The Kansas City Historic Preservation Commission has declined to reconsider a decision that will allow the Scuola Vita Nuova charter school to put up a chain link fence along part of its new property in the Pendleton Heights neighborhood.
The Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association, being part of a historic neighborhood in northeast Kansas City, opposed the commission’s original ruling to allow the construction of the 6-foot chain link fence, saying it violates guidelines set by the Historic Preservation Office.
The school is near Independence and Garfield avenues.
The commission made its decision Friday after new evidence was brought to its attention.
The evidence consisted of emails from Jessica Ray, president of the neighborhood association, and other Pendleton Heights residents. The emails, though available at the time of the original commission meeting, were not presented to the commission members.
According to Bradley Wolf, the city’s historic preservation officer, one of the three emails was missed by the staff, another was sent just before the meeting was to start, and it was unclear that the third email was to be shared with the commission.
Wolf said the neighborhood association’s only course of action now is to appeal the case to circuit court.
The Historic Preservation Commission ultimately decided 4-1 that the new evidence was not “cumulative in nature.”
“I don’t think this evidence would have been enough to sway the commission another way,” commission member Mike Hardin said.
Although the commission was not aware of residents’ strong opposition to the chain link fence, members said it was something they discussed.
“We don’t have any hard feelings toward the school,” Ray said. “Our frustrations are more with the commission and with its inconsistency when upholding guidelines.”
Ray said the neighborhood association likely won’t appeal the case to the circuit court, but members are debating whether to apply to no longer be a historic district.
Instead, protections would be left in place to preserve certain structures and landmarks.