he Parkville Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a second and final reading of much of the plans for a 300-acre development Tuesday night, giving the green light to construction of the residential, commercial and retail buildings near Interstate 435 and Hwy. 45 in Platte County.
The board approved construction of three of four sections of the planned development proposed by Brian Mertz of Parkville Development. The development plan includes single- and multi-family residential units and commercial buildings, including a hotel, grocery store, restaurants, bars, gas stations, office buildings, a police substation and baseball diamonds designed for tournament play.
The new construction will be in a currently undeveloped location southeast and northwest of the highway intersections. An industrial portion of the plan is being re-submitted under a different zoning classification and was sent back to the Parkville Planning and Zoning Commission for a recommendation before advancing to the Board of Aldermen.
Mayor Nan Johnston and members of the board of aldermen approved the second and final readings of the three areas of the plan without comment and could not be reached for comment by deadline Tuesday.
The votes were cast amid a storm of criticism from a group of citizens who claim the system is flawed and allege city officials acted in violation of law.
Members of Citizens for a Better Parkville have a website and Facebook page chronicling their belief that the board of aldermen largely have ignored suggestions by the planning and zoning commission, which first heard the proposal, then forwarded their proposed changes to the board for review.
“We’re disappointed to see the city reverse the recommendations of the planning and zoning but we’re committed to open government and we hope that over the next few months we can help reverse the culture of backroom government dealings in Parkville,” a texted statement said.
“After tonight everyone in the Parkville community will understand that local elections have consequences,” the statement warned. “This is going to effect all of us. The board of aldermen and mayor should know that ignoring the community has political consequences as well. We expect they will understand that clearly by April,” the statement said, referring to citywide elections when some aldermen’s terms will expire and they will face re-election.
Parkville resident John Morris said he’s concerned that roads such as Brink Meyer won’t be able to handle the increased traffic brought on by the developments. He said, during a telephone interview Tuesday night that if residents had been involved in the process earlier, they could have suggested areas of concern, such as their experience traversing roadways in and out of the planned areas of construction.
“I don’t think this has been analyzed,” he said during a telephone interview following the meeting. He said earlier communication with residents could have alleviated residents’ concerns. He said instead, the process felt like it was “locked in stone before we had any input.”
In addition, he’s concerned about a lack of announced “anchor tenants” or large businesses that support the area.
“It’s very odd to have a development at this stage with no dedicated tenants,” he said.
The vote follows numerous objections by members of Citizens for A Better Parkville, who have claimed during public hearings and through a website, the development plan is too dense and contains too little green space and too little space between buildings. The group also has complained about alleged conflicts of interest among city officials and that many of their concerns have not been addressed in revised development plans. They also claim that city leaders have violated a Missouri law aimed at transparency in government.