April 22, 2011
In another push to protest a casino in Sumner County, dozens of residents have filed a lawsuit against the city of Mulvane.
The site for the Kansas Star is located just off the Kansas Turnpike, west of Mulvane, and construction is already underway. But the lawsuit claims building a casino there will diminish property values.
Paul Van Deest lives in the neighborhood located directly across the roadway from the casino construction site. He isn't one of the 54 residents filing the lawsuit, but says he has some of the same concerns.
Van Deest and his wife moved out of Wichita, and bought their house to be in the country. But soon he's afraid his family will constantly be subject to crime, heavy traffic, and bright lights.
"You'll be able to see it right over there all day long," said Van Deest, looking out from his yard, where he owns 2.5 acres.
Van Deest says he would like to move, but thinks he may lose money on the house where he brought his family to live ten years ago.
"I don't see any way that it could do anything other than lower the property values. I mean no one wants to live right across the road from it," said Van Deest.
The lawsuit claims the same concerns about property values as Van Deest. It also asserts the Mulvane City Council approved zoning the area for a casino without taking into consideration how it may harm the community. But that's something the City Administrator says just isn't true.
"Their views were considered, the planning commission was very thorough in their reviews of the materials and the studies, and we did act in a reasonable fashion," said Mulvane City Administrator Kent Hixson.
Hixson also says many of the residents filing suit don't actually live in the neighborhood directly across from the casino site.
"One of them is my neighbor, I live across the street from this individual. So some of the credibility of the people claiming that their property values will be decreased certainly has to be called into question," said Hixson.
Van Deet, on the other hand, says he is sure the casino will impact his property. But he says it's a reality he'll have to accept.
"They're trying to run a business too, I just wish it wasn't here," said Van Deest.
The first phase of the casino is set to be complete by the end of this year. Much of the project is expected to be finished by 2014.