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Residents hear details of
Price Chopper plan

Scott Wilmoski of Super Market Developers explained the site plan for a proposed Price Chopper store in Platte City to area homeowners on Tuesday night. Ivan Foley/Landmark photo

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Around 50 interested people gathered Tuesday night to hear a presentation from the developer of a Price Chopper superstore proposed for Platte City.

Homeowners from the Estates of Platte Valley subdivision, who would be neighbors to the proposed grocery store, hosted the gathering at the Platte Valley Bank's lower level meeting room. Mayor Dave Brooks, city administrator Keith Moody and several members of the board of aldermen were present.

Scott Wilmoski of Super Market Developers, in which Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) has ownership interest, gave a detailed presentation about the site plan for the proposed store.

The proposal has drawn criticism in some circles for its desired funding mechanism, a community improvement district (CID) that would feature a 5/8 cent sales tax imposed on all sales at the store and other retail shops located within the development. The CID would raise about $900,000 for private purposes such as parking lot, driveway and other infrastructure improvements within the new development. In addition, roughly $750,000 of the special sales tax revenue would be used for public improvements, specifically to widen Kentucky Ave. from two lanes to four lanes from Hwy. 92 to N Hwy.

City officials say Platte County R-3 School District in its future projects will pay for extending Kentucky Avenue to Hwy. N and the proposed CID would cover the costs of widening Kentucky from two lanes to four lanes.

Moody said the school district does not generate enough traffic to justify it covering the cost of widening Kentucky to four lanes. The widening of Kentucky would be necessary if the grocery store is built, and that's why the costs would be covered through the CID, Moody stated.

"If you feel this is impacting your pocketbook, then don't patronize the store," Wilmoski said.

He said the firm does not intend to build the store if the CID is not approved by the city.

"It would be very difficult (without the CID). The CID allows us to make the amenities that we are proposing. We are trying to give you a store that will give you no reason to leave the trade area," Wilmoski remarked.

He said research by his firm shows that 50% of grocery shopping by Platte City residents is done outside of Platte City.
Much of Tuesday night's discussion centered around the developer's efforts to buffer the store from the nearby residential areas. Wilmoski said a berm from 6 ft. to 11 ft. high will be constructed behind the store, with a 6 ft. tall earth tone PVC fence on top of the berm. Many Evergreen trees 6-8 ft. tall will also be planted to help with the buffer, he said. The berm will be irrigated to ensure the trees receive appropriate watering, he explained.
In all, 191 trees will be planted in the development. The trees are intended to help buffer the store from he residential area both visually and in noise level.

Homeowners had questions about store hours and hours for delivery trucks. Wilmoski said store hours will likely be 6 am. to 11 p.m. He said delivery trucks would not arrive before 7 a.m. and would be gone by 9 a.m.

Vendor trucks would not arrive before 6 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

There were also many questions about lighting, with residents concerned about lights shining into their homes. Wilmoski said after store hours the lights will be reduced to only levels needed for security.

The store would have access off of Ensign Drive and Kentucky Ave., plus two entrance points from Platte Falls Road. An entrance road or street to the store would be cut from Running Horse Road behind the vacant Wendy's building near an area where a sports bar is proposed as part of an unrelated development project. It was not made clear who will cover the cost of that roadway.

Under questioning from the audience, Wilmoski could not--or would not--answer whether the present Country Mart store in town will be closed down. Speculation exists that Paul Bresette, new owner of Leo's Country Mart, will be the owner/operator of the Price Chopper. Bresette recently told The Landmark he would be interested in talking to AWG about that a possibility if it is presented to him.

Next step in the process is for the board of aldermen to consider approval for the proposed CID at its next meeting, set for Tuesday night at city hall. The site plan for the proposed Price Chopper is scheduled to be presented to the city's planning and zoning commission in early May.
If the proposal proceeds, Wilmoski estimated the store, which would include a pharmacy, bakery, etc., would be opened in the summer of 2008.

Additional retail shops are planned with the development, though Wilmoski said no decisions have been made on what those shops might be.