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Examiner
  • Heritage vs. heritage

  • While an ordinance that would pave the way for renovations to the 39-year-old Heritage House Apartments hit Independence City Council’s desk Monday, Brian and Sharon Snyder voiced concerns about how the facelift also would affect their nearby residence.

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  • While an ordinance that would pave the way for renovations to the 39-year-old Heritage House Apartments hit Independence City Council’s desk Monday, Brian and Sharon Snyder voiced concerns about how the facelift also would affect their nearby residence.
    The ordinance, based on the rezoning application from Heritage Green Limited Partnership, received unanimous approval last month from the Planning Commission and will receive its second reading at the council’s April 29 meeting. It would amend the zoning map for Heritage House’s address (660 N. Spring St.) from high-density residential planned unit development and general commercial to simply high-density residential PUD, along with approving a preliminary development plan. A PUD is a planning tool that allows a city and a developer to set guidelines for an entire piece of property for such things as streets, architecture or common areas.
    The proposed renovation for the low-income senior housing building calls for staggered interior improvements, along with updated landscaping.
    The Snyders own the 163-year-old Owens-McCoy House at 410 W. Farmer St., with the west end facing North Ridgeway Street, which empties into the Heritage House parking lot. The house is listed on the National Historic Registry and is part of Truman National Historic Landmark District. It was built in 1840 by William McCoy, the first mayor of Independence, on property owned by Samuel C. Owens, and was the site of a Civil War battle.
    “It’s a survivor,” Sharon Snyder said at Monday’s meeting, noting the extreme weather and even cannonballs the house has endured. “It’s had a bulldozer at its backdoor.”
    It also has had to endure large vehicles that roll down Ridgeway, causing vibrations that can compromise the clay, lime and sand walls and rattle pictures off them, she said.
    To help preserve a historic site, she said she wishes the city could close off Ridgeway, adding that Heritage House traffic should use the Spring Street entrance since the building’s address is on that street.
    Public Works Director John Powell said multiple entrances are necessary for the 166-unit building, but added the city has tried to nudge Heritage House to encourage greater use of the Spring Street entrance for its traffic.
    “Our opinion is for the size of the facility and for emergency policies, there needs to be two entrances,” Powell said.
    The possible extensive renovations, and the continued, if not increased, flow of large vehicles has the Snyders concerned.
    “We don’t have a choice but to oppose this development plan,” Brian said. “The neighborhood is struggling in the shadow of Heritage House. We have boarded-up buildings nearby.”
    Brian added that preserving the city’s rich history is as important for the future as it is now.
    “History’s not just what happened 100, 200 years ago,” he said. “We’re making history today.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Council Member Eileen Weir said it’s good the council will have a couple weeks to consider the ordinance’s ramifications.
    “I think it’s important that we be thoughtful about how we proceed with this matter,” Weir said. “Heritage House is here to stay. The issue is how this building is affecting the surrounding neighborhood.”
    “Our heritage,” she added, “is what makes us unique in Independence.”
     
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