KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Residents in southern Kansas City are frustrated after a zoning board approved a gas station that residents went out of their way to oppose.
Beth Boerger was part of an effort through her Ruskin Heights Home Association and other local groups to let planning officials know they didn’t want a new gas station and convenience store at 11511 Blue Ridge Boulevard.
“We deserve better, our neighborhood deserves economic development, good economic development,” said Boerger. “Not just gas stations, and tire shops, and convenience stores and beauty supply houses. I mean, that’s pretty much what we get.”
Boerger says she found out about the proposal with just a few days to spare to get letters written and notarized before the City Plan Commission considered the project. Her groups were able to convince that body that the project wouldn’t be good for the neighborhood.
“And then we were thrilled when planning sent it on, being denied,” said Boerger. “We were hopeful.”
But, that was only a recommendation to the Board of Zoning Adjustment, which on April 11, 2023, acknowledged that there was some community pushback to the plan but approved the gas station anyway.
“Basically, it’s an abandoned building, which offers no functional use presently,” said Attorney Stephen Mayer, who represented the Longview Plaza and soon-to-be-gas station owners. “I mean, the gas station would certainly enhance the neighborhood, enhance the shopping center.”
Mayer pointed out that its currently a place where people experiencing homelessness gather before presenting a petition of residents who support the new gas station project.
But, Boerger points out that just across the Plaza parking lot, another gas station and convenience store is already operating.
About three-tenths of a mile to the north, another old property just got approval to become a convenience store. Boerger expects gas pumps to follow soon after.
April 11 was the last chance for public input on the latest lot, leaving routine permitting paperwork for construction.
It leaves residents like Beth to hope that the next project will be closer to what they want to see.