For good reasons, residents in some Kansas City neighborhoods are opposing three Country Club Plaza-area developments.
These multimillion-dollar projects either don’t meet guidelines that are part of the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan, which the current City Council put in place, or raise other concerns over issues such as parking.
The council could make decisions Thursday on at least two of the projects. With their actions, the members will provide evidence of whether they will back up the guidelines in the Plaza area plan worked out with neighborhood residents, business leaders and others.
At a council meeting Tuesday, council members briefly discussed one of the pending projects. Katheryn Shields said she opposed an apartment complex at 44th and Washington streets because it would put more residential units on the property than allowed by the city plan.
As she noted, the developer said it needed to build all of those units to make enough money given the cost of land it was buying. That begs the question: Maybe the land price has been set too high, given what can be built there under current guidelines.
Of course, city officials for years have been eager to get redevelopment going in these and other parts of Kansas City, with the appropriate goals of wiping out blight and gaining additional residents.
The Midtown/Plaza Area Plan — and other plans like it — is supposed to make sure current residents don’t wake up one day to find that city officials have endorsed large apartment complexes built next to single-family housing. Or to discover that their narrow streets are going to be choked with too much extra traffic because of a new project.
Given opposition to the three pending projects near the popular shopping district, the council probably will try to find compromises that uphold the spirit of the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan while pushing development forward. Neighborhood residents must be involved in these decisions, too.