PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- It was a late night at a Prairie Village church, as the city council listened to public debate over the construction of a senior living center on Mission Road. In the end, the council voted 7 to 6 for the Mission Chateau project. To pass, the development needed 10 yes votes.
For months, homeowners have been fighting The Tutera Group, hoping to eliminate the possibility of the 350,000 square feet facility to be called Mission Chateau. The plans called for the living center to be constructed at the abandoned site of the Mission Valley Middle School. Many think the center is too large.
At 7:30 p.m., the mayor said there were about 26 people on the public comment list, and the list was growing. By 10 p.m., the number of people who wanted to comment was 40. There were more than 200 people inside the church for the meeting. At 9 p.m., developers were still giving their side. The Tutera Group said it had received nearly 250 letters supporting the project and said it had already scaled back the size of the project by ten per cent.
On Wednesday, the Tutera Group released the following statement, thanking supporters:
'We are overwhelmed by the support from the community. We express our regret to the over 150 residents that anticipated approval of the plan so they could move into their new homes at Mission Chateau. We remain very pleased that the City Staff, the overwhelming majority of the Planning Commission, and the majority of the City Council share the vision for quality senior living and the appropriateness of the design and scale of Mission Chateau.
Specifically to address the concern of the neighbors, we regret that there was not a better understanding of the changes that have been made. We will continue to work towards closing this gap. We will press forward with our plans to provide quality senior living to Prairie Village."
"We need more choices as we age and I hope that the neighborhood has the good sense to really defend their statement," said Jim Sarkis, who supports the proposal.
"Prairie Village has two and a half times the number per capita of nursing homes and retirement as Johnson County. We've done more than our share," said Whitney Kerr, part of the opposition.
Because homeowners near the property were able to get the required 20 percent of signatures, the senior center required approval of ten of the city council members.