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7-10-09

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadway connections
big part of master plan

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Parkville's newly-developed master plan was approved by the board of aldermen on Tuesday night. The plan puts in writing the city's goals for future development and interconnectivity throughout the city.

The master plan adopted by the city covers issues such as annexation, transportation, environmental stewardship, and land use. There is no timeline for completion of proposed projects in the master plan.

One section of the plan addresses the need to increase roadway connections in Parkville. Sean Ackerson, assistant city administrator, explained that the city largely relies on roadways operated by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to move people. He said the city does not have any control over how those roads are developed.

Proposed city roadway connections include roads to provide another entrance to Riss Lake to the south through Coffey Road, connecting Bell Road to 9 Highway, connecting West Street to Bell Road, and extending Brush Creek Parkway to FF Highway.

Another proposed project would be a bypass for the downtown area through what is currently part of English Landing Park. The map generally shows the roadway bridging the railroad tracks near Crooked Road and FF Highway. The road would then connect back to 9 Highway via a bridge over the train tracks near the Park University entrance.

Ackerson said the plan would largely depend on whether Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) adds a second line through Parkville. He said all it takes is a few cars to stop at the train tracks and traffic can become blocked between First Street and FF Highway.

Ackerson said the roadway could bridge the tracks and then drop to the current elevation of McAfee Road to allow access south of the tracks.

“It is a very conceptual idea and we don't know if there would be enough clearance for a bridge,” said Ackerson.

Ackerson said MoDOT projects traffic along 45 Highway will reach a level comparable to Barry Road. He said that would necessitate the improved connections to allow citizens easier mobility in the city.

According to the plan, the city is interested in annexation of property along 45 Highway and the highway right-of-way near the national subdivision.

Ackerson said the area is very confusing for police responders and infrastructure concerns because some properties are in the city and other adjacent properties are not.

“The immediate plan is to annex along the 45 Highway corridor,” said Ackerson. “The city left 45 Highway in the county and in the near future we want to clear that up.”

Ackerson said the city would pursue voluntary annexation for the properties.

The area can become confusing for police officers because certain properties are under their jurisdiction and yet the roadway in front of the property is not.

The next priority area would be for the city to annex property near the intersection of 45 Highway and Union Chapel Road.

“If someone proposes a new development outside the city, we would approach them for a voluntary annexation,” said Ackerson. “We don't want premature growth to pop up.”

Ackerson pointed out that the county's master plan says urban growth should occur within a city's limits. Also included as an area of “priority” annexation is the 45 Highway corridor to the west of Parkville and expanding to the northwest along Interstate 435.

The plan also lists some neighborhoods near Parkville as being annexed by petition only. The areas include Walnut Creek, Thousand Oaks, and areas near Weatherby Lake and Riverside.

“We don't intend to annex them unless there is a petition,” said Ackerson. “Generally they are older neighborhoods with older infrastructure. I am hesitant to burden Parkville with replacing infrastructure.”

Another area for possible annexation is the bluff above Waldron. Ackerson said this area could be annexed to be left as a conservation area. He also pointed out that the river bottom currently in Parkville is not prime developable land and the city would look to have it become a conservation area.

“It could be an incredible regional park amenity,” said Ackerson.

Ackerson said a recent survey conducted by the county showed English Landing Park is the most used park in the entire county.

According to county GIS information, English Landing Park consists of nearly 54 acres of property. The county recently purchased nearly 120 acres of land west of English Landing Park as future park land. The rest of the river bottom area consists of more than 2,000 acres of property.

Ackerson said the city would encourage landowners to perhaps forest the properties to receive money through the federal government. He said they could also trade carbon credits and receive money.

“In the interim we are happy to see it remain as farmland,” said Ackerson. “The community does not support developing there.”

Ackerson said the area could have ball fields and boardwalks for birding as well as boat ramps and trails. Another part of the master plan is to use the river bottom to extend the county's Missouri Riverfront Trail.

The first priority for the city is to connect English Landing Park to the riverfront trail. Other trail priorities include connecting the Parkville Nature Sanctuary to English Landing Park and trails to allow residents to get to downtown without driving.

“We are missing a major link, you can't walk to downtown Parkville,” said Ackerson.

Ackerson said the plan also includes having sidewalks along new streets to increase the availability for residents to walk.

Ackerson said that as the city is expanding and new construction begins near the intersection of 45 Highway and Interstate 435, the police may need a separate substation in the area.

He said it wouldn't make any sense to have an officer drive all the way back to the main police station to file a report. The police station is nearly five miles from the intersection.

Ackerson said the city may look at a small office to allow officers to remain in the area.

The master plan is available on Parkville's website at parkvillemo.com

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