R-3's site plan for new elementary building approved after quick public hearing

During bizarre proceedings, the Platte County R-3 School District's preliminary and final plats for a new elementary school building received final approval, despite confusion from about a dozen citizens who almost missed their chance to voice concerns Monday evening. The Platte City Planning and Zoning Commission held a special meeting at 6 p.m. due to a previous clerical error. The city gave official notice of the public hearing scheduled for earlier this month, but the district failed to deliver certified letters to all adjacent property owners to notify them of the public hearing that occurred Monday. District officials were seeking approval because the existing plans for a new elementary school building and an extension of Kentucky Avenue from its current terminus at Bent Oak Court to Fourth Street on a portion of a 60-acre plot of land.

Similar proposals received approval in 2012, but a failed tax levy proposal that spring nixed the project. Because more than two years had passed, the preliminary and final plats had to be resubmitted, per statute.

Platte City mayor and planning and zoning commission board member ran the meeting in absence of the board president, and none of the members of the public spoke up during the public comment portion. The commission voted 5-0 with four members absent to approve, and the meeting adjourned.

Some of the citizens then addressed Offutt, saying they had concerns they wished to address.

Because the meeting had already adjourned, the elected officials in attendance excused themselves, but Platte City city administrator DJ Gehrt, Platte County superintendent Dr. Mike Reik and an engineering representative remained in the conference room at city hall to answer questions, although the proceedings prior to the start of the 7 p.m. Platte City Board of Aldermen meeting were not part of an official public meeting.

Offutt explained that those with concerns should have spoken up during the part of the agenda where he asked if there was any citizen participation. He twice asked the assembled crowd with no response.

During the unscheduled meeting, citizens asked about concerns with stormwater runoff, traffic on Fourth Street, the tie-in of that road with the Kentucky Avenue extension and the future of the remainder of the district’s property not being utilized in the current project.

None of the dozen or so residents in attendance remained for the board meeting when the aldermen voted 6-0 to approve the site plans as submitted. The 65,000-square-foot-plus building and parking lots will be located to the south of the Kentucky Avenue extension, while a water retention area will be on the north side.

Part of the consent agenda at the board meeting approved a long-awaited sidewalk project in Platte City.

Grant monies will pay for the majority of $239,735.11 worth of construction to run a sidewalk on the west side of Highway 92 from the U.S. Post Office to Pirate Drive on the eastern edge of the Platte County school’s current campus. The city will be responsible for about $60,000 worth of the work.

Currently, no official walkway exists on the area, although foot traffic there is frequent along the curbs.

“We already have a goat trail there, so we know this will be used,” Gehrt recently said of the project. The discussion of a sidewalk on that area goes back to at least 2010.

Julius Kaaz Construction can begin work on the area immediately and will have 90 days to finish the work. Gehrt said the project likely won’t take that much time.