By Kathy Feist
On Tuesday, October 12, the Grandview City Alderman voted 4-2 to defeat an ordinance that would approve a 62-unit multi-family development at 12529 Lemon Tree Lane.
The mixed-income project called Libertad included 55 affordable and seven market-rate family units on three acres near I-49 and 127th St. The development would have consisted of 46 one-bedroom units with a preference for seniors and 16 two-bedroom units for families and individuals with children at risk of homelessness. Preliminary pricing was based on income, ranging from $389 to $925 for a one bedroom unit and $460 to $1000 for a two-bedroom. The project is envisioned on 3.01 acres off Holly Tree and Lemon Tree lanes.
The developer, Vecino Group, had been awarded tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission a year ago for the project. It is uncertain what will become of the tax credits or how the state will act upon the city’s vote.
“We won’t know until sometime in November,” says Mayor Leonard Jones, Jr. who would like to see the project proceed. “You don’t let something wrong with a project be the reason for its failure.” As an example, he says better parking in the neighborhood should be the focus of the problem. “But don’t eliminate the project,” he retorted.
The property is at the tail end of three different apartment complexes along 127th Street. Those include Briarwood Gardens’ 320 units on the north side of the street and Greenfield Village’s 213 units on the south, and a smattering of townhouses owned by Raintree Ridge along Lemon Tree and Holly, amounting to over 1000 residents in a condensed area. Due to a shortage of parking, vehicles line both sides of 127th Street, creating one narrow lane.
Those who attended the October 12 meeting found density, parking and the possibility of the homeless and drug addicts attracted to their neighborhood as reasons not to have Libertad built nearby.
Ward 1 Alderman Debbie Bibbs had passed out flyers notifying neighbors of the city vote. “We filled City Hall up,” she says.
“We are not against affordable housing,” she emphasizes. “It’s just the location that is wrong.”
Among those who do not want mixed-income housing in their neighborhood are homeowners living in the 55+ Jordan’s Keep new development. The Libertad property rests in the community’s backyard, which is surrounded by a 6-foot tall, black enameled steel fence. Interestingly, the property owners of the Jordan’s Keep community also own the Libertad property. Both TK Senior Properties and Jordan’s Keep HOA are listed with the same address, 3303 Main St., which is Kenny’s Tile & Floor Covering.
“The residents have been in agony over this project,” says Bibbs. “I’m glad to get up and help them. I’d do it all over again.”