Parkville home builder recently sold his house and property which will allow it to become part of a large development currently under construction in the Missouri river bluff community near I-435 and Hwy. 45.
Clarence Housh, owner of Modern Log Homes, said that despite rumors and social media chatter to the contrary, he was not “forced out,” but was offered a fair price and already is building a new home at nearby Smithville Lake.
Housh declined to specify the amount paid, but said: “They made it worth my while. They were fair—more than fair,” he said of associates with Brian Mertz’s development company, which is developing the area at Interstate 435 and Hwy. 45.
“I have not one complaint about the process,” Housh added.
While he said he does not know if the development plans call for demolishing his home, a 4,000-square-foot log home with two master bedroom suites, five-bedrooms, five baths and three fireplaces. He and his wife moved into the home about 14 years ago and had intended to live out their lives there.
Housh has voiced concerns in the past about the sprawling development and its proximity to his land and home, especially after the city approved plans to reduce a buffer between part of the new development and his property. The reduction was lowered from 90 feet to 45 feet.
The surrounding two acres near his home, located in the center of the development, calls for a swimming pool, clubhouse and park. Streetlights would be too intrusive in his home and the lights and noise would bother his horses, which graze on the property.
While Housh said he believes Mertz is competent and can create a quality product, he questions what he views as a lack of oversight by city officials.
“You can’t blame a developer,” he said of Mertz. “He’s out to do what he can.” Housh said he believes city officials should have weighed in more on some aspects that could ultimately affect the development’s quality.
“The city is allowing the developer to set the parameters,” he said. “It’s the city’s responsibility to say what you can do but they haven’t done much of that.”
For instance, Housh said he believes Mertz should have been required to have more in-depth studies, such as focusing on how the development, which has been criticized by some as being “too dense,” will impact traffic in the area.
“If anything, I think they’ll have trouble with traffic,” he said, most notably in the area near the current Hwy. 45 roundabout.
Housh said he’s also concerned about the speed at which the development is constructed.
“If they try to build in two to three years, the quality won’t be as good,” he said.
Housh blames the lack of oversight on city officials’ zeal for attracting development to the land area that had been a drain on city finances.
“They (city officials) would almost do anything to unload this property,” he said.
City officials are eager to abandon regular sewer bond payments on a portion of the land earmarked for the new project. The city has been making bond payments on the property since it acquired it several years ago due to a development plan that never materialized.
The original intended developer of that plan has been vocal about what he considers the city’s mismanagement of his proposed project, which led to its failure. In addition, the failed development left the contractor bankrupt.
Housh said all parties will benefit from the sale of his home and property because it will allow for more green space in the park and surrounding the swimming pool and clubhouse.
In addition, his wife’s cancer diagnosis has caused the couple to need to downsize, so the home currently under construction will be smaller.
“It all worked out for the better,” he said. “And they (city officials) are making him (Mertz) a millionaire.”