Downtown Spotlight from Jason - August 21, 2018

Mark White, White & Smith, LLC.

Mark White, White & Smith, LLC.

Last week, our Economic Development and Housing Committee hosted a presentation and discussion with Mark White, the lead consultant working with the Unified Government on their Zoning Code Rewrite. It was a lively and informative conversation, and part of the overall process that Downtown must stay part of as the UG marches forward towards a new, improved code.

I think this process is of specific importance to Downtown in a number of ways. First and foremost, Downtowns are a unique part of any city, and as such need some special and unique rules to help create the kind of growth and development we want to see. Things happen in downtown that don’t happen regularly elsewhere in the county, and we need those rules in place to encourage the things we want: walkability, smart access to parking, mixed-use development, cool housing options and regular events in our public spaces (Huron Park, pocket parks, Memorial Hall, etc.). What works for us may not work at the Legends or in Turner (and vice versa), and we need to make sure the rules don’t preclude getting the downtown we want.

Second, the zoning code can help us achieve many of the visions in the Downtown Master Plan. This document (now ten years old!) sets a vision that I think is largely still applicable today, and to the extent we can align the zoning code with that vision, we should advocate to do just that.

Last week’s meeting is not the last time we will have a chance to discuss and inform the process moving forward. There will be public hearings and meetings over the next year as the process moves forward. There are several dedicated Downtown stakeholders (including our own Mary Collins) who are part of the community committee helping shape the decisions made behind the code. And I will be watching closely and working to make sure the outcome aims Downtown KCK in a positive direction.

But your voice is wanted, and definitely needed. Watch our newsletter and Facebook page for updates about opportunities to help.

Jason Norbury, Director
Downtown Shareholders of Kansas City, Kansas
726 Armstrong, Suite 201
Kansas City, KS 66101
Office: (913) 371-0705