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Council Votes On West Side Apartments, Light Rail Postponed

Developers and neighborhood opponents continue to negotiate on a planned apartment complex at 17th and Madison.
Rendering courtesy of EPC Real Estate

The Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee of the Kansas City Council will postpone a vote on a controversial West Side apartment complex until Aug. 10.

The measure was sent back to committee for a second hearing June 22 after neighborhood groups expressed concerns that the upscale housing would raise property taxes in the area.

Developer John Coon at the time said the worries were unfounded and offered to meet with neighborhood groups to negotiate a compromise of some sort.

Council committee members said on Wednesday the negotiations were continuing and postponed final committee action on the development until August 10.

Also on Wednesday, the Finance and Governance Committee postponed action on a light rail and public transit initiative for one week.

Activist Clay Chastain submitted enough valid petition signatures to qualify his $2 billion transit plan for a public vote.

But committee members said the city's legal staff was still finalizing details and a vote this week on putting the matter on the ballot would be premature.

Ballot language seems to be one issue, and Chastain has already released a statement accusing city lawyers of distorting details of the petition message more than 1700 registered voters signed.

Committee chair Scott Wagner stopped short of saying whether the committee would send the proposal to the voters, commenting only that the delay was so council members would "be prepared" when the matter comes up next week.

Steve Bell is afternoon newscaster and business news reporter for KCUR.  He may be reached at 816-235-5173 or by email as steveb@kcur.org.

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