by Stephanie Eaton
A lot of discussion at a meeting of the Platte City Economic Development Subcommittee Tuesday night centered around the city’s continuing efforts to acquire the piece of property located at the southeast corner of Missouri Route HH and Interstate 29.
One of the first actions the subcommittee did during the meeting was to unanimously recommend that the full board approve the blight study and declare the Wilson Trust Property located at that corner as blighted. It is a necessary step in the city’s process of potentially condemning the property for the purposes of acquiring the acreage.
After the unanimous approval, the committee then unanimously recommended that the full board offer to purchase the property from the F.M. Wilson Trust in the amount of $940,000.
The Revised Statutes of Missouri defines a blighted area as “an area which, by reason of the predominance of defective or inadequate street layout, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site improvements, improper subdivision or obsolete platting, or the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire and other causes, or any combination of such factors, retards the provision of housing accommodations or constitutes an economic or social liability or a menace to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare in its present condition and use.”
According to Platte City staff reports, the Wilson Trust Property consists of approximately 45 acres, of which the blight designation is sought for approximately 38.6 acres.
“The remaining property not under the blight designation is a narrow strip that is used for highway billboards along the Interstate 29 right of way.”
According to staff reports, Platte City officials conducted a blight study. During the study, city officials tested existing conditions of the property against the six blight measures identified in the state statute.
“The study found that the property met the conditions established for blight in all six conditions,” Platte City staff reported.
According to Platte City staff, the property has a combination of social, legal, environmental and geographic issues that have created a blight condition. The conditions have reduced its property value and have a negative impact on the ability of adjacent property owners to develop their land.
However, that is not where the study ended. City officials then hired Valbridge Associates, a regional property appraisal firm, for a third party review of the Platte City blight study. The firm found that the Platte City blight study did support a blight designation for the property.
On Sept. 13, Valbridge officials appraised the land at $940,000. Platte City staff recommended that the city make a purchase offer to the Wilson trust in the amount that is equal to the appraised value of the property.
When the subcommittee questioned whether or not the Wilson family agreed on this price, Platte City Administrator DJ Gehrt said they had not.
“The Wilson family actually will most likely will reject that price,” Gehrt said. “That will be most likely what will happen.”
According to Gehrt, the city is offering what it feels is the fair market value of the property, but no more.
“That does not mean that they have to take it. In fact, it is likely they will not take it because it is less than the asking price of the property. That is where, if we get to that point, that is where we are working with them on the condemnation.”
The subcommittee unanimously approved recommending that the full board approve the purchase offer. The topic will be on the board of aldermen’s agenda later this month.