Hell hath no fury like a neighborhood scorned.
By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star
Especially when City Hall is the offending entity.
Midtowns historically significant Volker neighborhood has city planners, a developer, an architect and even a few doctors from nearby University of Kansas Medical Center in its sights.
Residents are outraged that what they believed was a plan to restore an aging home has turned into a proposal for what detractors describe as a cheap motel.
The underlying cause of the fury: One tweak among many changes made during an 8-year-long overhaul of the citys development codes.
Such a multi-unit house was always allowed for that area of the city within the codes. But the change simplified the process, eliminating the need to go before the Board of Zoning Adjustment, which would have also triggered a public hearing.
City Hall meant well. A consistently valid complaint of Kansas City has long been that development is too complicated. Too many hoops, too many steps, too much unnecessary overlap. Answering those concerns, while still maintaining oversight and public input, was among the goals in revising the codes.
A remedy is coming. Tuesday, city planners will request a change through the city plan commission. The plan is to restore the extra step for this type of project to go through the Board of Zoning Adjustment with a public hearing.
Problem is, its too late for the people concerned about the land at 3616 Bell St. Theyll just have to stay tuned and keep fighting, depending on whether the city grants the developer a building permit.
Bell is a one-way street there, near the estate of philanthropist William Volker, from whom the neighborhood drew its name. The couple that owns, lives in and is restoring the Volker estate Roselawn to its original grandeur are among the concerned homeowners.
An old house, long dilapidated, was on the property at 3616 Bell when it sold a few months ago. Neighbors, even a Realtor involved in the deal, believed the new owners (who werent available for comment) planned on restoring the home.
But within a few weeks of the sale, the property was reduced to a mound of dirt and tree rubbish. And an application was filed with the city for an eight-unit, three-story apartment building.
Things got ugly quick.
Meetings and phone calls turned caustic. Doctors who are believed to be investors have been targeted by protesters. And accusations were thrown that lead-based paint and asbestos werent properly removed.
We are very aware of it here in the office, said Patty Noll, city planner. We want to try and make sure that this doesnt happen again.
To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.