Tutera sues Prairie Village over vote that stopped Mission Chateau plans

Now vacant for two full school years, Mission Valley is set to become the subject of a lawsuit between its owner and the city of Prairie Village.
Now vacant for two full school years, Mission Valley is set to become the subject of a lawsuit between its owner and the city of Prairie Village.

As he made his way out of Friendship Hall at Village Presbyterian Church just minutes after the Prairie Village City Council squelched his company’s plans for a 350,000-plus square foot senior living community, Tutera Group head Joe Tutera said the company would “be giving serious consideration to appeal.”

That consideration is over, and Tutera’s decision is likely to add a sizable chunk to what must already be huge legal bills associated with the project — and cost Prairie Village’s taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in the process.

The Tutera Group on Tuesday formally filed a legal appeal against the city for the council’s move to deny the Special Use Permit necessary for Mission Chateau to move forward. The council and mayor ultimately voted 7-6 in favor of the project, but because the motion didn’t garner the supermajority needed to override a protest petition filed by area homeowners, the project proposal failed.

The full statement released by the company is below:

On October 1, 2013, MVS, LLC filed suit appealing the decision of the six-member minority of the Prairie Village City Council to deny the application for a Special Use Permit to build Mission Chateau.   Under Kansas law, MVS was required to file this suit within 30 days following the City Council’s decision, which was made on September 3, 2013.  MVS looks forward to defending the decision of the majority of the Prairie Village City Council, defending the near unanimous action of the Prairie Village Planning Commission and defending the unqualified recommendation of the Prairie Village Professional Planning Staff, each of whom supported the issuance of the Special Use Permit, against the unreasonable action of the six-member minority of the Prairie Village City Council who voted to deny the Special Use Permit.  MVS is confident that the Johnson County, Kansas District Court will find the six-member minority refused to follow the applicable legal standards required of them when they voted to deny the Special Use Permit to approve Mission Chateau.

The “applicable legal standards” that would be at issue in court are likely to include the “Golden Factors” resulting from a 1978 Kansas Supreme Court Case that established the basis for state zoning issues. During the Mission Chateau vote Sept. 3, Prairie Village legal counsel Katie Logan asked each councilor voting against the project — which had won near-unanimous support from the city’s Planning Commission — to cite their rationale. A number of the no-voting members cited the first of these factors, which allows members of a governing body to consider “the character of the neighborhood” when casting their votes.

A memo prepared by Prairie Village Planning Consultant Ron Williamson of Lochner giving the council an overview of the Golden Factors is embedded below:

https://dfv6pkw99pxmo.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/memo-051413-Golden-Factors.pdf