Ah, deadlines, the bane of journalists! Hard to find time to check all your facts.
I am not privy to the events in the courtroom that David Martin described in his column about the Loretto redevelopment; I was not there. But I doubt that Martin presented the central points of the lawsuit.
However, I do know that I have been the president of Volker Neighborhood Association since January 2009. The quotes that were used are several years old.
And while Brooke Salvaggio of BadSeed Farm is very photogenic and I am personally very pro-goat, linking her situation to what's going on with the Loretto was a bit of a stretch. Dense infill housing is good on one site; farm is good on another site? How are these situations equivalent? Martin thinks both projects are cool, so I suppose that's enough because he's the editorial writer.
It is important for residents to be involved in local development decisions, rather than leave all the choices to the professional planners and the developers. There will never be full agreement, though, and it will always be a messy process. Most residents were enthusiastic about a boutique hotel in the Loretto, but a few were against even one more liquor license on 39th Street, for example. The apartment infill question (where, how many, how big) was even more divisive, and there were questions about procedure.
Presenting either of the situations in Martin's article as impediments by one grump was facile and not really very informative.
Kansas City, Missouri
I disagree that Mercier or the Volker Neighborhood in general would benefit from the building of one boutique hotel and three apartment buildings. The neighborhood, with its narrow streets, already has numerous problems created by an influx of automobiles. This would increase dramatically on the 3900 block of Mercier, a rather densely built area as it is. Increased automobile traffic and limited parking are major issues in this neighborhood.
Additionally, the vacant green space on the west side of the Loretto provides a welcome respite from the current density of this street. Who needs more apartments?
And, in the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Martin should have noted in his article that the Loretto has a very nice display ad that runs regularly in The Pitch.
Kansas City, Missouri
David Martin responds: Yes, I erred in identifying Judy Widener as the "current" president of the Volker Neighborhood Association. Widener was the neighborhood group's president at the time of the City Council meeting I described. As my column stated, the meeting took place in 2007.
Susan Herold makes a fair point about full disclosure. However, I was unaware that anyone connected to the property had advertised in The Pitch until after the story had gone to press, and knowing wouldn't have affected my reporting or the editing of my column.
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