It’s been two months since Platte County commissioners approved the West Pointe Plaza development near Parkville, but signs opposing the 85-acre project can still be seen in some yards.
The signs read “Say no to NBH,” referring to the development company that is now moving forward with West Pointe Plaza, a residential/commercial development on the northeast corner of Missouri 45 and Route K.
David Barth, who is part of the development firm NBH LLC, said there is no firm date to start construction, but he expects the first plat to be finished within nine months. It is to be platted in phases.
The development plan includes a 62-acre housing development and a preliminary 23-acre commercial plat, which would hold about 10 retail buildings that could become grocery or drug stores, the plan says. On the residential side, the plan includes 95 single-family home lots, 23 duplexes, 14 three-plexes and 10 four-plex housing units as well as a pool and clubhouse, all of which could take up to 20 years to finish.
Meanwhile, a nearby housing development known as Chapel Ridge remains ensnared in a legal battle. That 145-acre project aims to create 379 single-family homes northwest of Missouri 45 and Route K.
Before the county commissioners unanimously approved the preliminary plat for West Pointe Plaza, residents voiced many concerns, including dramatically increased traffic — specifically on two-lane Route K — and diminished property values for residences that border the development.
Barth countered that a traffic report was filed, and that the county and the Missouri Department of Transportation declared it sound.
But Bill Quitmeier, an attorney who lives and works in the area, said he believes West Pointe Plaza will “detract from their property values.”
The intersection now is the site of single-family dwellings, pastures and timber-covered ground, according to a planning and zoning commission staff report. West Pointe Plaza's single-family lots range from 7,400 to 13,068 square feet, an average of 4.1 units per acre.
“We do need cheaper housing in Platte County,” Quitmeier said, “and it has to go somewhere, but I don’t think it needs to go next to other houses with bigger lots.”
Quitmeier’s firm represents 42 plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit in December 2013 halting Chapel Ridge on the other side of Route K.
The lawsuit followed a lengthy battle during which the planning and zoning committee denied approval for Chapel Ridge — once on a 6-0 vote and again on a 7-0 vote. But the county commission ultimately green-lighted the development on a tie vote in December 2013.
After Commissioner Duane Soper removed himself from deliberations, commissioners Beverlee Roper and Jason Brown, the presiding member, cast opposing votes. Brown’s vote as leading commissioner was recorded as the prevailing vote, and the project moved forward until it was stalled in court later that month.
Quitmeier said that aside from overturning a decision by the county planning and zoning commission — a breach of county ordinances — the Chapel Ridge development is in clear violation of the county’s land use plan, which emphasizes gradual density changes in development and requires the substantial consideration of park land.
Chapel Ridge’s 351 lots range from 7,150 to 42,000 square feet, an average of 2.4 units per acre. But it will have just a 10-foot buffer zone from much larger neighboring lots, Quitmeier said, and has not included adequate park space.
He said a court hearing in the case against Chapel Ridge could take place next spring.
In tracking the initial discussions of West Pointe Plaza, one Platte County newspaper headlined a story, “Next Chapel Ridge?”
But Quitmeier said West Pointe Plaza has considerably more breathing room between the new homes and existing ones, so the same concerns aren’t there.
“I don’t have the same trepidation about this project,” he said. “Yeah, they’re trying to make money, but the Barths are trying to leave behind a legacy in the area.”
All opponents contacted declined to speak on the record and said no legal action is planned against West Pointe Plaza.
Barth dismissed opposition to his mixed-use development as that of a citizenry reacting more out of fear than fact and a mistaken association with the embattled Chapel Ridge.
“A lot of people are afraid of change and don’t want to see continued growth,” Barth said. “I’m just saying, look at the merits of our plan.”
Barth added that his traffic study notes Route K can handle the additional growth, but he agrees that it needs to be expanded. He said his project could spur that work.
“This is how you get improvements,” he said.
Regarding growth of the area generally, Barth said development is coming, whether through his company or another firm.
What’s more, given the Platte County land use plan’s stated interest in preserving the ecological treasures of the area, Barth said his firm’s track record shows it can fulfill the need to grow and conserve.
“If you look at our density, our greenways, maybe we don’t have as big of lots, but we preserve all the trees that are possible,” he said. “We go lot by lot and save everything we can.”