County’s proposed intersection realignment criticized during rezoning consideration
De Soto City Council gave the nod to rezone a site off an intersection to a key entry point to the city, but gave thumbs down to a county plan to realign the same intersection.
The rezoning of the 61 acres northwest of the intersection of 95th Street and Kill Creek Road from rural to commercial was approved 5-1. No vote was taken on a county plan to realign the intersection as part of a future Kill Creek/Homestead road arterial, but council members voiced objections concerning the design's affect on one of the city's future prime commercial growth areas.
The council's opinion was shared by applicant Ralph Lewis, one of two landowners with Bob Jackson in the "loose partners" asking for the rezoning. The applicant said the proposed realignment would make the rezoning meaningless.
"It looks as if someone draw up a plan to destroy the development potential of that intersection," he said. "This is a big deal with us."
Lewis said he and Jackson hadn't seen the realignment plan before last week. Having seen it, he encouraged city staff to proactively relate the city's objections to the realignment to the county.
City engineer Mike Brungardt said he would have more talks with the county. Diplomatically, he said he was sure the county had reasons for the alignment.
Last week, assistant county engineer Brian Pietig told the Explorer the county would soon start preliminary engineering studies on what is now a 400-foot corridor for the future arterial. The goal was to develop the best 150- to 200-foot right of way for the future route.
But Pietig said work on the road probably wouldn't start for more than a decade. When fully built out, the arterial would be a six-lane parkway.
As for the rezoning, which came to the council with the De Soto Planning Commission's recommendation for approval, former De Soto City Councilwoman Linda Zindler, who lives on 95th Street, disputed the "favorable" staff finding that the property's rezoning was in compliance with the city's comprehensive plan.
The comprehensive plan's land use map showed most of the property as mixed use, Zindler said. As the name implies, that would allow development with office space, some residential and commercial. Permitted uses on the proposed C2 commercial zoning would be lumberyard and car lots, she said.
Moreover, the mixed-use zoning would encourage a comprehensive plan to develop the entire property while commercial would promote piecemeal development, Zindler said.
Future land use maps were meant to establish direction and were not absolutes, Brungardt said. As for this particular property, it appeared ideally suited for commercial development and to handle a high volume of traffic with improvements to 95th Street and Kill Creek Road.
The possibility of some of uses Zindler suggested concerned Councilman Tim Maniez. He didn't dispute the property's commercial zoning, but thought it premature with no plan for development. His decision would be based on whether he thought he would have greater control over how the property would be developed if rezoning would be withheld until that time.
Lewis said he and Jackson understood the property would need expensive infrastructure improvements before it could support development. Discussions on extending sewers to the site or improving the streets couldn't realistically start with the rural zoning, he said.
Councilman Mike Drennon agreed, saying the rezoning also would increase development interest in the property. Mayor Dave Anderson and three other council members joined him in voting to approve the rezoning. Maniez voted "no."