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South Kansas City woman remains a holdout as developer plans to build housing complex near her home

Pauline Dillie
Posted at 4:47 PM, Mar 04, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo — A stretch of property along Holmes Road near 115th Street in Kansas City, Missouri, sits empty, with windows and doors boarded up with “no trespassing” signs posted for all to read.

Next door, a lively woman with a flourishing garden and energetic Shih Tzu remain planted in their home.

Pauline Dille has lived off Holmes for 54 years and has no plans of moving until she moves on from this life.

“I have memories here,” Dille said. “I watched my kids grow up in the backyard. Play baseball, you know, everything.”

Dille told KSHB 41's Abby Dodge that a developer has tried to acquire her land, and surrounding homes, for quite some time.

“I feel like if you try to take this away from me you are taking a piece of my life,” she said. “You are shortening my life expectancy because I will become mentally and emotionally distraught if I have to leave here.”

Kansas City’s property records show the developer successfully bought up a large chunk of land around her home.

I talked to the development company over the phone Monday afternoon.

They said the company is in the process of buying a few more pieces of land in the area with plans for a large housing complex.

The city of Kansas City said any past plans submitted by the developer are currently inactive.

If they wish to move forward with construction, they need to submit a new application.

Dille remains uninterested in any of the plans next door.

“If we don’t want to sell, I think they should not keep badgering us to sell," she said. “We have all been here for a long time, and if we wanted to sell, we’d have a for sale sign out front.”

Dille detailed a handful of stories related to the development of her area over the years.

She had always felt safe in her home until those living next to her moved away.

While the windows and doors of the vacant homes next to Dille’s property are boarded up, it was not always this way.

Dille said one evening she was watching the 10 p.m. news when her dog started barking at something she heard in another room of the home.

Dille got up to investigate and found someone inside her front room who had been living in a vacant home.

She quickly called the police.

“I felt like I could handle this, but my heart was running rapidly,” Dille said. “I felt like it was coming out of my chest. It was very, very scary.”

A short time later, Dille said someone got into her home while she was mowing her yard and left every television in the home on. She does not watch TV during the day.

Upon further investigation Dille found the person who snuck into her home, left two pieces of toilet paper on the bathroom roller and a toy in her dog’s pen.

Dille installed a security system to ease her anxiety and was able to get the buildings near her home boarded up.

Despite the rollercoaster of emotions Dille experienced during the process, she remains steadfast in her desire to remain at home until her final days.

The first formal question I asked Dille during our conversation was simple. How important is this home to you?

She met my simple question with an equally simple answer.

“Very important,” Dille said. “It’s my life.”

The developer told me they plan to break ground within the next year.