Plans for a four-story luxury apartment complex in Mission will go back to the Planning Commission for further consideration after council members voted 7-1 on Feb. 21 to remand it.
At the meeting, residents expressed — for nearly an hour — discontent as they took to the podium one-by-one to share their concerns about the multi-story complex that would replace three, almost-vacant buildings in the 6000 block of Martway Street.
“As a homeowner, I am concerned about how apartments affect my property value,” one Mission resident said. “It’s going to tower over a city park. My house would fit under that.”
Another resident added, “This development totally disregards the spirit of our neighborhoods.”
The project would include 117 one- and two-bedroom apartments, which would occupy the second through fourth floors. The first floor would be reserved for parking spaces in order to eliminate potential flooding in apartment units. It also would be used for small office and retail spaces.
Martway Officeworks LLC recently purchased the office buildings.
Christian Arnold, a partner at Martway Officeworks LLC and founding principal at Clockwork Architecture and Design in Kansas City, told council members last July that the group was attracted to the location due to its proximity to the community and aquatic centers as well as to Victor X Anderson Park, which is located just behind the buildings.
The site’s position in the Rock Creek floodplain, however, presents challenges to developers, Arnold said. That led the group to conclude the best solution was to elevate the structure.
The building would be 17 feet high to the top of the first floor. The required clearance for the fire department is 13 feet.
More than 40 residents have signed a petition opposing the project plan in its current state, citing concerns about the height and density of the building.
“You can definitely see the visual impact that a building that tall would have on such a small community,” Councilwoman Hillary Thomas said of her visit to the neighborhood behind the proposed project.
Residents also took issue with the Planning Commission’s approval of seven deviations from city ordinances.
According to a Mission City Council agenda packet, the commission — made up of around 10 residents appointed by the mayor — approved the developer’s request to waive the required 25-foot setback to adjacent backyards and the request to allow a maximum building height of four stories.
“A few of the residents have been concerned about the number of zoning deviations requested,” Arnold told The Star. “As this was only a preliminary plan approval, it is our intent to continue to refine the design to reduce the number of deviations needed.”
Arnold said research has shown a demographic shift in the housing market among a range of age groups, including baby boomers and millennials, who want maintenance-free living and walkable communities.
“We see the largest number of residents are young professionals that prefer experiences and travel over the hassles of home ownership,” Arnold said. “We also see empty-nesters that don’t want the expensive maintenance and utilities bills of a house, but still want to live in the neighborhood where they’ve spent their whole lives.”
The Planning Commission will reexamine the project details for further consideration at its March 26 meeting.
“I think it was clear last night that, overall, residents are not in favor of the project,” Councilman Nick Schlossmacher said. “I hope we can find a way that we can work with the developer to come up with a project that would be beneficial for both the developer and for the city.”