Latest Mission Chateau hearing suspended in progress over legal notice question

An overhead view of the new Mission Chateau proposal, with lots for single family housing along the south edge of the site.
An overhead view of the new Mission Chateau proposal, with lots for single family housing along the south edge of the site.

The public hearing on the latest version of the Mission Chateau senior living complex came to an abrupt halt Tuesday night when the attorney for the Prairie Village Planning Commission suggested that the legal notifications for the meeting might not have been proper.

The move came after both sides, the Tutera group and the Mission Valley Neighbors Association had made their presentations before the commission and another sizable crowd at Village Presbyterian Church. Tutera has made several changes to the plan that failed before the city council, but the new proposal still faced harsh criticism from MVNA.

At the heart of the issue is whether homeowners along the southern edge of the property should have received written notice of the meeting — even though a number were clearly present. Residents within 200 feet of a project are required to be notified of a hearing. In its latest proposal, Tutera has carved out nine sites for single-family homes along the south edge, replacing the senior housing “villas” that were part of the original plan.

Since the property is already zoned for single family housing, the new Special Use Permit Tutera has filed covers only the area for the senior housing and skilled nursing facility — a site of approximately 12.8 acres. The entire property is 18 acres, including the new home sites. The published notice for the hearing used a legal description of the 18-acre plot, even though it also described the permit site as the 12.8 acres.

David Waters, the city’s attorney on Tuesday, said that might require notification to the border properties and needed to be researched. It would not change the fact, he indicated, that the new Special Use Permit only applies to the 12.8 acres. That could mean those neighbors would not be eligible to sign a protest petition if the planning commission sends the proposal on to the city council. A successful protest petition requires a supermajority for council approval.

MVNA attorney John Duggan hammered on what he called a “brazen end run” on the rights of the property owners. He said it was an “absurdity” that the new proposal carves out a “miraculous” 200-foot buffer zone and repeatedly contended the neighbors were being denied due process.

Duggan suggested it is now a mixed-use project and that the entire 18 acres should be included in the plan. He also asked that the new application be delayed until the court rules on a Tutera appeal of its last rejection by the city council.

Joe Tutera had earlier laid out changes between the two applications. Besides the addition of the nine new homes parcels, a memory care until that was in a separate building has been move under the skilled care unit. That adds a story to the combined building, making it three stories, but pushes it back farther from the southern neighbors, giving a 317-foot setback from the property line.

The number of assisted living apartments, independent living, skilled nursing and memory care units remains unchanged in the new plan. The size of the memory care until increased by more than 6,000 square feet. That change was to accommodate its placement under the already-designed skilled care building.

The hearing was suspended while opponents were still testifying. The notification issue will be resolved and the hearing will resume at the December commission meeting.