zoning issue tabled by board
As they were walking toward the door of the Platte County
Administration Building in Platte City to attend a hearing
on their zoning request Tuesday night, three representatives
of the Harvest Church heard this yell come from a man
driving a pickup truck down Third Street: "Take your
building somewhere else!"
The church representatives, which included Pastor Steve
Houpe, his wife and church volunteer Dudley Chase, did
not respond to the comment. Later in the evening, as it
was made clear the Platte County Planning Commission would
be tabling their request on a zoning change that would
allow a church retreat/day camp on property just east
of Platte City along HH Highway, church officials seemed
a bit frustrated.
"For seven months we have worked on this project.
If there are concerns, we want to address them,"
Chase said during the hearing.
The church is asking to rezone 70 acres of land it owns
about a mile east of I-29. The property is on the south
side of Hwy. HH. It wants rezoning from residential multiple
dwelling (RMD) to agricultural, and at the same time is
seeking a special use permit to operate the church retreat/day
Among the things the church is proposing to put in place
on the property are a soccer field/football field, baseball
field, swimming pool, a nine hole par 3 golf course, a
small chapel/worship area and cabins for camp attendees.
Nearby landowners have expressed concerns about the proposal
to the county's planning staff and to the church itself
at a neighborhood meeting the church hosted last week.
One landowner, Mark Wittmeyer, has retained legal counsel.
His attorney, Michelle Clark of Bryan Cave LLP, requested
the issue be tabled until the church has a traffic study
completed. She said the traffic study would be necessary
for the zoning board to make an informed decision on the
The study will help determine what effect the proposed
development would have on nearby property owners, and
would also help MoDOT better determine where access roads
should be. Clark said the study should also note the impact
the development would have on Hwy. 92, which is south
of the property, as well as on Hwy. HH.
Also, she said in her opinion the request is a spot zoning
issue. Such a change has to have a public benefit and
should not be a detriment to surrounding landowners, she
David Anderson, architect for the church, mildly argued
against the tabling of the matter.
"If we proceed with this development we will be
required to do a traffic study," he said. "The
issue of a traffic study was not brought up at our neighborhood
David Picco, member of the zoning board, said he feels
the traffic study is necessary before approval is given.
"With the terrain the way it is out there, the traffic
study is very necessary," Picco said.
Michael Gunn, legal counsel for the zoning board, agreed.
"Because of the special use, it would be a good
idea to request a traffic study prior to approval,"
Aaron Schmidt, planning and zoning director for the county,
said he believes tabling the issue until the March 11
meeting would allow time for the study to be done.
Church officials wanted to know if there were any other
concerns from neighbors.
"We will continue to work toward our goal of appeasing
the neighbors," Anderson said. "If the traffic
study is the only issue, that's certainly something that
is easily addressed.
Anderson remarked that the church agreed to leave a right
of way for a four-lane road about 100 ft. in width and
has agreed to not put any structures within 100 feet of
Clark said she only represents Wittmeyer and could not
speak for other landowners. She said the traffic study
is not her only concern, only that it is the concern upon
which she requested the issue be tabled. She declined
to elaborate on the other concerns.
Schmidt said planning staff recommended tabling the matter
until the next monthly meeting.
"There are some legal issues that could get worked
out," he said.
Schmidt's staff had earlier indicated it will recommend
approval of the request, with stipulations to include
the site not be used for a halfway house, that stays in
the cabins be limited to one or two overnight stays, and
that the church provide a traffic study to be approved
by the county and by MoDOT.
"You are well aware of our recommendation, but we
will refrain from making that formal recommendation until
a later time," Schmidt told board members.
After discussion, the board unanimously voted to table
the matter until its March 11 meeting.
The church's proposal was also a topic of discussion
for the Platte City Board of Aldermen at its meeting Tuesday
night, as the property sits in an area marked for future
annexation by the city.
City Administrator Keith Moody had prepared a resolution
stating the city's opposing to the church's rezoning,
but the aldermen tabled any action on that resolution.
"I would like to see if the board would entertain
putting this on the shelf until another meeting. It would
allow us the opportunity to see what the county is going
to do. They are the ones that have the right to rezone
the property," Mayor Dave Brooks said.
Moody indicated he believes the city should protest the
rezoning because a special use permit would allow the
church to avoid the platting process, and thereby avoid
constructing the customary public improvements. That would
shift a financial burden to the citizens of Platte City
and Platte County, Moody said.
Angela Moorehead, Harvest Church representative, said
the church has agreed not to build anything on the right
Platte City's aldermen then tabled any action on the
resolution protesting the rezoning until its Feb. 25 meeting.