Parkville Aldermen not ready to OK downtown master plan

The Parkville Downtown Master Plan has hit a snag near the end of its expected development stage. After some discussion at their meeting Tuesday evening, the members of the Board of Aldermen unanimously agreed to acknowledge the receipt of the plan, but not to accept or endorse it – yet. Assistant City Administrator Sean Ackerson asked the Board to accept the plan to close out the City’s grant-funded contract with consulting firm Ochsner Hare and Hare to receive the final reimbursement from the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), which funded the project through a grant. The City’s planning commission met Dec. 10 and voted to unanimously to accept the plan, thus moving it forward in the process of final review and then ultimate adoption. The planning commission’s acceptance was contingent upon several revisions, both minor grammatical and spelling changes and some substantial changes to content, including removal of items such as consideration for a historic district designation, TIF funding, multi-family housing downtown and a parking lot on the northern end of downtown. The document was slated to go again before the City’s planning and zoning commission Jan. 14, 2014. Alderman Nan Johnston said the Board had only received this final draft of the plan on Friday and asked for more time with the document. It was a general sentiment shared by the Board, as several members questioned what a vote to “accept” the plan would really mean. “The reason I brought it up is I want to be sure everyone who wants to have input on it has had the chance to do so,” said Alderman Chris Fisher. “I want to hear input from the better half of our community – some of whom may not even know about it.” He also wants groups such as the Parkville Economic Development Council to weigh in on the final draft of the plan before it is accepted by the Board. City attorney Steve Chin told the Board it is not beholden by law to follow the provisions of the plan, even if it is accepted or adopted, because Missouri law doesn’t require that.