by Alan McArthur
An annexation proposal is on ice after the Weston Board of Aldermen December meeting.
On the meeting's agenda there were five ordinances to annex more than seven miles of highway right-of-way around Weston. The annexation was put on hold after Quint Shafer, city attorney, asked the board to postpone the vote and discussed the matter in a closed session.
The closed session was held to discuss legal matters.
After the closed session, the board held another open session to make a motion to postpone the ordinances until the January meeting or unless a special meeting is held before. The next scheduled meeting would be on Monday, Jan. 12.
According to Kim Kirby, city clerk, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) requested the city postpone the annexation until January or until hearing from MoDOT.
Shafer declined to comment on the reasons MoDOT requested the postponement.
At the board's meeting in November, James W. Farley, attorney, said he opposed the annexation effort during a public hearing because the annexation is a voluntary annexation presented by MoDOT.
Farley was representing John Pepper, Inc. and the Diane M. Pepper Trust.
In a letter presented to the board in November, Farley said a voluntary annexation must be signed by property owners and that MoDOT “holds only a right of way over the land on which these highways are located. It has no title to the land on which the highways are located.”
“MHTC is without authority to request an annexation and the City has no authority to act upon such a request.”
“Our clients request that you will recognize that the proposed annexation is not authorized by law and not pass the ordinance in question. However, should that occur we wish to advise you that our clients will take all necessary legal action to nullify the ordinance,” says the letter from Farley.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Farley said the objections to the annexation remain unchanged.
The proposed annexation would extend the city limits of Weston along Highway 273 to the north from near Brills Creek to the intersection of Bluff Road, about 1.7 miles. The limits would extend along H Highway from near Pleasant View Drive to Countryside Road, about 1.5 miles. The city limits would extend along JJ Highway from near Wells Branch Creek to the intersection of 45 and 273 Highways, about 1.5 miles. It would then extend south along 45 Highway to Bee Creek, about 1.2 miles. The limits would also travel from the intersection of 45 and 273 Highways along 273 Highway to 164th Street past Bee Creek, about 1.5 miles.
Currently, the Weston Bend State Park is annexed into Weston and the city's limits include the property on the southwest corner of the intersection of 45 and 273 Highways, but not the actual highways. The park extends to the south along 45 Highway to Bee Creek. Also on the north side of the city, property owned by Earl B. Benner Jr. is annexed into the city along 45 Highway, however the roadway is not in the city.
By annexing the right-of-way property owners along the roadways would be able to voluntarily annex into the city.
The city limits of Tracy are 3.7 miles from the intersection of 45 and 273 Highways; the annexation would place the limits of Weston 2.2 miles from Tracy.
In other business, the board also heard from Aaron Johnson, a resident of Weston, about traffic concerns along Highway 45 due to the Iatan Power Plant construction.
Johnson said that Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) should require workers to carpool or offer a bus to the site to relieve traffic. Johnson also suggested the police stop traffic to let drivers cross the intersection at Washington and 45 Highway, he also asked for MoDOT to improve the traffic light at the intersection.
Janet Waddell, KCP&L representative, said they can't keep workers off of the public roads. Waddell said KCP&L has paid for the turn lanes at the intersection of 45 and 273 Highways.
A representative from MoDOT at the meeting said the traffic at the intersection of Washington and 45 Highway did not warrant a stop light or four-way stop.
During the discussion Shafer said that over four years ago the board began discussing the issue and the police force has been expanded as well as reducing the speed along the highway.
On Tuesday, Waddell said they have spent $1.2 million on the turn lanes and have encouraged workers to carpool to the site. Waddell said the number of workers at the plant is currently around 3,000, but should drop to 2,500 in January. The construction is expected to be finished in summer 2010.