Parkville board shoots down apartment complex after lengthy discussion

The Parkville Board of Aldermen unanimously denied a rezoning request that may have paved the way for a controversial proposed apartment complex near Parkville City Hall during a lengthy meeting held April 21.During the nearly four-hour meeting, board members heard from both the developer and nearby residents, and in the end, upheld the Parkville Planning and Zoning Commission’s previous decision to deny the application. “I personally haven’t seen anything tonight that convinces me that if I voted for this rezoning that I would be doing the right thing,” alderman David Jones said.

Fellow alderman Jim Werner said he couldn’t support the rezoning request as it was presented tied to the site plan, a sentiment echoed by alderman Greg Plumb.

At the March 31 Parkville P&Z Commission meeting, commissioners denied an application to rezone about five acres off Highway 9, roughly across from City Hall and the Parkville Activities Center, with a 5-3 vote. The application also included a site plan for the proposed Lake Pointe Lodge development, which would be comprised of a 50-unit apartment complex.

A decade ago, the property was slated for construction of two office buildings but never took off after the economic crash of 2008.

Although much of the meeting was spent discussing the apartment complex, director of community development Sean Ackerson pointed out the matter at hand was the rezoning application, not the site plan for the apartment complex.

The board heard an hour-long presentation from the development team of developer Kevin Green’s KGH Building Group, led by attorney John Roe of Roe and Epstein. Presenters included Green himself, who outlined his history as a prominent Kansas City area developer — featured on ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover — as well as engineers, architects and real estate appraisers.

Nearly 50 residents of the Pinecrest neighborhood attended the April 21 meeting, citing various concerns regarding the potential development. This was the group most directly affected by the rezoning proposal.

General concerns included impacts to traffic along Highway 9 and 62nd Street, parking issues, light pollution, impacts on property values, the height of the proposed building and the possibility for runoff into nearby Riss Lake.

Parkville mayor Nan Johnston addressed concerned neighbors after board members asked them the type of development they would like to see. The consensus opinion was that most residents would prefer the originally proposed commercial buildings.

“I want you to think about this very carefully because you might get what you wished for,” Johnston said, stating under the existing zoning there were many uses residents may also find unappealing, such as convenience stores and restaurants.

Pinecrest resident Doug Bias Jr. said he personally would prefer a low-density residential development because he is already impacted by lighting from commercial development across Highway 9. Johnston again said residents should carefully consider what type of development would be best and asked Bias what he believed that use would be.

“I feel like you’re kind of backing us into a corner with a trick back question,” Bias said. “We’re looking for something that’s less impact to the value of our homes and less traffic.”

Just prior to the vote, alderman Marc Sportsman, who along with David Rittman was on the board in 2003 when Green obtained the current commercial zoning on the property, echoed Johnston’s comments.

While he said he would support the Pinecrest neighborhood’s current wishes, he feels the residents may be setting themselves up for a greater disappointment down the line. Another development that meets the commercial standards may come along and so long as it meets the legal criteria, the board would potentially be more obligated to approve the development to uphold the property owner’s rights.

“I learned a lesson from all of that in 2003: you can’t make everyone happy,” Sportsman said.