Parkville residents respond to idea of "luxury" apartments

Jeanette BrowningFaubion Citizen Staff The City of Parkville is receiving some immediate feedback on a recent report on the best uses for land at Interstate 435 and Highway 45. Last week, the board of aldermen heard the results of an economic feasibility study conducted by Sports and Leisure Inc. of Plano, Texas and DiSalvo Development Advisors of Dublin, Ohio. Due to the results of a preliminary study made by the Parkville Economic Development Council, the city contracted the firms to determine if construction of a sports complex would be viable. According to the report, it’s not. What the consultants recommended is the consideration of encouraging development of residential housing — particularly, an upscale apartment complex with amenities. Consultant Pete DiSalvo said this could attract young professionals, military families and eventual commercial development. The news was posted to the South Platte County Voice blog, located at, and drew immediate criticism and concern. South Platte County Voice was formed to combat the Chapel Ridge development at Highways 45 and K, and later turned its attentions to the West Pointe Plaza development, located in the same area. Both developments are located in unincorporated Platte County and have drawn fire to the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission, zoning department and the County Commission. An entry entitled “Thousand Oaks’ property values to be devastated?” was posted Aug. 22 and has drawn more than a dozen comments, mostly anonymous. Discussions have also spread to the blog’s email list with city officials and residents weighing in. “Is this really Parkville’s vision for the future?” said the blog post, which included a long list of both city and county officials to contact. “Build some short-sighted apartment complexes so the city can make some quick revenue (to pay for Parkvile’s imprudent investment of extending sewer line to a gas station), completely disregarding the long-term consequence?” The city and its EDC commissioned the study to encourage development because of two troubled Neighborhood Improvement Districts (NID) in the area. The city established the two NIDs in 2006 to help fund sewer and other improvements. However, after the economic collapse of 2008, much of the property has reverted to bank ownership, and development has not occurred. Repayment of NID bonds is scheduled to begin in 2015, but the city lacks sustainable means to fund the payments from the properties as intended. The blog cites three main areas of concern about a potential apartment complex, most notably traffic. According to national traffic engineer standards, the blog entry states, a 300-unit apartment complex would add at least 2,700 car trips per day to Brinks Meyers Road and 45. An apartment complex would increase crime, it also states. “Developers today tend to ‘trick’ residents by telling them that apartments will be ‘upscale,’ but national statistics show that even ‘upscale’ apartments quickly depreciate and even the most ‘upscale’ apartments have higher crime rates than privately owned units,” the blog said. Not all those opposed to the potential residential development have remained anonymous. Kansas City resident Will Puckett posted an email addressing the “Parkville ghetto projects” to both Parkville and Platte County government. “Has everyone in our local government circles gone soft in the head?” Puckett said. “Is it something in the water? You need to explain this to me because not only does it grind against all zoning guidelines, and none of the current residents (your constituents) want it, but it smacks of stupidity, greed and crap planning.” Two aldermen have responded to these concerns — Greg Plumb and Marc Sportsman. “It’s unfortunate individuals resort to ill-informed and shortsighted scare tactics before they fully explore the benefits and drawbacks of any potential proposal or idea,” Sportsman said in an email response. Sportsman said attracting people with significant disposable incomes to upscale apartments would increase the need for stores, restaurants and amenities and could eventually increase property values by reducing the isolation of the area. Many posters and email list members did not agree with him. “You are making decisions that will affect property owners who don’t live within the city limits of Parkville, and that’s a problem,” said Sean Eisler of unincorporated Platte County. “It is obvious what your agenda is, and there are a whole lot of people in this part of Platte County who don’t agree with you.” Plumb pointed out that the report received simply gave the board suggestions for development, but that the city doesn’t own the property and cannot build anything there themselves. “In the event that a property owner wishes to build something on the property,” he said in an email, “an application would be made to the city, and public hearings would be conducted, at which time any and all questions or concerns can be voiced in an open meeting. If you receive notice that a property owner wishes to build something on the property, we suggest you and other concerned folks read the application, gather your information to support your point of view, and bring that information to one of the several open meetings that would occur before any building on the property could be approved.”