City gives OK to move forward on Augustus housing complex

By Chris Swick
July 07, 2015

It wasn't unanimous, but McPherson City Commissioners gave the go-ahead to a contentious housing project off of Augustus Street following a public hearing during their regularly scheduled meeting Monday.

Commissioner Bob Moore, who wasn't in favor of the project from David and Tom Pyle to build 20 apartments and 10 duplexes to begin with, switched his vote after more information on the city's drainage policy was presented, as well as assurances by the Pyles that the drive leading into proposed comlex at Augustus and Lincoln Streets would be a private one.

“It's a private drive, it's places for people to live,” Moore said. “And if they're aware of the possibility of a flash flood, I don't know what else we can do but make everyone aware of it. These gentlemen [the Pyles] are willing to spend some money in our community to help with housing. I still feel there's a better place [for the complex], but if you [McPherson Mayor Tom Brown] want to make your motion again, I'll second it.”

Moore and Brown both voted in favor of allowing the project to move forward after waiving the city's drainage policy in this one instance in relations to the 100- and 10-year flooding events.

“That means if somebody else comes in that's not a slam dunk,” Brown said, “we'll come in, evaluate everything and go again.”

The measure passed 2-1, with Commissioner Larry Weins voting against without further comment. The vote now allows the project to be taken up for consideration by the McPherson City Planning Commission in the near future.

The project had faced a lot push-back from city staff over the drainage issues at the site, specifically that access by the private drive would be underwater and inaccessible to emergency vehicles in the event of a major flooding event.

Both David and Tom Pyle have maintained that the work done to prepare the property in question for the housing complex will decrease the possibility for flooding, particularly the creation of retention ponds to collect water run-off.