by Debbie Coleman-Topi
Platte City officials are preparing for a new era in the city's development which can be described using one word: growth. For the first time in decades, new residential growth in a previously-undeveloped area is on the horizon. The area is east of Interstate 29 and south of Hwy. 92.
“It's been a 40-year effort by the city to jump the interstate and go build out on the other side,” City Administrator D.J. Gehrt said during an interview following a Tuesday night meeting of the Economic Development Subcommittee.
Members checked off a list of “housekeeping” tasks that will allow the new construction to take place. The new growth eventually will complement the residential development that's been part of the city's landscape for years on the west side of the highway, Gehrt said.
The agreement is between the city and the developer, WB Seven, and will allow the firm to do preliminary work prior to groundbreaking of the new subdivision, “Windmill Creek.”
The 600-700-acres will be developed in phases, the first of which will consist of about 35 homes, Gehrt said. Changes will occur slowly over the next 30 to 40 years. City officials expect groundbreaking around mid-March, which marks the beginning of the spring construction season.
The new houses could eventually boost the city's population from its current number of nearly 5,000 to a high of 7,000 to 8,000, Gehrt said.
While the growth is imminent and exciting, Gehrt stressed that Platte City never will grow to a big city and officials are content with remaining small.
“We want to serve what we have well,” he said.
The subcommittee approved an agreement between the city and an engineering group to design, survey, bid, administer and construct a sanitary sewer for $122,500, to serve the new subdivision. The cost is about 10 percent of the estimated construction cost of $1.2 million. Residents eventually will reimburse the city by paying taxes at a rate of $4,000 per single family dwelling.
Alderman John Higgins said the new construction has been much anticipated. “It's been talked about for so long. It's nice to have things in place,” he said.
In other action, the subcommittee also approved the following, sending the measures onto the Platte City Board of Aldermen, for consideration at an upcoming meeting:
· A revitalization grant application by Tammy Glick and Jennifer Dougan, Attorneys at Law, for the 100 Marshall Law Building. The property owners submitted a $40,000 qualifying project for improvements to the downtown building and requested the city reimburse them $20,000. The city grant program initiated began last year and was continued this year. It encourages property owners to make improvements and offers matching grant money as an incentive.
· Approved the expansion of the Platte Valley Transportation Development District (TDD), which operates separate from the city, but within the city's boundaries. TDD's exist to fund, develop and construct transportation improvements within district boundaries. The TDD previously was used to fund improvements to Running Horse Road, Platte Falls Road and Kentucky Avenue between 2008 and 2010. The district petitioned the city to add parcels owned by the following: WB Fourteen, Platte Valley East, WB Four and Airport Automotive Properties. The petition also requested increasing the sales tax increment within the district by one-eighth of one cent.
· Authorized the purchase of two vacant parcels that are deemed undevelopable. One parcel is owned by Ralph Meier, located at the north end of O'Rourke Street and is adjacent to Riverview Park. City crews use an adjoining bisection of road to access and maintain a sanitary sewer. Property tax revenue is less than $25 per year. The second property, about 2.4 acres, is owned by MannRose LLC and is located at 2500 Kentucky Avenue and is adjacent to the city's sanitary sewer and near a public walking trail, which needs repair. The owner will donate half of the estimated $7,000 cost of materials to help offset trail reconstruction costs.