Project forges ahead despite questions

The Meadows at Creekside residential development in Parkville is still moving forward, but not before a city alderman questioned a few aspects of the development.

At the Tuesday, July 2 meeting of the board of aldermen, director of community development Stephen Lachky presented a rezoning order taking the property from county to city zoning and an amendment to the preliminary development plan for the Meadows at Creekside, a residential development at Interstate 435 and Highway 45 consisting of single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. The Meadows is part of the larger Creekside development, which has drawn both praise and criticism from various parts of the community.

Prefacing his statements by stating he was a supporter of the Creekside development, alderman Brian Whitley did have some comments and concerns about a portion of the Meadows plan. Last month, the Parkville Planning and Zoning Commission approved the rezoning order and amended preliminary development plan, with the caveat that the final plan come back before the commission for its review.

Whitley questioned the additional parking required for the 50 new apartments added to the development plan along with a proposed pool and clubhouse. He also noted the density would increase with the addition of the apartment units to the development plan.

“I know there are a lot of negative groups out there and committees and such and they have agendas, but their agendas are not my agenda,” Whitley said. “My agenda is the agenda of my constituents and of the greater Parkville community.”

He said constituents have told him that the city should recover its investments, but not be overly generous to developers. Balancing those needs were important, he said.

Whitley also questioned comments made by the previous owner of the property, Clarence Housh, in a local newspaper. Housh, who opposed the Creekside development before agreeing to sell his home to developers, was quoted that the price for his property was “more than fair,” leading Whitley to question the use of incentives the city has approved for the developer in the development area and if Housh was paid a premium price for the property.

He later retracted these comments, as the primary developer Brian Mertz is uninvolved with this portion of the Meadows at Creekside plan. The developers for this portion of the project are John Runyan and Bob Becker.

Other aldermen also voiced concerns, with Doug Wylie stating the additional apartments could prove a problem if the developer is unable to lease all the units.

“I don't want to see some derelict apartment buildings sitting there,” Wylie said.

Aldermen Greg Plumb and Dave Rittman said they had heard anticipation for the apartment and townhouse projects at Fort Leavenworth, in Leavenworth, Kan., where military families come for two-year deployments. Both aldermen said they had received feedback that families were excited they could live in Missouri and have their children attend Park Hill School District schools, while still having a short commute to Leavenworth.

While Whitley joined the unanimous vote to approve the rezoning order, he voted against the amended preliminary development plan.

The vote for final approval is expected at the Tuesday, July 16 board meeting.