City votes 7-0 to annex land for controversial small homes

Local

The city of Wichita voted 7-0 in favor of annexing land for some controversial homes. They would be located in east Wichita, just south of Kellogg at 143rd and Harry.

The plan is to put in homes that cost $75,000 to $100,000. The homes are called microMansions. 

The decision came after multiple people spoke out against the tiny homes. They even presented a petition with signatures. Those homes would be located next to mansions. Some upwards of $1 million. 

“And I think anybody regardless if you have a $100,000 house or $1 million dollar house, you have the right to protect your property value, and that’s what we’re doing now, we’re voicing our concern,” said Jonathan Endicott, opposed to microMansion housing location. 

City members held an executive session and unanimously decided to proceed with the annexation of land.

“So next is a lawsuit, and we’re going to target the city and the developers,” said Endicott who lives near the proposed development. 

There are other homeowners who say it is time for a lawsuit.

“I’ll help them fight. We’ll help finance,” said homeowner Debra Evans. “I think that my home value just went down about 10 or 20 percent, and I will, not just me, but everyone will be petitioning the city to lower our taxes.”

Council member Pete Meitzner says they were told by city legal counsel that there was no legal reason to deny the annexation request.

“We’ve tried to look at every option. I’ve tried to look at, clearly, the legal side of the issue is, was, the compelling item,” said Meitzner. “It sounds like there might be some legal challenges to it which I would welcome because it might clear up some answers for everybody.”

Attorney Edward Robinson has been hired by some of the homeowners, and he is studying what comes next for a lawsuit. Robinson says the issue may be suing over home values. He also says the first lawsuit may revolve around the city zoning issues.

“Clearly, they didn’t care for what we had to say today,” said Robinson. “It’s clear.”

Robinson says the city annexation will allow for small lot sizes to go with the small homes. The lot size will be 5,000 square feet or less, but Robinson says land zoned in from unincorporated areas has to come into the city at a size of at least 20,000 square feet.

“We will have challenges here,” said Robinson. “Regardless what city legal had to say today.

Endicott says the current landowner and potential financial backer of the project, businessman David Murfin, may have gotten special consideration from some city leaders.

“It’s unfortunate the city is standing behind a developer that’s in their back pocket,” claimed Endicott. “I think they should not give this particular developer special concessions because of who he is or what he does or what influence he may have in this town.”

Meitzner said he is familiar with Murfin, but that did not influence the decision. He maintained the council had not legal reason to deny the request for annexation, and if they did, that could lead to legal challenges as well.

microMansions late Tuesday sent KSN a news release in response to the events at the city council Tuesday morning.

microMansions, LLC, obtained unanimous approval at the Wichita City Council meeting today of the plat for its first development project-“Home Base.” Home Base will be the first development of upscale, energy-efficient, smaller homes in the Wichita area. Co-founder Abby Nelson says, “microMansions is the “Apple” of tiny home developments; sleek, simplistic and upscale homes.” Nelson has spent over two years refining the design of these “micro” homes and is eager to offer them to homeowners who want to live simply and create new experiences. These homes offer minimalistic lifestyle living in a stylish, energy efficient, and affordable house. To develop the Home Base project, microMansions is purchasing 15 acres of land from Murfin Acres, LLP which is located near 143rd and Harry Street. Nelson, and co-founder, Brady Sherman, selected this location based on their anticipated homebuyers. Home Base will appeal to buyers that have interest in urban living as well as those wanting the peacefulness of a countryside development. The new development will attract those wanting a quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle, but still in short distance from urban grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and main highways. Nelson says that microMansions will have the same high-end finishes found in larger homes, such as quartz countertops, wood flooring and custom cabinetry. The development will be similar to other subdivisions with streets, yards, sidewalks, a water feature, a nice entrance, trees and an HOA with covenants and restrictions. The HOA fees will include lawn maintenance and trash service with recycling. In spite of some opposition from surrounding neighborhoods, Nelson and Sherman recognize the concerns, and plan to move forward with this residential development. It will be a valuable asset and improvement as this area of the City/County continues to be developed. More than 550 potential homebuyers have signed up through the company website, http://micromansionsdesign.com/. In addition, developers nationwide have been contacting microMansions about their franchise model. Nelson and Sherman anticipate the first model home to be completed this fall. The value this development will add to the community and surrounding area is anything but tiny.

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