Controversial subdivision moving along with opposition surprisingly silent

The controversial Chapel Ridge subdivision set to go up near Parkville, Mo. will move forward after its approval June 15 at the Platte County Commission’s administrative session. The long-discussed project received no public input this time and a 2-0-1 vote of approval from the commission with second district commissioner Duane Soper recusing himself from the discussion and the vote The commissioners approved acceptance of a performance and maintenance bond for grading and storm sewers for the first plat of Chapel Ridge, consisting of 22 home lots. The process started in April when the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the first plat with conditions.

This first plat is located in the northeastern portion of the property near Highway K.

Platte County director of planning and zoning Daniel Erickson introduced the requests and first district commissioner Beverlee Roper questioned the commission’s options in the matter because there is a court case pending.

The case — which was filed by Parkville attorney Bill Quitmeier and features more than 40 plaintiffs — challenges the validity of then-presiding commissioner Jason Brown’s vote in December 2013 to approve the rezoning request that paved the way for the roughly 350-lot residential development. The suit was filed shortly after the 2013 approval and was assigned to Vernon County judge Gerald McBeth, who was chosen to for the case by the Missouri Supreme Court after all Platte County judges recused themselves.

McBeth dismissed the case in July 2014.

In December 2014, Quitmeier filed an appeal with the Western District Court of Appeals, stating that he believes McBeth’s decision was faulty and based on technicalities and a failure by Platte County to file proper paperwork. Quitmeier believes an appeal will remand the case back to McBeth for a merit consideration.

“That case is going through the Western District Court of Appeals, so what happens if work proceeds now and there is a later decision in the plaintiff’s favor?” Roper asked.

Erickson said since no injunction had been filed, the developer was moving ahead at his own risk.

Roper also asked if the amount asked for in bond would be enough to restore the property to its original condition should the project be halted by judicial action. Erickson explained the bonds were to cover the county’s interests should the work be done improperly and would not cover any form of restoration.

Roper also asked if the commission were to deny the bonds and essentially block the construction, would the county open itself to a lawsuit from the builder. Erickson said that was probable because the acceptance of the bonds of a previously approved project was a required ministerial task of the county government.

Erickson also said that the Missouri Department of Transportation would oversee the upcoming reconstruction of Hwy. K as required in the development plan. A dangerous hill that reduces sight lines at the entryway of the proposed development will be lowered by 10-12 feet.

Also at the meeting, the commissioners heard the annual audit report from representatives of McGladrey and from auditor Kevin Robinson. The audit report was clean, with only a minor internal control issue in the treasurer’s office to report.

Platte County treasurer Rob Willard said his office had “embraced their findings” and was working to implement the recommended best practices.