City, Pyles spar again over Augustus development

By Chris Swick
June 29, 2015

McPherson City Commissioners reached an impasse on a proposed apartment complex on Augustus Street following a hearing with the developers.

McPherson Public Works Director Jeff Woodward said that City staff was against the development due to drainage issues.

“In a 100-year event, it would put five foot of water over the entrance,” Woodward said. “Also, during a 100-year event, their retention would be completely underwater, which violates our police in that it would not contain the 100-year flood.”

Developer Tom Pyle pointed out that the same issues can be found city-wide.

“Now, are you, by vote against this project, saying that no property that's within those flood plains can be repaired, can be altered or added to?” Pyle said. “Are you going to refuse building permits, shingling permits and so forth? Because, in essence, that is what you would be doing.”

McPherson Mayor Tom Brown acknowledged that part of the problem is in the way the streets were constructed and made the motion to wave the requirements on the drainage and 100-year flooding event to move the project forward.

The motion died when neither commissioner Larry Weins or Bob Moore seconded.

“I know there's other places in this community that has this [flooding issue], but that doesn't mean we need to build more,” Moore said. “I appreciate you guys wanting to build and help housing in McPherson, because we desperately need it. But I have a problem [with this project] because it doesn't meet the city policy.”

Instead, the matter was tabled for another week as commissioners requested information about the city's drainage policy, specifically as to when it was adopted and whether the Pyles' project could be grandfathered in, as the planning for it began in 2006.

The matter will return before the commission July 6.