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Residents get organized, question traffic study

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Residents near a proposed housing development with 680 homes at Hwy. 92 and Winan Road met on Thursday attempting to organize their efforts in opposition to the proposal.

About 45-50 local residents attended the meeting at Hoover Christian Church on B Highway, a short distance east of where the development is planned.

During the meeting, residents again expressed their concerns about the development and some volunteered to head committees about specific topics. Topics included traffic, sewers, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and zoning issues.

Sharon Aring then suggested holding regular meetings to continue to keep the issue in the public eye. The group decided to meet every two weeks at the Hoover Christian Church at 7 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21.

Some people volunteered to send information to post about the meetings to local newspapers.
The residents have also started a petition to present to county officials showing they are against the development.

Some residents pointed out that the county commission can overrule the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission, approving the development even if planning and zoning does not approve it, or denying it even if planning zoning approves it.

Many residents felt emboldened after their successful fight against a proposed lumber yard in the Hoover Heights area in May of 2007.

At least one resident has already started a website to help the residents organize their efforts in opposing the development. The website is Fully aware the proposal calls for 680 homes and not 500, the web designer thought a domain name of would be easy to remember. The website lists additional things residents can do to oppose the development and says the group is planning to have yard signs ready to hand out by their next meeting on Feb. 21.

One of the arguments against the development deals with a traffic study conducted by Olsson Associates for the developer to submit to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). MoDOT must approve the traffic study before the development can move onto be presented to the planning and zoning commission.

According to Kirby Holden, there are some problems with the traffic study.

“I talked with Olsson Associates about some discrepancies in the study and they changed some numbers,” said Holden. “The discrepancies were kind of high, but they assured me it doesn't change their recommendations. They also didn't have any trucks from the rock quarry in the study and didn't seem to know there was a quarry nearby.”

Holden said he has talked with a person at MoDOT who assured him they would look over every part of the traffic study and it would not be hurried. Holden said he is guessing the developer could even miss the next deadline for planning and zoning agenda in April, but would likely make the deadline for May.

At an earlier informational meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24, developer Tim Dougherty and land owner Hal Swaney invited residents near the proposed development to hear about the proposal.
During the meeting, Dougherty outlined the proposal for 680 homes to be built on approximately 320 acres of land. Of the total, only 156 or 49 percent would actually have the homes, the rest of the land would be green space and a lake on the property.

Dougherty says the proposal is to provide additional affordable housing for younger people moving to the Platte City area.

Dougherty had originally hoped to present the proposal before the planning and zoning commission on March 11, but did not meet the deadline of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The next opportunity for the proposal to be on the agenda is on April 8, with a deadline of Wednesday, March 5 for information to be submitted to the county planning and zoning department.

The developer and primary land owner Hal Swaney have said they are trying to provide what they believe is a needed service to the area for young people to own “affordable” homes.



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