By Alan Shope, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
For the last two years the leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph have been hoping to build a new dorm near 53rd Street and Troost Avenue for students who attend Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri - Kansas City. That proposal has been opposed by neighbors in the past, but now it's on the table again.
It's a proposed plan that neighbors say will add more traffic to their already congested area as well as bring other potential problems with living next to a dorm of college students.
The Catholic Diocese says they need more dorm room space for students, but neighbors said it's not what they want near 53rd and Troost. They feel the diocese is not communicating with them.
"We're looking at the backside of this easel and the backside of that easel is about what we still know about this current plan," said Les Cline with the 49/63 Neighborhood Coalition.
The plan went back to the city planning commission on Tuesday.
"Students really are 100 paces from either one [campus] ... they won't need to drive," the developer said. "It's our full expectation that students will take advantage of that proximity."
The developer addressed concerns of the lack of parking near the intersection. They say they would add more than 100 new spots for student parking. But neighbors said there are a number of potential uses for the existing building, like a primary school or an early childhood development center. They add that if the diocese's plan fails, they're stuck with a building that has limited use.
"If it doesn't work then what does that mean for our neighborhood?" Cline asked.
Neighbors say there are problems that come from living next door to college students, but that's not their main concern. They don't like the size of the proposed building and the problems that come with it.
"We know parking is a huge issue and the developer has not demonstrated to us that his plan is going to adequately provide enough parking spaces for the anticipated amount of students they're going to have there," Cline said.
The developer and the Catholic Diocese declined to go on camera but did say it's a project that will greatly benefit faith-based college students.
The diocese originally came up with the proposal in April 2012 but have scaled down their original plan from more than 250 dorm units to just 100.
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