By Diane Krauthamer
On November 3, the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri, voted unanimously in favor of a contested rezoning and development plan for Woodbridge Manor, a 152-lot single-family residential development which will rest on 54 acres of land located west of Jackson Avenue, about one-quarter mile north of E. Red Bridge Road. Approval of the plan came just one week after a public hearing took place at the Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Committee on Oct. 26, wherein neighborhood residents protested and urged City Council members to reconsider the proposal.
Area resident Christina Bereolos—who lives a few blocks away from the slated development site—stood firmly at the front of the hearing room with her father, Jim, to voice the community’s concerns about the development.
“I have been involved in opposing the development alongside a majority of my neighbors since I first heard of it in July,” said Bereolos.
“As planned, Woodbridge Manor would tear the fabric of our semi-rural setting and create a suburban residential character,” she added. Included in this, she cited issues concerning air pollution, land conservation issues, and proposed that the plan be revised to reflect she and her neighbors’ concerns.
Still, Dan Foster of Schlagel & Associates, P.A., who represents developer Sami Shoubaki of Automatic Solutions, LLC, claimed a commitment to preserving greenspace in the community. Woodbridge Manor is set to be an “open space development,” which is one of three residential development options authorized by the zoning and development code. This requires that the developer set aside 30% of their land as permanent open space, which will include stream buffer, substantial relief and heavy vegetation, according to the “Woodbridge Manor Ordinance Fact Sheet.” Additionally, there will be a segment of the Three Trails Corridor Trail that runs from east to west through the proposed development, in accordance with recommendations from KC Parks.
Other such conditions that the developer agreed to include notifying property owners within 300 feet of the boundaries if blasting is going to occur, and adhering to stipulations such as providing access roads for emergency vehicles and submitting a street name plan for the entire development.
“We feel like this is a compatible project with the neighborhood. It fits in with the neighborhood,” Foster said.
Christina Bereolos disagrees. “The city has made spot zoning it’s policy in the Red Bridge Area. They are ignoring what makes our neighborhood our neighborhood, which is feeling like we are in the country. We are going to lose those visits from the wildlife, to become just another suburb, and that makes me very sad,” she said.
The project is slated to be constructed in five phases. As last reported in the Martin City Telegraph in July, the first phase of construction could begin as early as 60 days after City Council approval, which would be in January 2017.