by Stacy Wiedmaier
Over the objection of one landowner involved, formation of an improvement district has been approved by the City of Parkville, with the mayor breaking a tie vote among aldermen.
A public hearing at Tuesday night’s Parkville Board of Alderman meeting lasted two hours while officials argued and took a recess to discuss actions. Voting on the Neighborhood Improvement District (NID) for Brink-Myer Road split the aldermen in half 4-4, forcing the mayor to break the tie.
The $3.2 million road improvements to the sharp curve of Brink-Myer will be transformed into a “T” intersection for safety reasons. The road will also become a detour during this summer’s Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) construction plan for the Hwys. K and 45 exchange.
One major reason this NID was proposed is the future construction of 45 Park Place, a planned mixed-residential development on a 62-acre tract between Brink-Myer Road and Brush Creek. The project planned by Peridian Group of Gardner, Kansas includes 55 single-family lots, 65 to 70 row-house units, 8 to 10 eight-plex condominium buildings, and a 240 to 280-unit apartment complex.
“We need to improve the traffic flow along Brink-Meyer,” said Chase Simmons of Polsinelli Law Firm. “Forty-five Park Place owns 97 percent of the land, which is well above the threshold of having control. There is one property owner who resides on 1.3 acres of residential property who does not want to be placed in the proposed NID. We’ve tried to make a deal and gain the support of this person, but although they will benefit from this new road, we have not been able to reach an agreement. It’s always difficult when there’s a dispute, it is always an option to leave the property unimproved.”
The proposed road construction of Brink-Myer is currently in Platte County, but after being completed it will be in the city limits of Parkville. Clarence Housh owns the acreage at 15201 Brink-Myer Road and was present at the hearing to show his lack of support.
“My client has a home appraised at $500,000 on this property that has a beautiful vista overlooking the country,” said Michael Gunn of the Gunn, Shank & Stover Law Firm. “Just imagine this happening to you. There is an $89,000 assessment on his property to put a nicer hard surface road in front of his house. We have no way to benefit from this action. We want out of the NID altogether. We have no interest of being in, simply put. We just want to live there and be out of it.”
Simmons said the negotiations with Housh included offering him nine-tenths of an acre contiguous to the property in question located directly behind the residence. This offer was not considered a positive transaction.
“They offered this poor guy their setbacks,” Gunn said. “They offered us city utilities of water and sewer, but we don’t need it. This house already has well water and a septic tank. They took their blue green areas and said, ‘take it.’ This offer is not really an offer in our view. There is no way we can come out ahead. If we take what they’re calling free land, we’ll have to pay the $60,000 NID improvements for that property.”
Simmons said during one of the countless rebuttals allowed that the land assessment costs would be “absorbed” by the Peridian Group.
“We would be willing to pre-pay the land assessment for this,” said Simmons. “It was a good faith attempt on our part to gain support from Mr. Housh. We’re paying for more than our fair share of this road already. If you haven’t figured it out already, leaving him out of the NID would actually save us money. We’re willing to compromise. The underlying issue is that this road is not in the country anymore, it can be sold at a high price for commercial use.”
Gunn accused the developers of having “a hidden agenda of condemnation and whacking off his client’s property.”
At one point, the homeowner got out of his seat in the audience and approached Mayor Kathy Dusenbery at the desk while Simmons was still speaking. Dusenbery decided to take a 10 minute recess from the public hearing for Housh to go outdoors and discuss the options with his lawyer. A vote was even taken after 90 minutes to table the issue for one month so more negotiations could take place. The vote was 5-3 against tabling it.
Housh purchased the property in 2003, but MoDOT has been discussing the needed Brink-Myer Road improvements since 2000. Housh said the idea of him deciding to sell the property to a commercial developer in the future and making money on the deal is ridiculous.
“I had both my home and the property appraised for residential and commercial,” said Housh. “My property and home together are worth over half a million dollars, but I would only make $392,000 if I sold everything to a commercial developer. It’s unbelievable. They’re trying to steal my property for $159,000. I would have to pay the $159,000 for them to take the front half of my property away from me. It’s a sad day when they take your stuff. We’re asking for nothing unreasonable, I just want to continue living in my home without having any part of this NID.”
Joel Riggs from The Peridian Group said there is no record of Platte County owning Brink-Myer Road although they have maintained it for years.
Housh said “Of course there is no record of the county owning the land because I own it!”
The city’s contractual engineer, Jay Norco, gave his professional advice pleading with the aldermen to reject taking Housh’s property out of the NID.
“Calling that a paved road is a stretch,” he said. “It’s more like alligator crack or chip and seal. It’s already in pretty bad shape. Leaving only one property out of the NID is not workable. The county doesn’t want to continue the maintenance of a questionable road. It’s not in the city’s best interest to leave one property out of it.”
One reason the mayor felt action was needed on this issue is because Brink-Myer Road will be the detour for MoDOT’s K and 45 Hwy. reconstruction this summer. MoDOT calls this intersection the most dangerous one in the county since so many accidents have occurred there. Alderman Brian Atkinson said it was ludicrous to vote on this issue without letting the concerned parties discuss it further. He was not the only board member to disagree while Dusenbery repeated, “We’ve given them months to negotiate already.”
“Have we ever forced a landowner into a NID when they don’t agree?” asked Alderman David Rittman. “This is a landmark action that will only benefit a for-profit venture. I obviously have concerns about this, it’s not fair for the homeowner. Shame on us all that one property owner has to bare the political brunt of this board.”
The vote to pass the NID repairing the road and leave Housh’s property included, was tied with a 4-4 vote between the aldermen. Dusenbery has the power to vote in a tie, and she chose to vote “yes.”
“I feel I have to explain why I voted for it,” Dusenbery said. “I’m looking at the overall benefit to the city instead of one individual.”