Proposed mixed-income apartment complex met with concerns in northland

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A proposed mixed-income apartment complex in the northland has been met with plenty of questions and concerns from neighbors living near two of the proposed sites.

The plan calls for up to 85 apartment units, a third of which would be for low-income families and individuals, to be built in a complex near the intersection of NW Barry Road and Platte Purchase Drive.

On Friday, neighbor Wayne St. Vincent told 41 Action News that the project brings up many possible issues for the area.

"There are a lot of people that are unhappy," explained St. Vincent, who has lived in the Barry Harbor neighborhood for 25 years. "They're worried about property values. What's this going to do to taxes? What's it going to do to the crime rate?"

Planners for the project, including the Housing Authority for Kansas City, have a 6-acre and a 17-acre site near the intersection in mind for the complex.

While the neighborhood has seen businesses move in over the years, St. Vincent said adding around 80 apartments could bring issues.

"They're going to break ground on one of the two pieces of property, both of which would abut Barry Harbor," he explained. "Everybody is worried about their property and what this project is going to do to it." 

John Monroe of the Housing Authority spoke to 41 Action News about how the proposed complex would help address current issues at the Chouteau Courts housing project.

"Our residents don't feel safe there. It's not very pedestrian friendly. The units are small," he explained. "We want to get residents out to neighborhoods of opportunity. We want to get them close to services, better education, and jobs." 

Monroe said with the intersection of NW Barry Road and Platte Purchase Drive being near several schools and business as well as along a bus route, the two proposed sites bring many benefits.

"We want to try and get them exposed to a variety of different school districts and different job centers," he said. "We feel like having sites in different sites across the city is the best way to do that."

After neighbors brought up some concerns with the project, Monroe showed 41 Action News graphs from the Kansas City Police Department displaying crime reduction in areas with mixed-income housing.

"We looked at our mixed-income sites around Kansas City and we looked at crime stats going back 20 years from police," he explained. "It showed no impact on crime."

Graphs provided by John Monroe of the Housing Authority

The project and its location both remain undecided at this point.

Moving forward, St. Vincent hoped city leaders and developers would hold more meetings with neighbors to provide more information and answer their questions and concerns.

"I think they have to explain themselves as to why it has to be here and what's the advantage of here versus some other place," he explained. "We've scheduled meetings with several people, so I think we'll figure out something over the next couple weeks."

Monroe told 41 Action News that an overall cost of the project still needs to be determined.

The next meeting on the proposed mixed-income complex has not been scheduled yet.

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