Historic Independence community concerned with plans to rezone land

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Homeowners in a historic neighborhood are upset over plans to rezone church property into a soccer complex and sports center.

Lots of kids playing soccer into the night, with bright lights and traffic, doesn't sound good to people who like the peaceful, quiet McCoy neighborhood just the way it is.

A developer wants to transform the old St. Mary's Catholic School gymnasium and adjacent land into three artificial turf soccer fields for tournaments and year-round operations.

Homeowners right across the street from the site are fighting the plan, saying it's not a good fit with three churches nearby already attracting crowds for weddings, funerals and other services.

"I'm all for sports and what it does for young people in keeping them busy and building their character or whatever," said Emmett Morris, a McCoy homeowner. "This is just not the place for it. It's just not the place for it in so many ways we don't want to be encumbered with floodlights and fencing."

Neighbors also worry that rezoning the property for commercial use, could open the door for other undesirable businesses, should the sports center fail.

The Independence Planning Commission has delayed taking action on the proposal, telling the developer to work with neighbors to try to address their concerns.

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