Leawood makes temporary changes to city code in effort to address economic impact of pandemic shutdowns

Leawood City Hall. File photo.

The Leawood City Council this week unanimously approved temporary changes to certain city code requirements to stimulate business in the city during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think this is great because it’s going to make it easier for people to do business in Leawood, which is what we want,” Ward 3 Councilman Chuck Sipple said.

The ordinance in part:

  • Suspends the requirement to get a business license from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021
  • Allows building permit applicants to use either the prior building codes (pertaining to electrical, plumbing, mechanical, gas, fire, property maintenance and other codes) or the new building codes, which took effect May 1, if they file before June 1
  • Allows design professionals to submit residential building plans to the city and to homes associations by email until July 1, 2021
  • Allows the issuance of provisional massage licenses limited to three months without fingerprinting but with all other elements of background checks until the city administrator decides fingerprinting can be done without undue risk
  • Decreases fees for liquor and cereal malt beverage licenses to statutory minimums from statutory maximums for licenses applied for between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021

The decreased two-year alcohol license fees include: $200 from $600 for liquor stores; $200 from $500 for drinking establishments and Class A and B clubs; and $50 from $200 for caterers. One-year license fees are decreased to $25 from $200 for on-premise cereal malt beverages and $25 from $50 for off-premise use.

The ordinance also suspends the penalty for late pet licensing if the normal fee is paid before Dec. 31.

The motivation for the ordinance also includes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ public health emergency declaration on Jan. 27, the World Health Organization’s pandemic declaration on March 11, the Kansas emergency proclamation on March 12 and Johnson County’s emergency declaration on March 13.

The Johnson County Commission remained deadlocked on May 1 between those who supported reopening the county on May 4 and those who favored delaying the opening to May 11.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly outlined plans April 30 for reopening the state with restrictions on restaurants, stores and churches. Kelly’s plan allows retailers, restaurants and churches to gradually return to normal operation despite the state’s lagging in COVID-19 testing and increasing outbreaks of the disease near meatpacking plants.