It's been a tough month for Johnson County lawyer John Duggan.
Duggan showed up to a Johnson County Board of Commissioners meeting December 19 representing property owners in south Johnson County who chafed at the idea of sharing a fence with a proposed pumpkin patch. After more than three hours of deliberation, county commissioners sided with owners of the KC Pumpkin Patch, which is currently in Gardner but wanted to move a little ways north to some undeveloped ground because of the impending construction of a BNSF Intermodal facility.
Then Monday night, Duggan was representing a de facto neighborhood group called the Mission Valley Neighbors Association, which has been stridently opposed to a senior living facility in Prairie Village at the old Mission Valley Middle School site. His client lost again.
Prairie Village Mayor Ron Shaffer on Monday night cast a tie-breaking vote to give wealthy Kansas City businessman Joe Tutera the large-scale Mission Chateau development he has long coveted.
Mission Chateau was the most pressing issue at Prairie Village City Hall in 2013
and looks to continue that way in the new year. On one hand, city government in Prairie Village has been somewhat keen on a large-scale development in its boundaries with the landlocked nature of northeast Johnson County cities offering few opportunities for redevelopment. But Mission Chateau, as proposed, is well over 300,000 square feet in size, making it a daunting project not only in size but also for the two years of construction that will take place in close proximity to single-family residences surrounding some portions of the Mission Chateau site.
Tutera had already once been thwarted by the Prairie Village City Council
. The City Council voted 7-6 in favor of Tutera's project in September, but a protest petition by surrounding property owners required at least 10 approving votes. Tutera rejiggered his Mission Chateau proposal in such a way that it eliminated several properties that were previously within the protest petition boundaries. On the second try, he didn't have to deal with fetching a supermajority of the Prairie Village City Council's approval.
While Tutera is already making plans to start what will be one of the largest private developments of the year in the Kansas City area, Duggan is already signaling that his client, the Mission Valley Neighbors Association, may go to the courts to appeal Prairie Village's decision.