The Mission city council on Wednesday evening approved the use of eminent domain on a commercial property to allow the city to move forward with the Rock Creek Channel improvement project.
The Rock Creek improvement project aims to address erosion and flooding concerns along the creek from Nall Avenue to Roeland Drive by constructing “retaining walls, channel modifications and parking lot improvements,” according to city documents. Permanent and temporary easements required to complete the project have been acquired for seven of the eight properties — all except for Wendy’s, 5900 Roeland Drive.
“We’ve worked for months negotiating, but unfortunately, we haven’t reached a conclusion,” said Pete Heaven, Mission’s land use attorney. “We’re going to try to continue to do that, but in the meantime, we have to move forward with the project.”
The city council adopted a resolution deeming it necessary to turn part of the private property into public property. Shortly after that, the city council adopted an ordinance that authorized the city to acquire the land by condemnation for the improvement project. The city council approved both items unanimously.
Mayor Ron Appletoft asked Heaven to confirm that there have been numerous conversations with Wendy’s and the corporation has been advised of the eminent domain action the city would take. Heaven said Wendy’s has been advised repeatedly.
The city will take a subterrain permanent easement under the Wendy’s parking lot (on the northern side) to install a geo grid that will stabilize the creek’s bank, Heaven said. After construction is completed, the city will put the parking lot back in place. Heaven said arrangements have been made to keep the drive-thru open and provide Wendy’s with ancillary parking in a city lot to the west of the property.
Mission resident Ben Chociej — who lives along 60th Terrace in one of the affected households — told the Shawnee Mission Post that the erosion in some of his neighbors’ yards has been significant. Chociej said the impact in his yard is noticeable and not ideal, and that and those who were asked to sign easements did so in fall 2019. Additionally, he said he hoped it wouldn’t come to usage of eminent domain, but that he’d like to see the problem fixed for those most affected.
“We love having Wendy’s that close, but to not be a good neighbor is a little bit of a disappointment,” Chociej said.
Wendy’s could not be reached for comment for this story.