By Kevin Collison
The Westport District Master Plan was approved by the Kansas City Council Thursday and its sponsor plans to quickly add teeth to what’s now an advisory policy by enacting an overlay district that would restrict building heights along its core streets.
Councilwoman Kathryn Shields, who’s district includes Westport, intends to introduce legislation to establish a special overlay district that would include restricting building heights to three stories along Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.
At an earlier hearing by the Council Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee, Shields praised the work of the Westport steering committee that recommended the master plan.
“I think it’s really going to provide a lot of clarity to future decisions the Council is asked to make,” she said.
In a follow-up interview, Shields said she would like to have an overlay district, which would have the same power as a rezoning, approved by the Council by the end of the year.
It will require the details to be worked out by the steering committee and a separate vote by the Council.
In other Westport news, Denver-based Atomic Provisions announced its purchasing the historic City Ice Building at 4141 Mill St. near 41st and Pennsylvania and is locating a bar, restaurant, pizzeria and ice cream shop there.
According to its release, Atomic Provisions is planning:
–Atomic Cowboy, described as serving inventive cocktails, craft beer and wine.
–Denver Biscuit Company, described as an award-winning, Southern-style purveyor of gourmet biscuit sandwiches and biscuit entrées. Its hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and until 3 p.m. on weekends.
–Fat Sully’s, described as a hand-tossed, New York style pizzeria. Its hours will be from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day with a walk-up window open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
–Frozen Gold, described as gourmet-style ice cream with specialty toppings. Its hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The Westport District Master Plan is in response to concerns two years ago over two large apartment proposals and follows 18 months of work by a steering committee representing key Westport constituencies. It was prepared by Gould Evans.
It was concerns by Shields, Historic KC and others over two big apartment proposals in 2017 that prompted the master plan.
While Westport always has been considered one of the city’s most popular historic districts, it had no comprehensive guidelines to evaluate new development.
One of the apartment developments, a 256-unit, six-story building at the southeast corner of Westport Road and Broadway currently is being built by Opus Development Group.
The other, Westport Terrace at Manor Square, remains in the development stage. It calls for 205 apartments and a 120-room hotel in seven- and nine-story buildings at the north end of the existing Manor Square garage between Mill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
As was the case with an earlier review by the City Plan Commission, no one spoke against the master plan when it came before the Planning and Zoning Committee on Wednesday.
“We ended up with what we believe is a doable product and its implementation steps make sense,” said Ken Kimbrough, executive director of the Westport Regional Business League.
In addition to the overlay district, Shields said two residential neighborhoods near Westport are expected to pursue formal designations as historic districts.
The master plan, which included an inventory of historic buildings and places in Westport, recommended the Whittier Place and South Roanoke neighborhoods.
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