It looked simple on paper – a site plan/design review for an inventory parking lot addition for Blue Springs Ford.

It looked simple on paper – a site plan/design review for an inventory parking lot addition for Blue Springs Ford.

But presented to the Planning Commission Monday night, it became a bit more complicated... and illegal.

Brenton Sells, an engineer for Davidson-Brown, spoke quietly as he both defended and explained why Blue Springs Ford chose to build a simple parking lot at the business on South Outer Road, ignoring design plans that were approved by the city’s Planning Commission earlier this year.

The original plan called for significant landscaping design like rocks upon which cars would be perched, as well as evidence of greenery; a small number of cement islands upon which lighting would be located; a narrower entrance way.

What the city got was much less landscaping; several islands scattered throughout the plain-looking lot; set-back violations; and a wider entrance way.

“There was a directive in the plans that would have had cars facing parallel to the street,” Scott Allen, community director, said. “But they turned them around.”

What surprised commission members most was that they did it without notifying the city, without acquiring the necessary permits or, in the end, having the property and the lighting inspected.

Without representatives for Blue Springs Ford, Sells was the lone speaker Monday night. He said there was “misunderstanding” and “lack of communication” between the business and the city.

At one point, after being asked why the business decided to make changes without consulting the city, Sells replied, “We felt we didn’t have the time.” At another point, Sells said Blue Springs Ford poured concrete for the lot because they wanted to “lock in the price of asphalt, which was increasing.”

Parker laughed.

“Then why would you pour more (than what was originally approved)?”

“We wanted to lock in the price,” Sells replied.

Commission members were mostly shocked that the work was performed without city permits and without inspection, at which Parker became the most vocal, illustrating the scenario of a small boy coming onto the lot and touching one of the island lamps and getting shocked.

While Sells admitted without argument that the dealership did perform the work without permits and inspections, he appeared a bit defiant after commission members unanimously agreed to deny the amendment.

He told commission members that he was there to discuss the plan as it appeared before them – a plan, he admitted, that had been changed without approval.

“It appears as if you totally ignored (the original plan),” Keith Sullivan, commission chairman, said.

Chris Henning, commission member, was to the point as well.

“We just want you to understand the credibility we would lose if we granted this,” he said.

Alan Franklin echoed Henning’s statement.

“We have to look at the precedent we’re setting,” he said.

Still, the matter wasn’t resolved. Refusing to speak and to clarify comments to media after the meeting, Sells spoke with Allen briefly and left.

“They have seven days to appeal to the City Council,” Allen said. “They didn’t indicate what they were going to do.”

Bob McDonald, city attorney, said the dealership could be fined and/or even a jail sentence could be imposed, but no charges or citations have been filed, he said.