Bitter city development conflict over Troost religious housing divides a second city council

File photo. Hundreds of people have turned out for meetings about a Catholic student housing project like this one in 2015.

File photo. Hundreds of people have turned out for meetings about a Catholic student housing project like this one in 2015.

After three years, a fight over religious student housing on Troost Avenue continued today as a divided city council sent it back to committee.

The council voted 10-2 to send the $14 million project back to the Planning and Zoning Committee.

But that committee is not the same group that approved it last year under the old city council.

Councilman Scott Taylor, who now chairs the committee and was on the previous one, argued for a final vote Thursday on whether to approve the amended project at a five-acre site at Troost and 53rd Street.

Councilwoman Jolie Justus of the 4th district, where the project is located, noted that a changed plan that Taylor wanted to approve had not been vetted by the City Plan Commission or even heard by the council planning committee.

It is dangerous to change a plan on the floor and vote for it without vetting it, she said.

“I’m not asking that this be referred to this committee to kill it,” she said. “I’m asking my colleagues to give the process a chance.”

The new plan follows many months of mediation but was still opposed by many. It reduces the number of apartment units from 85 to 82, increases parking and moves the building from the southeast to southwest corner, Taylor said.

Troost needs the development, he said, and the matter finally needs to be resolved.

But parishioners of the St. Francis Xavier church adjacent to the site and neighbors have opposed the project for years.

It would raze the former St. Francis Xavier school, which people had hoped to renovate for neighborhood use.

They object to the housing project’s density, design, parking and more.

The City Plan Commission repeatedly recommended against the project, citing vast opposition.

Lawyers for the property owner, the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, have threatened to sue the city unless the project is approved.


  1. It would seem the answer to this problem is to keep the project on Troost but move it up or down the street and let the neighbors redo the school for a community center.

  2. BIGBABY59 says:

    I believe this congregation, still living in the past. It’s time to rebuild Troost Ave. and find other things to complain about.

  3. BIGBABY59 says:

    This congregation does not have a vision. Having the students close by, might help the congregation grow with younger people. But it seems like this group is anal.

  4. Frances says:

    Wow, 8:07 AM what makes you say the group is “anal” ? Perhaps you do not live anywhere near the area? Have you any idea of the size, scope and lack of feasibility involved? There is a beautiful plan for Troost–you can see the vision online, (it is similar to the area near KU on 39th) and it does not include giant concrete structures full of fundamentalist Christians who have no where to park, and do not interact with the whole community. Maybe those who keep trying to cram the structure down everyone’s throat are the ones who need to grow a better vision.

  5. BIGBABY59 says:


    I lived in Kansas City most of my life, and to put the record straight, I was born in Kansas City. If developers and community organizers had a great plan, why hasn’t anything been built. The only person who had a plan for that part of Troost was the Former President of Rockhurst College, Tom Savage. He had a good vision, and he discussed it openly, and got results. So practice your history of the area, before you make drama comments, and do nothing visions.

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