for the fall baseball and softball program put on by the department. The late registration period ends this week, and games will start the week after the fair running through mid-late October depending on the weather. Davies also noted that this is the last week the pool is open weekdays and after this week it will be open on the weekends through Labor Day.
In Mayor Todd’s report, he acknowledged the end of First Fridays for the year and noted how successful the events were this year. He said that they are looking at some possible changes that they could make for next year in order to get some more businesses involved.
The next Board of Aldermen Meeting will be held at City Hall on August 28 at 7:00pm.