Mission Woods is at least temporarily holding off on a condemnation proceeding it had set in motion against a building on Shawnee Mission Parkway, one of the few commercial buildings in the small city. The city earlier entered into an agreement with an adjacent property owner, Karbank Real Estate, to help fund the condemnation of the neighbor’s building.
However, the owners of the targeted building at 1968 Shawnee Mission Parkway are protesting the city’s action and have plans of their own to renovate the building. The council Tuesday gave the owners 30 days to submit more information about their renovation plans, though the owner offered to apply for a building permit right away and go through the permitting process.
Spencer Thomson, attorney for the building owners, said his clients were “shocked” when they learned of the condemnation plans, which were discussed by the council as early as October. They had presented a renovation plan to the city’s Architectural Review Board earlier that same month. Thomson said it was much later when he learned that the city was discussing condemnation. The building and the grounds are under separate ownership. The land owners also were present at the meeting Tuesday. In January they told the council they had no plans to sell.
The site is the middle of three commercial buildings that sit on the north side of Shawnee Mission Parkway just west of State Line Road. The two buildings on either side of the 1968 building have been purchased by Karbank. One has already undergone extensive renovation. The 1968 building has been vacant for about a decade, since shortly before the current owners took possession.
Council minutes show that Steve and Neil Karbank in October suggested to the council that the 1968 building was in disrepair and that the city could take the building through eminent domain and use it as a public space. They pledged to help the city with the costs of the eminent domain. Tuesday night the Karbanks declined to say how much they were willing to fund the proceeding.
Thomson told the council in January that the property is worth more than $1.5 million. Mayor Robert Tietze said the city recognizes it would need to need to pay fair value for the property if it is acquired through eminent domain, but that would be funded by the Karbanks, not the city of Mission Woods which has approximately 180 residents – the smallest municipality in northeast Johnson County.
In November, the council passed an ordinance setting up the eminent domain process in general and signed an agreement with the Karbanks to fund acquisition of the 1968 property. In January, an ordinance that specifically targeted the 1968 building for condemnation was tabled after the owners appeared to object.
Tuesday, after architect John Wind presented renderings for the renovation and Thomson spoke for the owners, the council retreated into executive session. It cited attorney-client privilege for the private discussion of the ordinance. When the council returned, the mayor said no action will be taken for another 30 days.
Thomson complained that the owners were getting no feedback from the executive session. He said the building is structurally sound, has no water problems and is not dangerous. Thomson asked the council if anyone was aware of a building code violation on the building in the last 10 years and did not receive a response.
“We have every right to submit our plans for approval,” Thomson said. “What we are not happy to do is be treated differently than any other owner or citizen.”