The good Catholics of Kansas City have lowered their contributions during the recent unpleasantness of Bishop Bob Finn overlooking the kiddie porn hobby of his friend Father Ratigan.
But the Bishop wants a legacy and is suddenly interested in student housing near a secular and Jesuit university and crammed into the tiny urban lot of a defunct catholic school.
Legacy? Investment? Competing with the local private housing industry with a tax free 501(c) corporation to build an Opus Dei Housing Project – a Moonie Cult Hotel in the neighborhood to recruit from the local universities?
The Kansas City Catholic diocese’s plans for student housing on Troost Avenue drew a storm of neighborhood opposition Tuesday as a citizens panel reviewed the project.
The City Plan Commission postponed a rezoning decision until Nov. 6 on plans by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to build a 103-unit building geared toward students attending Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Leaders of the neighborhoods surrounding the proposed site, on the west side of Troost Avenue near 53rd Street, complained the diocese has not communicated fully or honestly with them. They also argued the proposed design is too big, will exacerbate existing parking and traffic problems, and will negatively affect Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church.
“This project is shoe-horned in so tight it doesn’t fit the space,” said Ken Spare, president of the Crestwood Homes Association. “We are vehemently opposed to this.”
Jude Huntz, chancellor of the diocese, said the diocese thought it had addressed the concerns and he was sorry about any miscommunication. He said the next step will be to meet again with the project’s critics to try to find a resolution.
The five-story building would be on the site of the former St. Francis Xavier School, across from Rockhurst and a few blocks from UMKC. The elementary school, empty for a few years, would be torn down.
The building would be owned by the diocese and built by Domus, which has built Catholic residence halls in other cities.
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