Proposed Green Park subdivision topic of work session

Mother, sister of alderman seek approval of subdivision

By Mike Anthony

The Green Park Board of Aldermen will conduct a work session next week to discuss a subdivision proposed on property owned by an alderman.

The work session to discuss the Arbors at Clydesdale Park, a subdivision with 44 attached homes proposed by developer J.H. Berra at 10995 Kohrs Lane, will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at City Hall, 11100 Mueller Road.

The property is owned by Ward 2 Alderman Tim Thuston.

In two separate votes, the city’s Plan-ning and Zoning Commission earlier this month recommended denial of the subdivision at a meeting that drew dozens of residents. Those who spoke July 2 opposed the proposal for traffic or aesthetic reasons.

J.H. Berra Construction Co., headquartered in Oakville, seeks to build a 44-unit subdivision on 7.88 acres of land owned by Thuston. The developer requested a change in zoning from RS-1, single-family, to RS-1 with a planned development district. The first 5-4 vote was on the subdivision itself, then the 6-3 vote recommended against the rezoning.

As proposed, the houses will be single-family attached homes, with two houses attached to each other, as with a duplex, with a two-car garage for each separate home. They will be built by McBride & Sons, which has built a number of developments in the greater metro area, and could sell for $160,000 to $200,000.

The Board of Aldermen will conduct a public hearing Monday, Aug. 19, before it considers the proposed subdivision.

Thuston will be required to recuse himself from the board’s vote, and four of the five remaining aldermen will have to vote in favor of the project for it to be approved.

During a Board of Aldermen meeting last week, Thuston’s mother, Ann, and one of his sisters, Peggy Bienefeld, urged the board to approve the new subdivision.

“… To the best of my knowledge, I’ve probably owned property in Green Park longer than any other resident here. I was 12 years old when my parents bought the 40-acre-plus farm (in April 1944) …,” Ann Thuston said.

Over the years, property from the farm has been sold and developed into subdivisions, including Gary Gardens and Ronnie Hills, and utility easements have been granted to benefit her neighbors, she said.

“… You see — always giving so others could benefit,” Ann Thuston said. “Now the time has come to ask for a benefit to make 10995 Kohrs a place to be pleasing to the eye for all. I can no longer continue to keep the property up as it should be, as age has come into play. Perhaps Kohrs should be opened on the other side on the other end of Yuma to alleviate some of the traffic, which everyone is concerned about …”

The Board of Aldermen should approve the subdivision, she said, “So I can move on with my life. I’m not leaving Green Park. I have seen the plans (of) the development and I plan to purchase and move into one of the homes, staying here, but living somewhere more manageable …”

Bienefeld said, “… The selling of this property has not been an easy decision for my mom, Ann Thuston, nor my brother, Tim. For several years, we’ve encouraged Mom to consider downsizing.”

Her brother, she said, “struggled and anguished” over the idea of selling.

“But my sisters and I convinced him that it was time. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but my mom is 80 years old. She just celebrated her 80th birthday in October and she soon will be having her 81st,” Bienefeld said. “Her desire now is to travel and do the things that she has always dreamed of doing. Her ‘bucket list’ is pretty long and we hope that she will be able to have reality of that.”

The sale of the property will provide her the financial security to do that, she said.

“… It is my mom’s property that is her life savings,” Bienefeld said, adding that her mother should be able to “liquidate those assets and have an income so that she’ll be able to live the rest of her life …”

Thuston’s sister also took exception with a comment made by former Mayor Tony Konopka, who opposed the new development during the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing, saying a subdivision of that scope does not belong in that area of Green Park, on a lot that size.

“I’ll say it’s like putting 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag, is what’s going to be happening here,” Konopka said. “I can see the seller will have his bag of money, he’ll be happy when he leaves. The developer will also have his bag of money and be happy when he leaves. But I think the city’s going to be holding a bag, too — and maybe it’s not going to be all that great.”

Bienefeld said, “I felt very sad that he would make such an arrogant, and I’m sorry to say, ignorant statement … I don’t know if Tony realizes that the economy is not in the condition in which somebody is going to be walking away with millions of dollars. It’s not the way the economy is going right now …”