by Ivan Foley
The Missouri Department of Transportation will be requesting an additional 100 ft. of right of way on the north side of Hwy. 92 adjacent to the proposed Lake at Tomahawke Ridge development.
Tomahawke Ridge is a proposal of 680 homes on roughly 300 acres near Hwy. 92 and Winan Road, about four miles east of Platte City.
Developers this week said it was too early to say how MoDOT’s request for an additional 100 ft (for a total of 130 ft. from the centerline of the highway) will affect their preliminary plat, though their attorney said he anticipates the impact will be minimal.
“We don’t envision that it’s going to affect any lots. We would imagine most of the ground (requested for right of way) will affect where the walking trail is planned,” Chris Byrd, attorney for Tim Dougherty and others involved as partners in the proposed project.
Norm Beeman of MoDOT revealed the department’s intentions to seek the additional right of way area at a meeting of neighbors opposed to the development on Thursday night at the Hoover Christian Church.
Byrd said on Monday that the developer has not yet received a written request for the additional right-of-way from MoDOT.
“Until we get the request I don’t know exactly how it will affect (the proposal),” Byrd remarked.
Beeman said the additional 100 ft. is needed because the state has a long range plan to widen Hwy. 92.
“When we widen Hwy. 92, it will be to the north,” Beeman said.
Tomahawke is proposed on the north side of Hwy. 92.
Beeman said a long range plan for Hwy. 92 is two make it a “super two highway” with a third lane for turning. He said the widening of the highway is not currently funded and he has no idea when it will ever take place.
“It’s not on our (MoDOT’s) five year financial plan,” Beeman said.
Communication from Platte County Planning and Zoning Department indicates county officials are not as certain as Byrd that MoDOT’s request will have minimal effect.
“The additional 100 ft. of right-of-way will encroach on a number of lots, forcing the developer to make changes to the layout of the proposed development,” county engineer Nate Baldwin wrote to MoDOT officials Friday afternoon.
“Platte County is currently reviewing the preliminary plat so as to provide the developer with comments as soon as possible. We would like to incorporate MoDOT’s request into our comments in order to provide adequate time to both make the necessary changes and to review those changes. In order to include MoDOT’s request we need a written request from MoDOT for the additional right of way,” Baldwin wrote.
At Thursday night’s meeting, Beeman said in general terms the state estimates each household generates 10 trips per day. Using that formula with a proposed buildout of 680 homes, Tomahawke could generate an increase of 6,800 trips per day in that area.
“This development will increase traffic in this general area. There are probably going to be a few more crashes,” Beeman said.
But he added MoDOT never opposes development. What the agency does, he said, is determine what improvements and conditions the developer will need to be responsible for before a development gets the go-ahead from MoDOT.
Despite traffic growth estimated by the development proposal, Beeman said a traffic light in the area at Hwy. 92 and Winan would not be warranted.
“Absolutely not. We want one when needed. This doesn’t warrant the need,” he said. He added the need for a traffic signal has to be justified for eight hours a day, not just during a peak travel time.
MoDOT will require the developer to add turn lanes on both sides of the highway at Hwy. 92 and Winan, and will require turn lanes at an entrance from the highway to the development. Beeman said the turn lanes will have to go in at the same time as streets are built inside the development.
“And it’s my understanding they can’t get a building permit from the county until the roads go in,” Beeman said.
In another traffic matter related to the proposed development, Kansas City recently indicated it could require the developer to widen Winan Road south of Hwy. 92 to 22 ft from the existing 20 ft. It now appears Kansas City is backing off on that comment. Winan Road to NW 132nd Street to Mexico City Ave. in that direction is used as a shortcut route to gain access to Interstate 29 from the area of the proposed development.
Mohsin Zaidi, transportation engineer for the city of Kansas City, said revised traffic study shows that the existing road pavement of Winan Road is now considered sufficient to handle the additional traffic at this time.
“However, I checked the road conditions and found that this portion of Winan Road has sight distance problems and vehicles traveling at fairly high speeds. Therefore, I am recommending that approval of the project should have a condition to improve the sight distance problems along Winan Road between Hwy. 92 and NW 132 and Street to safely accommodate additional traffic from the development,” Zaidi wrote in an email to Baldwin, the county engineer, on Thursday, March 6.
Baldwin then asked Zaidi to be more specific about which sight problems he was referencing and to what standards the problems would need to be improved.
Zaidi’s answer to that, sent in an email on Monday of this week, was non-specific.
“The sight distance problems are from driving the roadway only and not from any engineering. We do not have to be specific about sight distance or other problems at the planning level and conditions for approval require the developer to perform engineering and improve the roadway deficiencies,” Zaidi wrote.
About 60 people--including Baldwin and Platte County Planning and Zoning Director Daniel Erickson, along with county commissioner Jim Plunkett-- attended the neighborhood meeting Thursday night. Another neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 20, 7 p.m. at the Hoover Christian Church.
The group of opponents has begun distributing flyers and yard signs. Their web site is www.noto500homes.com
A petition drive is underway to show their opposition to the proposal, which is scheduled to be heard on April 15 by the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Upon questioning, Erickson explained the ground in question, much of it currently owned by Hal and Peggy Swaney, was changed to its current Residential Multiple Dwelling (RMD) zoning classification in 1970. At that time, an applicant sought that classification to build apartments, townhomes and a golf course at the site. The zoning was changed but that proposed use for the property never took place. The ground has been used for agricultural purposes.
It was remarked at the meeting that it may be unprecedented in Platte County to have a high density development proposed so far from community resources such as a grocery store, post office, and other amenities. This was noted by the county as early as last summer in a letter from Erickson to the developers when Erickson suggested that the developers consider setting aside some space within the project for commercial use. That suggestion was not worked into the plan by the developers.