Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2006

Deal offered to end Primrose dead end

August 24, 2006

The city of De Soto will sweeten a benefit district arrangement with a local developer in the hopes of completing a loop through one of the city's newest neighborhoods.

The De Soto City Council agreed last Thursday to make the offer after developer Nate Harding asked for the city's help in brokering a deal to connect Primrose Drive through an undeveloped area between the Cedar Ridge West and Timber Lakes subdivisions.

De Soto city officials are starting a new effort to complete
Primrose Drive in west De Soto.

De Soto city officials are starting a new effort to complete Primrose Drive in west De Soto.

Harding isn't alone in wanting to see the 690-foot extension of Primrose Drive completed. Those living in the neighboring Timber Trails and Timber Lakes subdivisions would like to see the street completed to relieve traffic on Timber Trails Drive, Mike Drennon told the De Soto City Council last Thursday.

Joining in the appeal was De Soto USD 232. District planning director Jack Deyoe sent a letter to the city stating the district supported the extension of the street. Bus drivers were not allowed to backup with students aboard, and without the extension providing a loop through the new neighborhoods some students were forced to walk farther to and from their homes, he wrote.

Harding's interest is his proposed 32-home Brook West subdivision. He received a preliminary plat for the subdivision in 2003 and was granted two 12-month extensions since. All had the stipulation Primrose be completed. De Soto planning commissioners and city council members agreed the subdivision would put too much traffic on Timber Creek Drive, which provides the only access from 87th Street for those living in the Timber Creek and Timber Lakes subdivisions.

The extension of the street was also a stipulation of Joann Thompson's 62-home Cherokee Woods subdivision, a two-phase subdivision that has had a complicated history before the De Soto Planning Commission.

The planning commission turned down as "wrongly phased" a preliminary plat in October 2003 that would have built the phase with homes accessed directly from 87th Street first. A preliminary plat application in June 2004 that would have built the Primrose-served phase of the development first won the planning commission's approval, but an application for the same preliminary plat was withdrawn last year when it was learned Thompson didn't have title or access to two drainage tracks shown on the plat.

Since that time, Harding has gained title to the drainage tracks.

When the extension of Primrose became an issue in 2004, city staff brokered a benefit district agreement to extend the street that Harding signed. The benefit district would have paid for the street with assessments against homes built in the subdivisions.

Before signing, Thompson asked that side streets in her future subdivision be included in the benefit district. City council members balked at that addition, saying they didn't want the city to extend the financing mechanism to what should be the developer's responsibility.

Earlier this month, Harding told the council that he had again approached Thompson about a benefit district arrangement. The story, he maintained, was the same. Thompson agreed to an arrangement but never signed it.

With that he came to the council and city staff began to look for ways to make the improvement.

City Attorney Patrick Reavey said a state statute provided for just such an impasse. Cities are given more leeway in creating benefit districts to complete a section of street between two improved sections, he said. In such cases, the threshold of protesting the benefit districts is increased from 51 percent of the participating property owners to 75 percent, he said.

But without Thompson's willing participation, the city would have to condemn the roadway needed to extend Primrose Drive -- something council members said they were reluctant to do for Harding or any private developer.

Instead, council members asked City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle to negotiate with Thompson, offering to include the side streets in her development in a future benefit district.

Thompson said Tuesday she didn't want to comment on the issue but would talk with the city. She did talk to Guilfoyle about scheduling a meeting, she said.

City engineer Mike Brungardt said the cost of the street improvement had nearly doubled in the four years since Harding first applied for a preliminary plat for Brook West. At that time it was estimated the cost of the street would be $145,000. He now estimated the cost at $278,000.

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