By Allen Edmonds
The Belton City Council approved final plats for the Southview Commerce Center’s 4th and 5th plats, including a plan to develop a small portion of the overall project as a neighborhood just off 155th Street in the northeast corner of the giant light industrial development that now dominates the Interstate 49 frontage north of M-58 Highway nearly to Grandview.
The former golf course has been developed by NorthPoint of Riverside, a firm that has reached national prominence with similar projects from coast to coast. Belton’s project features warehouses for mail order pet supply giant Chewy, a Caterpillar rail supply division and others.
But the votes weren’t unanimous, nor did they sail through without opposition. Ward 4 Councilmember Rob Powell, one of the newly elected group that arrived this past April on the promise of change of the status quo, immediately took up for his constituents to the east of the development both in regard to sight lines and sound levels.
He said multiple visits to the neighborhood have shown the sound levels to exceed the agreed-upon maximum level promised by NorthPoint. He also said berms are not consistently high enough to prevent neighboring property owners from being able to see docks and trucks – especially with the change in construction plans that was executed with the last building.
Councilmember Chet Trutzel responded to Powell’s concerns by indicating that the Planning Commission was the Council’s advisory board on issues such as this, that he was not qualified to judge sound levels and that he doubted Powell was, either.
Fellow Ward 4 Councilmember Dave Clark said he had also visited the neighborhood and was sensitive to neighbors’ concerns, but that the loudest sounds he had heard came from Interstate 49, which has always existed.
He said he would be willing to act on complaints that NorthPoint wasn’t performing as promised, but only after construction was complete.
“I don’t think it would be fair to judge them now, during the actual construction process,” Clark said.
Mayor Norman Larkey agreed, and said he would vote in favor of the final plats as well.
The votes both passed 8-1, with Powell opposing.
At the end of the meeting, Powell moved to deny NorthPoint any Occupany Licenses until it could be shown that all the company’s agreements had been met.
His motion died for lack of a second.
The Council also unanimously passed the standard procedure to disclose potential conflict of interest and substantial interest for certain municipal officials, a process that is required by the state every two years. Belton passes its ordinance annually.
The Council voted to amend the City’s code regarding special hearings for the suspension or revocation of business licenses, formalizing the process by using a special marshal to conduct the hearings.
Police Chief Scott Lyons also defended his decision to end 24-hour stray animal pickup by officers, in response to a question from Councilmember Angela Kraft.