Efforts to rewrite Westwood’s master plan have stirred up emotions in the city for more than a year.
The bill for those efforts is finally coming due, and it’s higher than expected.
The Westwood City Council voted 4-1 on Thursday to approve an amendment to the city’s contract with Shockey Consulting Services that will ultimately pay the group more than $69,000 for working on the plan.
The city’s original budget for the project was $55,000, as well as a $5,000 contribution from the Westwood Foundation.
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Councilman Jason Hannaman said he and City Administrative Officer Fred Sherman met with Shockey officials to find out more about the cost overruns and determined whether they were reasonable. He said the master plan process has been more drawn-out and complex than expected with Shockey having to do additional work not included in the original contract, such as mailing every city resident a survey, coordinating additional public meetings, producing additional plan graphics and building a custom website for the public to review the proposed plan.
Hannaman added that Shockey is still not charging the city for dozens of hours of additional work.
“I don’t like it, but I’m comfortable with the fact that this is work that they really did perform and they performed a lot more that they’re not going to get paid for,” Hannaman said.
Westwood is dominated by single-family homes. The master plan, which is designed to steer future development, has ignited a furor among many residents because of its recommendations for additional commercial and multifamily residential development. Planning commissioners are still fine-tuning on the plan, which originally was to be adopted last fall.
Although she acknowledged the consultants’ additional work, Councilwoman Margaret Bowen voted against approving the additional spending, saying she didn’t think the city and consultants followed proper procedure for approving contract changes.
“I’m not pleased with how this process played out in terms of paying (the consultants) a lot more than we thought,” Bowen said, adding that she doesn’t think the city received everything for which it contracted.
In other business:
▪ The council voted 4-1 to schedule a public hearing for May 11 to consider creating a 22-year, 0.9 percent Capital Improvement District sales tax on the Woodside Health and Tennis Club, part of the Woodside Village development south of 47th Street.
Money from the district, also called a CID, would go to offset development costs for Woodside Village’s second phase. That phase is expected to include 244 residential and commercial units and 16,300 square feet of mixed use retail and office space. If approved, the tax would be added to an existing 1.1 percent CID sales tax approved for the development several years ago.
Bowen, who has opposed providing financial incentives for the Woodside Village project, voted against scheduling the hearing.
▪ Councilmembers voted unanimously to reappoint city planning commissioners Ken Low and Jeff Harris, whose terms are scheduled to end next month, as well as approve new appointees Sarah Page and Matt Prout.
Page, a Realtor and former City Council member, will replace Donald Friend, who has moved out of Westwood. Prout, a development manager at Port KC and former development consultant, will replace Cami Savage, who plans to leave the commission later this year.
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