Planning Commission gives preliminary OK to plans for a new facility, but commissioners lend sympathetic ear to concerns that the site is atop the historic Santa Fe Trail.

The Independence Planning Commission gave Cargo Largo preliminary approval Monday night to construct a new facility next to its current one.

In the meantime, company officials agreed to work with local historians, since the new site is located on what might be part of the original Santa Fe Trail.

Recovery Management Corporation has operated Cargo Largo, formerly RSO, from the location on East 35th Street, just west of Noland Road, for the past 25 years and also operates two additional locations – another in Independence and one in Sugar Creek. The plan will allow the store to consolidate its operations into a single facility. Plans for construction of the new facility building resurfaced after being on the back burner for several years.

Travis Boley, executive director of the Oregon, California Trails Association, told commission members the proposed site may be one of the last remaining undeveloped portions of what used to be the Santa Fe Trail. The other known locations are at Santa Fe Park and near the historic Bingham-Waggoner home. Boley requested the organization be allowed to apply for a grant from the National Parks Service in order to survey the site to learn more about its history.

Charles Miller, an attorney representing Recovery Management, said the company will work with historians, as long as it doesn’t delay construction of the new building.

“We’ll sit down and talk to them about what can be done,” he said. “We’re not hostile to this in any manner.”

Eric Fowler, a member of OCTA, told commission members the site deserves more consideration and would like to erect a sign explaining the site’s historical significance and, perhaps do an archaeological dig. He said he knows of an area resident who discovered artifacts, including arrowheads and axes, while farming on the property. He said many historians claim the site as a campground for native Americans, Santa Fe traders and immigrants’ campgrounds.

He said he believed company officials will work with historians, but still had some concerns.

“It’s all voluntary on Cargo Largo’s part that it will get taken seriously,” Fowler said.

Planning Commission members stated they liked the appearance of the proposed, 427,000-square-foot facility to be located east of Weatherford Road (formerly Lynn Court), west of Noland Road, between east 31st Street and 33rd Streets. The building will be a combination of retail, warehouse and office space, located on more than 43 acres.

Traffic will also be able to access the site on 33rd Street from Noland Road where a railroad crossing was installed across from Truman High School. 

“I think we’ve been waiting a long time for this development,” said Commissioner Jerry Kacheroski. “I think it’s going to be a great addition and help with revitalization of that area.”

Commissioner Lyn Westfall agreed. “I really like the looks of the building,” she said of the concrete building that will stand 41 feet high, with tan as the primary color and darker beige accents. “And I’m glad to see something like this going in on Noland Road.”

While commission members liked the new building, some voiced concerns about the plight of the existing facility, which company officials said will be either leased or sold.

“There’s a building directly to the south of that, with large Noland road frontage that’s been vacant for some time,” said commission member Lori Harp.