City of Independence, Missouri

City takes steps to decrease number of tobacco stores in the City

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The City Council tonight approved an amendment updating the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), Chapter 14, of the City Code which will over time decrease the number of tobacco/convenience stores from the currently allowed 14 to 7.

“In our Strategic Plan, Independence for All, we outline the need to improve public health – tonight’s change does just that,” Councilmember Curt Dougherty said. “While our Tobacco 21 initiative has moved us in the right direction, tobacco is still the nation’s number one cause of preventable death. There are still statistics showing our youth do not understand the dangers of these tobacco products.”

Independence data from the government-sponsored Monitoring The Future survey reflects a national increase in “other” tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and flavored cigars, with more students using electronic cigarettes, than regular cigarettes, and 35 percent of surveyed students believing that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes.

The amendment to the UDO approved tonight, lowers the maximum number of convenience stores without fuel sale and tobacco stores allowed to operate within the City from 14 to 7, roughly one per 15,000 residents. The existing stores will be allowed to continue; however, a new store will not be allowed in the City until there are less than seven stores.

In order for those tobacco/convenience stores that currently have their license to lose it, one or more of the following criteria must be met: cease operations for six months; allow a required business license to lapse; no use has been maintained in the structure for a period of six months; a demolition permit has been applied for;  remove equipment and furnishings and not replace it with similar items within six months; the property has been accused of illegal activities or the use has failed to comply with City ordinances or state or federal law; or if required by City health code, the property has not had water and/or electrical service for six consecutive months. 

To read the Unified Development Ordinance in full, visit