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Tomahawke back on table

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

A new proposal for the controversial Lake at Tomahawke Ridge housing development was recently submitted to the Platte County Planning and Zoning Department.

The new proposal will be heard before the planning and zoning commission on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The new proposal changes the number of homes from the previous 686 to now 655 on 319 acres. The change allows the proposed lots to be a standard width, conforming to the property's current residential multiple dwelling, RMD, zoning near the intersection of Winan Road and Highway 92, east of Platte City.

The changes also do not require the developer, Tim Dougherty, and majority landowners Hal and Peggy Swaney, to seek a planned unit development (PUD) as was previously being sought by the developer.

“The actual development is not a whole lot different,” said Chris Byrd, attorney for the developer. “The difference is the mechanism.”

The previous proposal was withdrawn by the developer shortly after the planning and zoning staff announced it would recommend to the zoning board that the development be denied.

In that earlier proposal, staff said it would recommend denial because of “non-conformance with the land use plan, negative impacts associated with leap frog development, and infrastructure concerns, in particular the adequacy of roads in the area.”

Many, if not all, of those same concerns would seem to apply to the new proposal, opponents have said.

Byrd explained that previously with the PUD the developer had to go before the planning and zoning commission and the Platte County Commission to get approval.

“The process is similar to rezoning,” said Byrd. “The legal difference is they have the legislative authority to grant or deny the application. We decided to go in under the existing zoning for a preliminary plat. It's not a legislative act, it's an administrative act. As long as we comply with the requirements, we have a legal right to go ahead with the development.”

According to Byrd, the proposed development now has the same legal options as a similar lawsuit filed against the county by the developer Dudley Alexander.

That development for the Beverly Plaza at the intersection of Highway 92 and Highway 45 was denied by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Platte County Commission. The developer sued the county and claims he met all of the requirements for a preliminary plat and legally should have been approved.

“If we are denied we have the same legal options,” said Byrd. “This is not anything about trying to make new law in Missouri; this is the way it works here.”

According to Daniel Erickson, planning and zoning director, the developer is only seeking preliminary plat approval from the planning and zoning commission at the August meeting.

Erickson said the department would review the application and publish a report a week prior to the hearing, with a recommendation for or against approval of the application.

The proposed development layout shows several of the streets previously were cul-de-sacs and are now through streets. There are also now two streets connecting to an abutting property to the north, up from one previously.

The amount of green space has also been decreased to make the home lots larger. Previously the amount of green space was listed at 121.99 acres with a 9.58 acre lake; the new total of green space is 102.75 acres including the lake area.

The acreage for lots has increased from 686 lots on 156.38 acres to a total of 655 lots on 162.41 acres.

The developer had originally asked for a PUD to allow for smaller lot widths than allowed with the RMD zoning. The original plan listed lot widths as small as 60 feet wide. The smallest allowed lot width at the front building line in RMD is 70 feet wide, according to Platte County's zoning regulations.

Lots are also required to have a front yard of at 30 feet deep from the street to the front building line.

The original proposal had been met with opposition from local landowners and residents near the proposed development.

The opponents said the area of Highway 92 near the development is already unsafe and the addition of cars along the roads would create safety issues.

The developer has said the required traffic impact study addressed the safety issues and recommended some changes to the existing roadways.

Proposed changes to the county's requirements for traffic impact studies will be discussed at the Platte County Commission meeting on Thursday, July 17, and may be voted on at the meeting. The changes to the requirements would not apply to the proposed development because it was submitted before approval by the commission, according to Erickson.

Opponents to the proposed development have set up a website to organize their efforts at The site lists information about the development and information for residents to be able to get involved with the efforts.

The Platte County Commission will discuss the proposed changes to the traffic study guidelines on Thursday, July 17 at 2 p.m.


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