Relevant Ordinances and Plans
The KC Outlook project requests to re-zone several parcels on the 4500 block of Troost Ave, under section 88-260 of the Zoning and Development Code. This section of the code states:
"The use and development standards established for the subject UR district must be in general conformance with the approved area plan and be compatible with desirable land use and development patterns in the surrounding area (88-260-03, emphasis added)."
The relevant area plan for these parcels is the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan. It is also important to note that the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan explicitly explicitly invokes and defers (p. 84) to the recommendations of a redevelopment plan previously adopted by the city for these parcels (the Troost-Emmanuel Cleaver II Redevelopment and Implementation Plan). It also states, that in instances of inconsistency the recommendations of this redevelopment plan "supersede" the recommendations of the Midtonw/Plaza Area Plan itself.
It is clear from a review of the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan that the proposed is not in general conformance with the recommendations of this plan.
Midtown/Plaza Area Plan (2016)
RECOMMENDED LAND USE
The Recommended Land Use Map establishes the land use recommended within the plan area. This recommended land use is described as,
". . .the guide for future development requests and rezonings. It depicts an intended future development pattern, intensity, and location of various types of land uses. The Recommended Land Use Map is intended to prevent future land use conflicts, safeguard natural resources and plan for the orderly and predictable development of the area. The Recommended Land Use Map serves as the guide for whether or not zoning changes are appropriate or needed but does not itself change zoning (42)."
"If a proposed development, use(s) and/or physical form require rezoning a property, the Recommended Land Use Map is consulted to determine if the proposed land use and physical form is consistent with the long term vision for the area (42)."
The Plaza Sub Area Recommended Land Use Map (figure 4.9, p. 43) designates the parcels in the KC Outlook project as “Mixed Use Neighborhood”.
This is defined on page 28 as:
"Primarily intended to accommodate and promote neighborhood serving retail sales or service uses, as well as mixed-use development consisting of business uses on a building’s lower floors and residential uses on upper floors. This type of vertical, mixed-use development that includes a variety of business and residential choices should enhance the pedestrian environment of the community. Encouraging residential development in mixed-use areas provides increased housing choice and promotes higher density housing. This land use classification generally corresponds with the “B1” zoning category within the zoning ordinance."
The exemplar shown for Mixed Use Neighborhood is:
This plan also defines the type “Mixed Use Community”. This is defined as:
"Primarily intended to accommodate and promote a variety of community-serving retail sales or service uses generally of a higher intensity and larger scale than what is allowed in Mixed Use Neighborhood areas. This category should include a mix of business and residential uses designed to enhance the pedestrian environment of the community and generally corresponds with the “B2” zoning category within the zoning ordinance."
The exemplar shown for Mixed Use Community is:
At five stories, with four stories of residential over a first story of commercial, the proposed KC Outlook project is precisely the exemplar chosen in the Midtown-Plaza Area Plan as “Mixed Use Community”, not "Mixed Use Neighborhood". Therefore, the KC Outlook project significantly exceeds the level of development intensity recommended by the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan.
The Midtown/Plaza Area Plan also specifies the following Guiding Principles applicable to its entire planning area:
Reinforce and Embrace an Urban Development Pattern (p. 23).
Respect Appropriate, Established Land Uses and Prevent Encroachment (p. 23).
Respect the Scale and Character of Adjacent Development With Infill Development/Redevelopment (p. 24).
Encourage the Preservation and Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings (p. 25).
Ensure Adequate Infrastructure is Provided to Enable Development/Redevelopment Within the Area (p. 26).
Implement Sustainable, Green Infrastructure Solutions to Achieve Multiple Benefits (p. 26).
Ensure Open, Clear, Upfront Communication (p. 26).
Principles 1-4 are of particular importance when evaluating the KC Outlook project.
PLANNING AREA I
The 4500 block of Troost Ave. is in Planning Area I of the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan. The area plan identifies the KC Outlook parcels for Potential Redevelopment (Fig. 4.23). It also identifies all of the structures on the block bounded by 45th St., Troost Ave., Gillham Rd, and Brush Creek Blvd. outside of the KC Outlook parcels as "Determined Historic Resource". The only exception is 1000 Brush Creek Blvd (built 1959).
It is the Planning Area I section of the area plan that explicitly invokes and defers to the Troost-Emmanuel Cleaver II Redevelopment & Implementation Plan (2015) as providing specific planning guidelines for this block (p. 84) that "supersede" its own recommendations, and encourages the use of zoning overlays. It also includes this specific recommendation regarding new development:
"While there is only one property identified as “Maintain Predominate Form” along the corridor, the intent is to use this structure as a model for new development. Key urban form attributes that should be emulated in new development include: placement, scale, footprint, articulation, quality and type of materials, walkability, and parking configuration (p. 84)."
This model for new development (4305 Troost Ave.) is shown below. This is a three-story building with less than 60' of frontage. The proposed five-story 60' tall KC Outlook buildings, with 192' and 150' of frontage clearly do not conform with this recommendation of the Midtown/Area Plan.
The full text of the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan is available by clicking the button below.
Troost-Emmanuel Cleaver II Redevelopment & Implementation Plan
The Troost-Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard Redevelopment & Implementation Plan was developed by the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority and adopted by City Council on January 15, 2015 (resolution 140996) specifically for the purpose of guiding redevelopment in the Troost-Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard area, including the two parcels that have been requested for rezoning.
This planning process included extensive community engagement, and was developed under the guidance of an advisory group of civic volunteers and outside consultants. It represents the expressed preferences of the local community for development of this area and these parcels.
The Troost-Cleaver II plan makes detailed recommendations for redevelopment of the parcels in this project, and recommends between 42 and 66 live/work units, containing between 38,000 and 59,000 square feet of total floor space, in either two or three-story buildings (p. 24). The Troost-Cleaver plan recommends no structure taller than three stories in the entire planning area.
The proposed KC Outlook plan proposes roughly two to three times the floor area, and buildings two or three stories taller, than recommended by the Troost-Cleaver plan for these parcels. Therefore, it is clearly does not conform with this adopted redevelopment plan.
The Troost-Cleaver II plan recommendations also adhere to the requirements of the Troost Overlay and recommend residential or "live/work" development on the parcels included in the KC Outlook project, which is consistent with the designation of this block as Urban Corridor (medium density residential).
The Troost Overlay is a Special Character Overlay that alters the applicable base district and zoning regulations for parcels on Troost Ave. All provisions of the Troost Overlay have the same force and effect as the Zoning & Development Code. Overlay Districts are recommended for areas of the city with unique qualities where additional guidelines and requirements are indicated.
Section 88-215-02-A of the Zoning and Development Code describes the purpose of the Troost Overlay this way,
"The TCO, Troost Corridor Overlay District, is intended to preserve and maintain the urban fabric while promoting quality uses and businesses desiring to improve the area, and to encourage appropriate redevelopment by restricting certain land uses."
The conditions that inspired the development of the Troost Overlay and the neighborhood-led planning that created it are discussed in the Troost Overlay District: User’s Guide (available at hydeparkkc.org):
"The Troost Corridor Overlay District is a neighborhood-initiated and led planning effort to control development on Troost between 24th Street on the North to Volker Boulevard on the South. This is an unprecedented consensus based project driven by a collaborative effort of Hyde Park, Longfellow, Beacon Hill, Center City, Squier Park, and Manheim Park neighborhood associations; the city of Kansas City, Missouri; and professionals from the local design community."
"After 60 years of a tumultuous history of disinvestment in Troost Avenue that contributed to the stagnation of the area and resulted in a racial and economic divide, the surrounding community recognized that open zoning policies were further contributing to these unmanageable issues. To combat undesirable development and establish an urban environment that preserves and invests in the existing area and offers solutions for filling in the “missing teeth” building stock, the neighbors took action. The Troost Coalition (a collective group of representatives from the neighborhood associations of Hyde Park, Longfellow, Beacon Hill, Center City, Squier Park, and Manheim Park) convened in 2013 and began building consensus on an implementation strategy for a positive regeneration of Troost Avenue."
As proposed the KC Outlook project violates sections 2a, 2b, 2c, and 2d of the Design Standards.
The buildings proposed for the KC Outlook project are clearly defined as "Flex" by Table 2.2 of the overlay. Table 2.1 prohibits Flex buildings in the Troost corridor these may only be allowed “if reviewed and approved in accordance with the special use permit procedures of (section 88-525 of the Zoning and Development Code).” Furthermore, “special uses are subject to compliance with any use standards identified in the final column of the table and all other applicable standards of this zoning and development code.” There is no exception that allows rezoning to UR to substitute for 88-525.
The KC Outlook project has not been approved for a special use permit through 88-525 and, therefore, is prohibited by sections 2a and 2b of the Design Standards of the Troost Overlay.
Section 2 and Attachment C of the Overlay also establish a typology of areas in the Troost corridor. Areas in the corridor are designated as either "Neighborhood Main St." or "Urban Corridor". The 4500 block of Troost is designated as Urban Corridor, which is defined as,
"Urban Corridors provide housing choice for a diverse range of incomes and lifestyles. These medium-density residential areas support nearby retail, entertainment and institutional services."
Only residential or live-work buildings are permitted as-of-right in an Urban Corridor, and non-residential uses may only be allowed “if reviewed and approved in accordance with the special use permit procedures of (section 88-525 of the Zoning and Development Code).”
The KC Outlook project is not medium-density residential and has not been approved for a special use permit through 88-525 and, therefore, is prohibited by sections 2c and 2d of the Design Standards of the Troost Overlay.
Table 2.2 establishes the maximum frontage for a Flex building in the Troost corridor at 150'.
The southern building in the KC Outlook project has 192' of frontage on Troost Ave., and, therefore, violates sections 2a and 2b of the Design Standards of the Troost Overlay.
Lot and Building Standards
As proposed the KC Outlook project violates section 3a of the Design Standards.
Table 3.1 specifies the maximum floor area ratio (FAR) is determined by the underlying zoning district, which is B3-2. Section 88-120-04 (Table 120-2) of the Zoning and Development Code limits FAR in B3-2 to 2.2.
The northern building in the KC Outlook project has a FAR of 2.3, and therefore violates 88-120-04 of the Zoning and Development Code and section 3a of the Lot and Building Standards of the Troost Overlay.
Table 3.1 specifies the maximum height as determined by the underlying zoning district. Current zoning limits building height in B3-2 to 45' (88-120-04, Table 120-2). This section allows an additional 5' for mixed-use buildings meeting certain conditions. However, since non-residential uses are prohibited on the 4500 block of Troost (which is defined as "Urban Corridor") the project cannot claim this height bonus as-of-right and the 45' limit applies.
Proposed height of 60’ exceeds the 45’ allowed under 88-120-04, and therefore violates section 3a of the Lot and Building Standards of the Troost Overlay.
Parking and Loading
Section 7 of the Design Standards invokes the requirements of section 88-420 of the Zoning and Development Code. 88-420-04-M requires developments with at least 20% affordable housing to provide 0.5 spaces per dwelling unit. 88-420-04-J allows developments located within 1,000 feet of a rapid transit stop to exclude the first 10,000 sf gfa allocated to office use, the first 4,000 sf gfa allocated for food and beverage retail sales or retail sales, and the first 2,000 sf gfa allocated to restaurants from parking requirements. The southern KC Outlook building is within 1000' feet of the Troost MAX stop at Troost Ave. and Emmanuel Cleaver II Blvd, but the northern building is not, and cannot, therefore, exclude the commercial space proposed for this building from its parking requirements. The project description lists 9,546 sf gfa of first-floor commercial space but does not provide a breakdown of usage by type. Without specifying the usage for the commercial space it is not possible determine the actual parking requirement for this space, but because there is no parking provided for this space it is clearly in violation of 88-420.
Proposed parking is inadequate to meet the requirements of section 88-420 of the Zoning and Development Code, and therefore violates the Parking and Loading standards of the Troost Overlay.
The developer, Faris Farassati, has stated in public meetings that he intends to secure leased parking off-site in the vicinity of the KC Outlook project. However, there are no dedicated parking structures in the project area. Furthermore, the Troost-Emmanuel Cleaver II Redevelopment & Implementation Plan recommends redevelopment of several surface parking areas and recommends incentives for this development (see proposed land use below). This plan (discussed below) was adopted by the Kansas City Council to serve as a guide redevelopment of this block and this project area. Since it is the expressed policy of the City of Kansas City to redevelop any excess surface parking in the project area for other uses it is not possible to reasonably assume continuity of any contractual agreement for use of surface parking in the project area.