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Northland neighborhood fighting proposed big-box store

Posted: 6:52 PM, Apr 24, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-25 01:50:32Z

Every time Bill Johnson leaves his Northland home he passes acres of farmland. Now, he’s concerned the land could be turned into a big-box store. 

Kansas City’s City Plan Commission is considering a proposal to re-zone the area, which if recommended and passed by city council, would allow for a big retail store. 

"Let’s put it this way, this place will wreck the neighborhood,” he said. "If it was a small mom and pop place it would not be an issue. But a huge store like that is going to be a big issue with the whole neighborhood.”

As 41 Action News spoke with Johnson, other neighbors pulled over to express their concerns with the re-zoning proposal. 

"We’re concerned about traffic. The traffic up and down North Cookingham is going to increase significantly and that’s going to force a lot of these patrons to go through our subdivision,” said John Gervais. 

“There are so many kids in this neighborhood and my biggest concern is crime and traffic,” said Barbara Chronister, a mother of 13-year-old twins. 

Joseph Rexwinkle with the City Plan Commission told 41 Action News no recommendations have been made. 

He also said the city has also “not been made aware of the tenant,” only that the proposed use is for retail sales. 

Site plan submitted to Knasas City

Site Plan submitted to Kansas City for re-zoning proposal

Renderings of proposed retail space courtesy the City of Kansas City

The proposal application obtained by 41 Action News is signed by Rick Rohlfing, the project manager for BFA, Inc. 

According to his website, he has helped develop 11 Walmart projects and 11 Lowe’s projects across the Midwest.

Though his site plan does not name a specific tenant, Chronister and others believe it is a big-box store. 

So she created an online petition in order to present the council with their concerns. 

"It’s a quiet, nice neighborhood. Everyone gets along. We have two pools, everyone hangs out in the pool during the summers and we want it to stay that way,” she said. 

The City Plan Commission will meet May 2 at 9 a.m. to discuss the re-zoning proposal. The commission is responsible for making a formal recommendation before city council reviews the proposals.