Parkville officials’ plans to resolve Master Plan issues thwarted by storm

The snow played havoc with the City of Parkville’s efforts to move ahead with discussion on its Downtown Master Plan. A joint meeting between the Board of Aldermen and Parkville Planning Commission was scheduled for Feb. 4 but canceled in the early afternoon due to the weather. It was rescheduled for Feb. 18. The two boards are expected to discuss the differences of opinion the two bodies have over the plan which came to light in December when the Board decided it was not yet ready to commit to adopt the plan. The Planning Commission had unanimously accepted the plan just a week before the Board made this determination. In a report slated for presentation Feb. 4, Assistant City Administrator Sean Ackerson said there were issues which the Board and Commission agreed upon and differences that could be resolved, and then there were those items for which there was no consensus or clear direction. Primary among the issues for which no consensus exists is the lack of participation in the planning process. “Concern was expressed that many people, particularly those outside downtown, were not aware of the public meetings or chose not to participate out of apathy or intimidation; public meetings were dominated by a few individuals and the resulting plan is catered to their priorities; and with the exception of a project team, persons with expertise in business, marketing, development and similar were not engaged,” Ackerson said in the report. “It was suggested that additional input be sought and the plan be reconsidered based on the additional input.” Other cited problems include that he plan does not include a recommendation about train noise, that it is simply a more polished version of an older plan that already didn’t work and that the plan expressed opposition to multi-family development. As all budgeted project funds – which were covered by a grant from the Mid-America Regional Council – had been expended, any additional extensive work to the plan would need to be funded by alternate means. City staff is asking the two boards to discuss the items in question and determine whether to move ahead to amend the plan or otherwise.