Some resolution could be coming for the flooding issues that for years have plagued the area of U.S. 24 and Northern Boulevard at the Independence-Sugar Creek border after heavy rain.
The Independence City Council on Monday approved the zoning change and special-use permit for the former Eagles Club lodge at 1208 and 1210 East U.S. 24 that allows Mark Cosgrove plans to relocate his used-vehicle sales business to the five-plus acre lot. Best Buy Car Co. has been at the 10600 block of U.S. 24 in Sugar Creek.
It has been among the places affected by floods, along with a liquor store, car wash and church on the Independence side – tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage at those locations. However, many have blamed the floods on a spot at the edge of Cosgrove's lot, where a few years ago he filled in a sinkhole caused by a collapsed drain pipe at the culvert running under U.S. 24. The backed-up culvert has caused the drainage plain in Independence to overflow.
Independence has said the culvert is OK on its side. The Missouri Department of Transportation said the problem isn't in its easement. Sugar Creek has wanted Cosgrove to fix it. And Cosgrove has said he shouldn't be responsible.
Independence Council Member Mike Huff said Cosgrove has plans to have the filled-in spot dug out after he moves his business. Independence, Sugar Creek and MoDOT would then figure out exactly how to fix the culvert.
“It's not a magic bullet, but it's a step in the right direction,” Council Member John Perkins said of Monday's actions.
“We can't have the storms start up in March (next year) and it's not fixed,” Huff said. “That's not good for anybody there.”
The city of Sugar Creek sued Best Buy Car Co. several months ago regarding culvert repairs. Mayor Mike Larson confirmed there have been no new developments on that front.
Monday's ordinances had been scheduled for first readings, but due to a clerical error the associated public hearings normally held before second readings were on Monday's agenda. A council majority voted to give the zoning change and special-use permit two readings as emergency ordinances.
The city’s Planning Commission had recommended the two matters by 5-1 votes.
Council Member Curt Dougherty said the council's approval will allow the business to remodel a lot that's been vacant for a couple years and move just a little quicker.
“We don't need another car lot, I'll give you that, but this fills an empty building,” he said.