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Developer files suit vs. county

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

An attorney for developer Dudley Alexander has filed lawsuits against the Platte County Commission and the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission, claiming his preliminary plat application should have been approved because it met all requirements set forth by the county’s planning and zoning department.

The planning and zoning commission voted 7-1 against approval of the preliminary plat. The Platte County Commission also voted 2-1 in favor of upholding the decision by planning and zoning.

The property proposed to be developed is 16.57 acres located at the intersection of 45 Highway and 92 Highway. Alexander had proposed to split the land into five lots for commercial development called the Beverly Plaza.

The proposal was originally opposed by the City of Weston because it did not conform to the city's historic district overlay.

The property is currently zoned for Highway Commercial and Alexander was not seeking to have the property rezoned for the development.

The planning and zoning commission listed four points why the application should be denied. The points are that the application did not have adequate specifications about its proposed use; there is limited infrastructure on the property including water for fire suppression, a lack of sewage disposal, and the inability of the property to handle stabilization ponds; the stabilization ponds could potentially impact neighboring properties; and a traffic hazard was created with two driveways along 45 Highway.

The lawsuit against the county commission alleges the planning and zoning commission did not have discretion to deny the preliminary plat application because the developer had met all of the requirements set by the planning and zoning department and the staff had recommended approval.

The lawsuit says the county commission had a “clear, unequivocal, present, imperative, and unconditional duty to correct an error of law” by overturning the Planning and Zoning Commission's decision.

According to the lawsuit, the denial of the application by both commissions was a “willful disregard of the law, truly irrational and resulted in treatment of Alexander differently from others similarly situated, and was otherwise arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and illegal, and a violation of state and federal due process and equal protection rights.”

Alexander is being represented by Jim Bowers of the law firm White Goss Bowers March Schulte & Weisenfels from Kansas City. Bowers is also the lawyer for developer James Owens whose Bridle Parc development near Weatherby Lake was denied by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Platte County Commission.

Mary Jo Shaney of Bowers’ firm was reached for comment by The Landmark. She described the lawsuit as self-explanatory.

The county is being represented in the Alexander cases by special attorney Michael Keleher of the law firm Keleher & Eastman of Gladstone. Bob Shaw, county counselor who normally would represent the county, has a conflict in regard to Alexander, forcing the county to have special counsel.

The lawsuit against the Platte County Commission was assigned to Judge Owens Lee Hull and is scheduled to begin on Aug. 18 at 9 a.m.

The lawsuit against the planning and zoning commission has been assigned to Judge Abe Shafer and is scheduled for Aug. 11 at 9 a.m.

Keleher could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.


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