Hoeger accepts appointment to Platte City Board of Aldermen

The Platte City Board of Aldermen unanimously approved mayor Frank Offutt’s appointment for a vacant Ward II post.

During a special session Tuesday, Sept. 26, Steve Hoeger was officially sworn in the board of aldermen. He replaces former Platte County Citizen owner Lee Stubbs, who announced his resignation from the board earlier in the month with intentions to move out of state.

 Steve Hoeger

Steve Hoeger

Hoeger received 4-0 approval with Stubbs gone from the board and alderman Brad Fryrear absent.

“Congratulations. Would you please take your seat?” Offutt asked Hoeger after the short

swearing-in ceremony.

Hoeger then took his seat at the table to take part in his first meeting.

In the biggest move, the board unanimously voted to rezone about 117 acres from agricultural to high density single family residential after a recent voluntary annexation of the tract of land. The planning and zoning unanimously recommended approval of the request earlier in the month, and no citizens showed up to speak on the matter.

The vote for the rezoning went 4-0 with Fryrear absent and alderman Debbie Kirkpatrick abstaining.

All annexed land comes into Platte City by default as agricultural, and the owner can then submit rezoning proposals. The move makes way for another subdivision in Platte City’s limits east of Interstate 29, located adjacent to one currently under construction.

The 117-acre parcel sits to the east of the current Windmill Creek residential development and is bordered to the north by Highway 92 and to the east by Bethel Road. There is a small piece of property still in Platte County to the northeast.

While Platte City’s master land use plan did not have the area as a future residential zone, officials say economic changes and other developments have guided the current direction. The land use plan was written in 2006 and is currently undergoing a multi-year review.

“Economic realities have driven (the change),” Platte City city administrator DJ Gehrt said at last month’s planning and zoning commission meeting, “but the studies have kind of been a guide post for how it should happen.”

The new yet-to-be-named subdivision would consist of 8,000 square feet minimum lots with a maximum of three to four homes per acre to meet with Federal Aviation Administration requirements. Exactly how many homes would be built in the area would depend on plats submitted at a later date.

Windmill Creek and the newly annexed piece of land provided an opportunity for Platte City to expand its available housing lots. Since 2006, all residential lots in the city limits west of I-29 have been fully built out.

Both the Platte City East Side Development plan and Highway 92 Corridor Study have determined a need for more residential lots, according to city officials. The added housing on the east could also help spur intended commercial development east of I-29.

Last August, the Platte City Board of Aldermen approved a development agreement for Windmill Creek, a 79-acre plot of land. Work has since began on infrastructure with the possibility of houses being under construction this upcoming spring.

According tothe original plan, there would 187 new single-family homes expected to be worth about $8 million in assessed valuation for the City of Platte City at full buildout, which would result in more than $86,000 in annual estimated property tax revenue.

Discussion last month indicated that future roads to service the newly annexed land would likely connect with Windmill Creek’s dead ends. Land work at Windmill Creek show the main entrance will be east of the Bank of Weston location and west of Goodman’s Auto Repair.

In addition to duties on the board of aldermen, Hoeger will serve on subcommittees, likely taking Stubbs’ spot on economic development and public safety.

The selection process for the appointment included a request for recommendations from aldermen and applications from interested and qualified candidates.  Applicants were reviewed, and those qualified were interviewed.

Prior to serving on the board of aldermen, Hoeger received an appointment to the Platte City Planning and Zoning Commission. He had served there since May, giving him built in knowledge of the city’s goals and projects that made him an ideal candidate to replace Stubbs.

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Hoeger moved to Platte City in August of 2002 and served two terms on the Northland Regional Ambulance District Board (2004-2010). He’s a registered paramedic currently working in the University of Kansas Health Care System as a health care coalition coordinator.

Hoeger works to coordinate preparedness activities with hospitals, health departments, counties, EMS agencies and other health care providers in Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties in Kansas.

“I am excited to serve in this appointment,” Hoeger said in an email. “I work every day at helping communities become more resilient. Serving as an alderman allows me to help the community where we chose to call home 15 years ago become more vibrant and all it can be. The mayor, and city staff, seem to have a vision to do that and I look forward to being part of the evolution.”

Stubbs submitted a letter of resignation in early September, just months after winning a second term on the board in the April election. He previously served as owner and editor of The Citizen and first won election in 2015 in his first race for public office.

After moving on from journalism in 2014, Stubbs, 55, spent time in real estate and working for the U.S. Post Office before announcing his intentions to move from Platte City. He spent 16 years as owner of The Citizen.

With Hoeger moving on to the board of aldermen, Offutt appointed Jeff Bruner to take the vacant spot on the planning and zoning commission. His term will be valid through April of 2012.

In an related appointment, Troy Miller will begin serving on the Platte City Parks and Recreation Board starting in January of 2018 and running through April of 2020. He will meet his two-year minimum residence requirement at that time and will replace Justin Tyler, who recently moved outside of the city limits.

The board of aldermen unanimously approved both appointments at the Tuesday, Sept. 26 meeting.