Prairie Baptist Church at 75th and Roe filled the Prairie Village City Council chambers Monday night to make their case for the city to help resolve an erosion problem that has made the back edge of the parking lot unstable.
Part of the asphalt has crumbled and the church has been required to fence off the area for safety.
Church representatives who spoke, including senior pastor Kathy Pickett, said the city had been meeting with them to partner on a solution, but that abruptly ended after a 2015 meeting. Pickett said the church had experienced “an ongoing lack of response over the years.” She said her father, an attorney, attended the 2015 meeting and made a comment about what other steps were available to the church besides litigation.
That comment apparently caused the city to withdraw its offer for assistance in curbing along 75th Street that allows some water to come down the parking lot towards the stream that runs on the north side of the church property.
Prairie Village City Administrator Quinn Bennion said the water running off 75th Street only accounts for about 20 to 25 percent of the water creating the problem. The rest comes from the church’s parking lot.
Pickett said there had been a “long history of neglect” but “it continues to be our desire to partner with the city.”
Another church member said “over 16 years Praiire Baptist worked in good faith.” He said the city had not followed through.
“Whose role is it” is the question with drainage issues on private property, Bennion said. The church had built the driveway approach, a configuration that would not be allowed today. And the church could have corrected the parking lot and slope (that borders the stream) problems on their property, he indicated.
“We made it clear,” Bennion said, that the church could do something with the slope, but that it would require a drainage permit. The church at one point dumped concrete salvage on the slope, but the city had them remove it because it was done without drainage permit, which usually requires an engineering study.
The church has since had professional engineering studies completed.
Council member Serena Schermoly suggested public works come back with recommendations, a motion the council approved. That approval came after a comment from Andrew Wang that he was interested in finding out the extent of the city’s responsibility before working with the church.