KC Spirit Playbook - updating Kansas City's Comprehensive Plan

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The City Planning and Development Department is leading an update of the city's Comprehensive Plan. We are calling this new plan the “KC Spirit Playbook” (or “Playbook” for short). This plan sets priorities and serves as a guide for the future physical development of our City. Our goal is to ensure Kansas City, Missouri is a thriving, people-centered community and a successful model for other American cities to follow for future generations.

Why update the plan?

Comprehensive plans typically use a 20 to 30 year time horizon. Our current comprehensive plan FOCUS was adopted 23 years ago, in 1997, and

The City Planning and Development Department is leading an update of the city's Comprehensive Plan. We are calling this new plan the “KC Spirit Playbook” (or “Playbook” for short). This plan sets priorities and serves as a guide for the future physical development of our City. Our goal is to ensure Kansas City, Missouri is a thriving, people-centered community and a successful model for other American cities to follow for future generations.

Why update the plan?

Comprehensive plans typically use a 20 to 30 year time horizon. Our current comprehensive plan FOCUS was adopted 23 years ago, in 1997, and Kansas City has changed in the meantime. The Playbook update is meant to achieve several objectives including:

  • To reinforce citywide policies and practices that have a relationship to the City's physical and built environment
  • Understand how, when, and why we further grow since we are a city that is not fully built out
  • To assure KCMO can appropriately respond to environmental and technological changes related to how we live, work, and play
  • To maintain the City's preeminent role in the KC Metro
  • To compete nationally to attract new businesses and investments

Where Does The Name "KC Spirit Playbook" Come From?

We have named the updated plan The KC Spirit Playbook, an ode to Norman Rockwell’s “The Kansas City Spirit” painting created to represent the city’s resilience in after a major flood in Kansas City in 1951.

What's the City's Current Plan?

FOCUS (Forging Our Comprehensive Urban Strategy) is Kansas City’s current Comprehensive Plan adopted in October 1997. The City of Kansas City, Missouri and its residents partnered to develop an action plan the entire community can support. The plan sets priorities and guides decisions to assure Kansas City is a thriving, people-centered community and a successful model for other American cities to follow for future generations.

Seven distinct, but interwoven component plans were developed to detail the action steps needed to make the FOCUS vision and policy principles a reality.

Neighborhood self-assessments were performed as a part of the FOCUS process. There were two objectives for neighborhoods during these self-evaluations: to self-identify its neighborhood type from the FOCUS Neighborhood Prototypes Plan and to develop improvement strategies that would direct neighborhood improvement, a “To Do” list/Action Steps incorporating participation by the neighborhood, community partners, and the City.


Read the FOCUS Plan here


Have a question for us?  Let's hear it!  Submit your question below.  We will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Please only enter questions directly related to the Comprehensive Plan and how we can shape the future of Kansas City.  For questions about City services, or to report a problem or to request information, please contact 311

Ask a Question

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    Why can’t we get serious about surveying neighborhoods to determine areas to use a variety of tools to enhance them like historic neighborhood commercial buildings all over the east side, overlays to protect neighborhood before the street car expansion happens, neighborhoods that need protection from development like Volker and West Plaza, and really protect and maintain our boulevards

    eyoungberg asked 3 months ago

    Kansas City's collection of tight-knit neighborhoods is something we consistently hear about in our weekly questions and polling. One of the goals of the KC Spirit Playbook will be to find the best ways to preserve the existing character of neighborhoods that residents love, while allowing compatible new development to occur. The KC Spirit Playbook will provide policies and strategies to guide the use of tools such as zoning overlays, historic districts, and  transit-oriented development guidelines to ensure new developments fit with a community's long-term vision and goals.

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    We are trying to schedule a pre app meeting to discuss a development and land use project

    g2grant asked 4 months ago

    For more information on how to schedule a pre-application meeting with the Development Management Division, please call (816) 513-1500.

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    KC is unfortunately split between two states, both of which seem reluctant to fund solutions to issues in the metro area and have difficulty working together. As much as people like to pit KS against MO, our fates are intertwined so we need to cooperate. How do we ensure investment in regional success from both sides?

    nrotella asked 4 months ago

    Our current comprehensive plan, the FOCUS Kansas City Plan, includes some strategies about addressing regional issues through regional partnerships. But we don’t want to make any assumptions this early in the process about what the new plan might say. We do anticipate the new comprehensive plan will address this issue just as its predecessor did.  But more important right now is to use this public engagement process to collaborate and discuss with you what your ideas are for how best to achieve regional cooperation.

    We haven’t asked any questions about this topic specifically yet, but this is a 2-year process.  If you have ideas, you can share them in the “Big 5 Questions” or you can “Share Your Perspective”. Please also know that we are adding your questions to our public comment database for the Comprehensive Plan and we will look for ways to incorporate these issues into future public dialogue and into the updated plan.

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    I used to live in Kansas City, but now live in Fort Lauderdale, FL -- are you still interested in my input on Kansas City's plan?

    bbrewster asked 5 months ago

    Yes! We are interested in and excited about all points of view that could improve our plan.

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    Will the blighted business zone areas be addressed? There are business zones that have houses in them. Why would an area be zoned for business and the city not care if that area does good business if any at all? No owner of a property in a business zone area should be allowed to rent their property to a single-family or any tenant that does not bring business to the area. Excluding auto services and services like plumbers, electricians, tow truck drivers, etc. Basically, businesses that attract people to the area for a limited time and leave. How could this be addressed?

    Carl Stafford asked 5 months ago

    The process to update the City's Comprehensive Plan will likely include the exploration of strategies to encourage revitalization of struggling commercial districts and to promote continued business vibrancy in all commercial areas. While the Comprehensive Plan guides policy decisions citywide, more detailed land use strategies for specific areas are included in our area plans.  Any questions on a particular commercial corridor or your community's area plan can be directed to your Long Range Planner. All 18 of Kansas City's area plans and the name of each long range planner assigned to each plan can be found here.

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    We need to desperately address our bike and pedestrian infrastructure and prioritize improvements in this aggressively in the next 5-10 years. Whether you are looking at health outcomes, resilience, mobility, sustainability, or recruitment improving our bike and pedestrian infrastructure will help significantly. How is the city encorporating this in our plans moving forward? How do we creatively fund the bike/walk masterplan?

    camksu asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your question! The comprehensive plan update process is a great time to discuss investments in transportation infrastructure. We know from engagement on other City policy and plans that biking and walking are very popular discussion topics. The current Comprehensive Plan addresses walking and biking quite a lot, and it is very likely that they will be brought up frequently throughout this process and then incorporated into the main topics that the KC Spirit Playbook will be built from. The City Council is also currently in the process of discussing an update to the City's Bike Plan. This doesn’t mean the topic is off the table for the updated Comprehensive Plan, as any changes to the City's Bike Plan would be incorporated into recommendations in the KC Spirit Playbook. Funding discussions for specific Plan recommendations will largely occur later in the process as we build the Comprehensive Plan.

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    Responding to the climate crisis will be the defining issue of the next 20-30 years -- the time horizon of this comprehensive plan. How will climate goals (i.e. community-wide emissions targets) be defined, and how will climate-related concerns (i.e. protection of vulnerable communities) be embedded in plan development and implementation?

    dawson_sims asked 5 months ago

    The topics that the KC Spirit Playbook will focus on will largely be determined by the feedback we get from Kansas Citians. Early on, climate resiliency was identified as an important topic, and we will be examining all of the eventual topics through the lens of climate mitigation. In addition to the conversations we have with the public during the Playbook process, we will be building off the work done by many of our City Departments and regional planning partners. The Mid America Regional Council recently adopted their own Climate Action Plan for the region, and Kansas City’s Office of Environmental Quality recently received Council approval to begin the process to update the City’s Climate Protection Plan. Consistent communication and collaboration between our departments and regional organizations will ensure that the KC Spirit Playbook steers Kansas City toward sound environmental policy decisions across a variety of topic areas.

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    Comprehensive plans require intensive investments of time and resources but I'm concerned that, once completed and approved, the plans are ignored by the decision-making members of the government. Will this planning process include an analysis and grading of the goals of the FOCUS plan? If so, how will that grading be used to bolster the implementation of the new comp' plan?

    TomMeyer asked 5 months ago

    While the KC Spirit Playbook will be a standalone document, it will use many FOCUS principles as a base to build our new vision for Kansas City. An important part of the process to create the KC Spirit Playbook includes examining not only the planning principles of FOCUS and their relevance today, but also the progress made implementing the objectives related to those principles. Having a better understanding of what implementation strategies have been successful will allow us to incorporate these strategies and identify new approaches. This extensive review of FOCUS is currently underway. Like you, we want the new comprehensive plan to be successful and to be used regularly by policy decision makers. In addition to the review of FOCUS, we will also be looking for effective ways to make the plan actionable and increase the success rate of plan implementation. 

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    Kansas City north almost feels like a forgotten place sometimes. Antioch Mall has been partly redeveloped, but much of it is still vacant. The old K-Mart building to the south of this location has also been vacant for some time. How do you plan to encourage developers this area is in need of serious TLC?

    BGSKCMO asked 6 months ago

    The KC Spirit Playbook will include recommendations and strategies for revitalizing and reinvesting in the City’s underutilized commercial districts and corridors. These recommendations and strategies will guide policy decisions regarding development in the specified location. The City also has 18 area plans which provide more detailed recommendations and strategies for specific Kansas City communities. The Antioch Crossing site is with the Briarcliff-Winwood Area Plan. The Comprehensive Plan will provide more general city-wide recommendations, although it can include some recommendations for specific locations where appropriate. The Comprehensive Plan will also provide guidance for future updates to area plans, including the Briarcliff-Winwood Area Plan.

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    we have a huge development going in on the north side of Hwy 152 off Platte Purchase Rd. Heavy trucks and machinery beating the overpass and roads daily. The overpass has huge ruts. I reported it to 311. 1/2 the ruts were patched with something that must have been sand. It's gone. We need serious help before it gets really serious. How can the city justify these multi-million dollar projects and yet our roads are in horrible disrepair. Shame on this city. No. Oak Trafficway, north of Hwy 152 is just horrible. May as well be in a buggy with horses.

    oreosmom asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for contacting the City's 311 department, as that is the best place to submit concerns such as this. Please know that even though we are unable to directly answer your question in this forum, we add all questions to our public comment database, and we will explore how to incorporate issues referred to in these questions into the new Comprehensive Plan.