A Parkville property owner who recently agreed to sell his land and $500,000 home to be used for a large development in the Missouri River bluff community, said he’s learned the deal has been nixed due to a lack of funding.
Clarence Housh’s home faces Brinkmeyer Road and is surrounded on three sides by the more-than 350-acre Creekside Development, which is currently under construction near Interstate 435 and Hwy. 45. Housh said the news leaves him unsure of his options, including if he will be able to sell his home and property to another buyer.
Housh, an area home builder who has been publicly critical of the city’s management of the Creekside project, said he is in the process of building a home in Smithville where he and his wife had planned to move following his other home’s sale.
The pending sale was an agreement between himself and John Runyan, whom Housh said he recently learned works for Brian Mertz of Parkville Development. Mertz is leading construction of the retail, residential and light industrial development known as Creekside. Housh said city officials told him that Runyan works with Mertz.
In an earlier Landmark article, Housh declined to give the price which the two had agreed to, but said the offer was “more than fair” and he “had not one complaint about the process.”
The change in plans could make the sale of Housh’s 4,000-square foot log home and surrounding property more difficult for several reasons, he said during a telephone interview. Grading work already has been completed in preparation for construction that butts up to his property line. The change, which is sloped toward Housh’s home, causes rain to collect near his basement and could cause flooding, he said.
Because he’s a builder, Housh said he knows that construction laws prevent developers from making grading changes that cause run-off onto someone else’s property.
In addition, Housh said Runyan told him not to make any planned improvements to the home or property, including planned landscaping and patio work in case the house would be torn down to make room for the development.
Housh said he had planned the improvements this past spring when his crews had time to perform such work. Now they are busy with other housing projects, including construction of the Smithville home and will not have time to complete the work, which could delay or derail the home’s sale.
City officials recently rezoned the Housh property from its original agricultural designation to mixed-density residential in order to allow for the planned construction.
Housh said he’s not sure if the city would agree to re-zoning the property back to its original agricultural designation and if that might affect his ability to sell. He added that the development’s current designs call for a drainage system to be installed on his property. He recently met with city officials to tell them that the property line used in development plans was an old one. He said he was able to convince city officials of the current property lines after showing them property deeds.
He said officials said the change needs to be reflected in the development’s drawings, but as far as he knows, those changes have not been made.
In an emailed statement, Parkville Community Development Director Stephen Lachky did not address whether the re-zoning or other concerns listed by Housh would hurt the sale of his house and property and did not address if the city would be willing to return zoning to the original agricultural designation.
Further attempts to reach Lachky by phone were not successful.
However, Housh said he might be able to sell the house if some of the above issues were resolved.
“There’s people out there who like to have the nicest house in the neighborhood,” he said.
Housh was quoted in an earlier article in The Landmark saying as a home builder, he thought the city was giving Mertz too much leverage in the development process and said there should have been more oversight and scrutiny.
In addition, before agreeing to sell his property, Housh had voiced concerns 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.
Jason Maki, who leads Citizens for a Better Parkville, a group that has been vocal about their opposition to the city’s management of the development, said in an emailed statement that he has a hard time believing that Parkville Development was unable to secure funding for “a small single family residence” given the group had obtained “taxpayer funding of more than a quarter of a billion dollars in less than six months” (referring to tax incentives, including tax increment financing and other forms of assistance and incentives).
In addition, Maki said he has a hard time believing “they would not be able to finance such a relatively small purchase until after the property was rezoned and replatted in a manner that had immense benefit to their business interests.”
Maki added, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to begin to wonder if this whole exercise was nothing more than a well-executed negotiation tactic to force Mr. Housh to accept a rock-bottom price.”