Mission Hills City Council candidates on the issues: Biggest issues facing the city

Candidates vying for election to two seats on the Mission Hills city council give their take on the biggest issues facing the city.

In August, we asked our readers about the issues you wanted to hear the candidates running for Mission Hills City Council address. Based on your feedback, we developed a three-item questionnaire touching on the most important issues to patrons of the district.

Each day this week, we will publish the candidates’ responses to one of three questions. Today, we are publishing candidates’ responses to the following question:

What’s the biggest challenge facing Mission Hills today and what should the city council be doing to address it?

Below are the answers the Post received from the candidates on this issue:

At-Large Seat

Barbara Nelson

Barbara Nelson headshot

In the past 12 or so years, the City of Mission Hills has had investment in new and remodeled homes worth over $300,000,000. The good news is that the City has seen great renewal. The flip side is those homes are all bigger, in some cases much bigger. We have covered so much of our land that often the homes leave little pervious surface creating water problems. Over the past months we have updated our water ordinances and are now requiring our Architectural Review Board to request a complete drainage study for each new project with the aim of knowing how the new construction will affect the neighboring homes. Our motto: If you can’t drain it you should not be able to build it. No one wants to be the last house at the bottom of the hill. Water issues are now and will continue to be a very real problem.

Having said that, Mission Hills is still one of the most welcoming and safest of communities in all of Kansas City. We have been fortunate to have incredible volunteer participation on our committees even as we ask more and more of their time. As young families move into the City we have made a grass roots effort to be inclusive. Our neighbor driven Community Engagement Committee has helped organize five major social events this year that have been extremely successful. But we know that we can always do better and we will continue to try doing just that.

Bill Bruning (incumbent)

Bill Bruning headshot I believe the City’s biggest challenges center on balancing the rights of homeowners
to redevelop their property, the rights of adjacent homeowners not to be overwhelmed by adjacent redevelopment, and the right of all taxpayers not to have to pay to upgrade municipal systems to accommodate the individual, private decisions of redevelopers.

Generally speaking, JC Nichols historically developed relatively small lots for the
luxury homes he built. Now many redeveloping home owners want larger, taller houses which fill up the entire buildable area of the lot. The City’s established limits, like 35′ ridge lines and 65% green space, are regularly bumped up against in the ARB. A key aspect of such recent development patterns is the storm water runoff new and remodeled houses may engender. I believe the City needs to study existing patterns of runoff, existing geology (e.g., the prevalent limestone strata), existing storm water systems (e, g, some neighborhoods rely on backyard swales to discharge storm water), and climate change ramifications before we can begin to address the impact of the changing building pattern. The cost of a study to fully understand the current systems should be manageable, but the cost to accommodate our infrastructure to these changing water patterns will be significant.

Read these candidates’ responses to questions about noise pollution and flooding solutions