Prairie Village council affirms residential, church or school use for Mission Valley site

It was mission accomplished for the Mission Valley Neighbors Association Monday night.

With an 8-2 vote and no debate, the Prairie Village City Council affirmed the recommendation of the city’s Planning Commission that the preferred zoning for the former Mission Valley Middle School site be listed R-1A. The move essentially limits potential development of the area to residential, school or church projects.

Councilors Andrew Wang and Ruth Hopkins voted against the measure. Councilors Laura Wassmer and Charles Clark were absent and did not vote.

After the City Council meeting, Wang said he voted no because he felt it was inappropriate to make changes to the city’s comprehensive plan without having conducted a study on how to make the best possible use of the site. The City Council voted in February against paying around $90,000 for a site-use research project after significant lobbying by the MVNA.

“Mission Valley sits on one of our busiest trafficways, and if we can’t consider redevelopment on that site, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to redevelop anywhere,” Wang said. “I just see no reason not to consider something more for that space.”

The council’s actions represented a defeat for MVS, LLC, the firm made up of local developers Joe Tutera and Dan Lowe that owns the property. They had lobbied the council to include language in the comprehensive plan amendment that would have made it easier for the council to consider broader uses for the property.

Charles Miller, the attorney who represents MVS, LLC, told the council Monday the development group was planning on starting to work with neighborhood residents on coming to an agreeable plan for the site.

“Right now they’re operating from a position of fear, of not knowing what could be there,” he said. “The next step of this will be to come forward and talk to people about possible plans. We’re hoping people will be patient — you might not like the first version you see. But it won’t be the final version.”

The council also released a moratorium it put in place in November on all re-zoning requests for the site.