I-435/Hwy. 45 developments get board of aldermen go-ahead

The development proposals at the intersection of Interstate 435 and Highway 45 received unanimous preliminary approval from the Parkville Board of Aldermen at a special five-hour meeting held Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Final approval is scheduled for the Tuesday, Nov. 6 regular board meeting.

The special meeting was scheduled to handle the large development proposal, which has been the topic of several contentious, hours-long meetings of the Parkville Planning and Zoning Commission and has sparked the formation of Citizens for a Better Parkville, which bills itself as an ongoing political action committee. 

The group states while it does not oppose development in Parkville, it opposes this particular development proposal. The group has issued statements questioning the city’s planning and zoning and approval process and accused the board of aldermen of violating the Missouri Sunshine Law and mayor Nan Johnston of ethics violations.

The mayor and board of aldermen fired back at the Tuesday special meeting, just prior to the unanimous vote for approval.

“I’m sure there is a lawsuit waiting in the wings for tomorrow morning,” Johnston said. “We’ll look forward to that.”

Johnston said members of the group were being misled with false information about the proposed developments and that the last few months have become stressful for city staff, members of the board and herself.

She read excerpts from emails she has received during the process, containing profanity, racist remarks, accusations of wrong-doing and promises that she would be removed from office.

The meeting kicked off with a packed house, and the board voted unanimously to suspend regular rules of order, shifting all public comment to the end of the meeting, just prior to the board of aldermen’s statements and votes.

Aldermen one by one stated their support for the plan, and most expressed their concern and disappointment with accusations made by Citizens for a Better Parkville.

Several, including aldermen Marc Sportsman and Brian Whitley said they had heard from residents who feared they would be bullied by neighbors if they publicly expressed any support for the plans.

The planning and zoning commission approved the development, but placed several conditions upon their recommendations. The board of aldermen reversed most of those conditions during its vote.