Platte City looks to legally acquire land to finish sidewalk near McDonald's

The City of Platte City has started the process of acquiring 4,200 square feet of property needed to complete a sidewalk segment and improve traffic flow near the northwest corner of Kentucky Avenue and Highway 92.  

During the closed session portion of a Tuesday, July 25 meeting, the Platte City Board of Aldermen unanimously voted with Brad Fryrear absent to direct the city attorney to initiate action to acquire the parcel. The move would help McDonald’s comply with one of the conditions the Platte City Planning and Zoning Commission set when approving a site plan for the restaurant’s renovation earlier in the month.

“This is an administrative action as much as it is a legal action,” Platte City city administrator DJ Gehrt said. “All the parties involved — the city, the property owner and the leaseholders — support completing the sidewalk and access improvement at this corner.”

In early July, the Platte City Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed a site plan for McDonald’s renovation that includes a massive exterior renovation along with an expansion on the east side of the building with additional seating and restrooms along with a “PlayPlace” area for kids. Provisions set with approval included approval letters from property owners along with three options to help complete the sidewalk.

At the time, Gehrt said the city’s preference would be to acquire the area and do the work.

Ownership of the land along with lease holders and franchise owners created extra layers to work through when approaching the project. However, city officials wanted to remain proactive in allowing McDonald’s to proceed with its work plans while also addressing the infrastructure need.

“Because there’s multiple layers, it takes a while,” Gehrt said at the time, “and we didn’t want to hold them up. Rather than delaying McDonald’s, we are essentially giving the go-ahead but asking for those conditions.”

According to Gehrt, all parties wanted to reach a negotiated solution but addressing the concerns of the city, the property owner, a franchise holder and three leaseholders “made it difficult to find an implementing mechanism that met everyone’s requirements.”

“The city’s action seems to be the most effective mechanism to address the legal complications that are almost unavoidable when working with multiple layers of ownership, lease, franchise and operating agreements,” Gehrt said.  “All parties are comfortable with continuing to work out a negotiated agreement at the same time as the legal process moves forward.”

The biggest piece of the process involves completing an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk connecting the Platte Valley Plaza retail area (south of Highway 92 on Kentucky Avenue) with the Kentucky Avenue/Prairie View Road retail area. Last year, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), City of Platte City and Platte County helped complete a project that extended Kentucky Avenue and turned a shared drive between QuikTrip and McDonald’s into a public road with access to the two stores.

The first segment of sidewalk was completed on MoDOT right-of-way but the completion involves the 4,200 square feet on privately owned land.

According to Gehrt, the planned project would also widen the existing truck access onto Kentucky to reduce the need for large trucks to swing across the road centerline when turning south on Kentucky. QuikTrip previously announced plans to build a new store on its lot before McDonald’s committed to its renovation/expansion.  

“The city has been working on the underlying property dedication with all interested parties for the last several months,” Gehrt said. “ At the same time as the final site plans were approved by the city last month, it became evident that no one had been able to develop an implementing mechanism that was compliant with the legal conditions established by the multiple layers of property agreements.  With the approval of the last site plan last month, reaching agreement on the sidewalk property is the final item needed for everyone to start construction.”