By Max Goodwin
Nearly a year ago, Flint Development had plans to build a 1.2-million-square-foot industrial complex on about 93 acres of land just east of I-435 near 87th street was met with strong opposition from neighbors in the Oldham Farms neighborhood.
Flint Development eventually pulled out of that project after the opposition from the neighborhood group.
“When they backed down we thought it will be a continuing issue,” said Lorraine Franklin, one of the neighborhood members who got involved. “So, we kept together as a committee, and decided how can we fight this or at least have more of a voice.”
The neighborhood members decided to begin meeting once each month. They named the group, Blue Ridge Area Quality of Life Initiative, or by the acronym for short BRAQoLI. They were right that the development of the 93 acres of land that is currently all wooded area would be an ongoing situation.
Recently, representatives of Scannell Properties offered to purchase the site, again with plans to spend more than $70 million developing the land into an industrial park. The plans were presented by Cam Duff, director of development from Scannell Properties at a South Kansas City Alliance meeting, March 14, and again found resistance from the local neighbors.
“If there are potential concerns from neighbors, we want to be a good partner on this deal and if there are concerns, we’re trying to get out in front of them,” Duff said at the meeting.
“I understand this is maybe the second time you guys have seen a project proposed on this site,” Duff said. He was asked if the previous developer had disclosed why they had pulled out and he said, “We had heard about it and we had made a lot of modifications to the site.”
Members of BRAQoLi in the crowd said they disagreed. The previous site was mostly one gigantic building planned to be used as warehouse space, the plan that Duff presented on behalf of Scannell Properties consisted of three large buildings with some of the forest kept on the south and west sides of the land. Duff admitted this development could also potentially be used as warehouse space and was a speculative development without occupants already set.
Amanda Gehin read a statement at the meeting on behalf of BRAQoLI at the meeting. She said the group opposes “the rezoning of 93 acres of woods in the Oldham Farms neighborhood,” because “This acreage is valuable green infrastructure that increases Kansas City’s climate change resilience.”
The residents have developed an area plan for the site, and hope to see the land remain zoned for residential development.