by Alan McArthur
Opponents of the Chapel Ridge development proposal have taken the step of hiring Bill Quitmeier as their attorney.
Quitmeier is a former alderman and mayor of Parkville who has successfully represented neighbors opposing developments in the past.
The proposed Chapel Ridge development near Union Chapel Road and 45 Highway outside of Parkville will go before the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.
The planning commission will make a recommendation to be forwarded to the county commission, who has final say in the matter.
The proposed development covers 143 acres and will be divided into 379 lots. The revised plat shows three retention/fishing ponds, a dog park, two community pools, three playgrounds, and walking trails on 24.4 acres of open space.
The property will also have 23.7 acres of public right-of-way for roads and property buffer areas.
The development has been proposed by Brian Mertz, a local developer, who has been involved with the Brookfield and Fox Creek developments south of Platte City.
Mertz is asking the commission to approve rezoning the properties to R-7 Single Family High Density from Agricultural and Rural Estates zoning.
Quitmeier said there are a number of reasons neighbors are opposed to the development, including flooding concerns, increased traffic, and zoning that doesn't match the surrounding properties.
One reason opponents to the development are upset is because many of the properties surrounding the site are zoned as R-80 which allows for a minimum lot size of 80,000 square feet. The R-7 zoning allows for a minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet.
The preliminary plat being presented to the commission shows an average lot size of 10,683 square feet. The smallest lot listed on the preliminary plat is 7,800 square feet.
Mertz previously adjusted some of the proposed lot sizes along the edge of the property adjacent to the Countrywood neighborhood. He is also proposing setbacks and buffers along the west property line and roadways to shield the development. The proposal calls for an earthen berm with a minimum three foot height and then planting trees which will be about six foot tall on top of the berm to be along some portions of the property.
Quitmeier said the 10 foot buffer being proposed is not enough. He cited the county's land use plan which emphasizes using the existing ground cover as buffers.
Quitmeier also suggested the county should hire a land use planner to assist developers with creating conforming developments which use the land's natural topography for lot designs.
The land use planner could assist developers to create proposals more like Riss Lake or The National, which utilized a land use planner for their plats, according to Quitmeier.
Many neighbors have been organizing online to prepare for the commission meeting. An online petition has now collected nearly 775 signatures as of Wednesday morning and the “No Chapel Ridge Subdivision – as proposed” Facebook page has 180 likes.
Mertz, the developer, has responded to critics of his plan via advertisements in this issue of The Landmark (page A-8) as well as in last week’s issue. Also, Mertz has a letter to the editor on page A-2 of this issue of The Landmark.