February 11, 2016

Pugh will not resign

Danedri Thompson
Council member Dennis Pugh doesn’t plan to resign, at least that’s the word from council member Chris Morrow who called for Pugh’s resignation and that of Mayor Dave Drovetta.
Morrow said he’s received an email from Pugh saying he will not offer his resignation to the council. The Gardner News has requested a copy of the email from the city clerk’s office.
Mayor Dave Drovetta and Dennis Pugh did not respond to calls from the newspaper, although the Mayor did respond via email saying the city attorney has advised him not to comment on an ongoing investigation.
Council president Kristina Harrison did not join calls for anyone to resign, but she said she is hoping that based on public input, they’ll do the right thing.
“I hope it doesn’t get to the point where there’s a recall or something like that,” she said. “If they’re receiving an outcry from the people, I’m assuming they’re Calls to other council members were also not answered at press time.
In the meantime, one Gardner resident, Jared Taylor, has started an online petition asking that Drovetta, Pugh and Fotovich all resign from the council.
Taylor posted the online petition yesterday, but said he will take it down in the near future.
“For some reason I didn’t set it up right, so it takes anonymous names on there,” Taylor said.
The petition had limited response on Wednesday morning. Taylor said it had only garnered five or six names.  He plans to rebuild it as three separate petitions so residents can request the resignation of one, two or all three.
Taylor said his call for three resignations is based on principle.
“The call for Pugh is justified because of the physical action,” Taylor said.
Following a Nov. 21 city council meeting, Pugh allegedly followed council member Larry Fotovich home where an altercation occurred. Police were called, and the altercation is under investigation by the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office.
During Monday’s council meeting, Pugh told Fotovich to shut up and said he would “drag him in to the back room and beat the shit out of him.”
Drovetta and Fotovich are listed on the petition because Taylor said, “they have brought us to this by their antics.”
“Drovetta has been quite a bit more confrontational – almost physical,” he said.
And Taylor believes Fotovich is condescending towards Drovetta and the rest of the council.
“What I really want to see is a council that works,” Taylor said. “I want to see people who are honorable people. I don’t really care if they get along, but they should hold a public respect. I want council to be a place where I can take my kid.”


  1. Hmm...not "tackled" says:

    As quoted to GardnerEDGE, Pugh corrected the assertion they made that he “tackled” Fotovich. His quote: “You wrote in your article that I tackled Larry. I did not tackle Larry. We met at the light pole and both went down scrambling for the camera on the ground.”

    So, let’s now hear from all those people who were taking early hearsay by whoever as solid gold “facts”. Did Pugh REALLY tackle Fotovich? Were they scrambling? What did the “confrontation” consist of?

    Sure, it’s Pugh’s words saying that he didn’t do any tackling, but then again, it was Pugh’s words that had everyone ready to convict him of aggravated assault on the quote (or misquote) using the word “tackled”.

    My point? Wait for the facts to come out and quit spreading rumors!

  2. Kelly Morrow says:

    @ Hmm…not “tackled”
    Really, you are going to buy that from Dennis Pugh? And why aren’t people using there names?

  3. Judith Rogers says:


    Jared Taylor, you are such a piece of bull hockey and worse. You use lies and hate to recall three long standing citizens from the Gardner City Council, not submit the required campaign finance report to the Election Office by the required date and then when you are slammed against the wall to submit the required fully complete report, you submit a report with “anonymous” donors when the report calls for the full names and addresses of the donors and the amount they donated. Then you have Chuck Clark who was one of the principals on that recall and he hasn’t paid his full property taxes since 2005 the last time I checked about a month ago – he sure doesn’t seem to be a committed, responsible citizen in my book. Your whole Beasley Bunch are examples of poor citizenship and decency in my opinion. And you are sitting here running your mouth about what others should and should not do – give me a freaking break. You can join in with Drovetta and Pugh and all of you would be like apples in a barrel in my opinion.

    Pugh and Drovetta need to go and go NOW. I can only hope Pugh doesn’t have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. They have shown on numerous occasions that they will pull the intimidation card if you ask questions and/or make suggestions to cut costs for the citizens. Fotovich is doing the job he was elected to do. It might not be pretty and politically correct but he has done more for the average citizen in just a few months than the rest of them have done – most of them, like Pugh, merely show up with their rubber stamp to sign off with whatever Drovetta and his City Staff place before them and the people are paying a high price for that type of government. Fotovich brought out that the City Staff has not even got bids on the employee health program for 22 YEARS – now don’t you, as a taxpaying citizen, think that is a bunch of poor management or service to the people who work so hard for the needs of the community??? And that is just one thing Fotovich has reached out to improve and much needs to be done. Remember how your Fire Dept. was sold off, remember how Mundt brought that fire station in at a cost of around $1.7 Million when it was supposed to only be between $650,000 to $800,000. These things are just the tip of the iceberg of how irresponsibly your city has been managed now for years and allowed such terribly cronyism government. And what does Fotovich get for working for the citizens so diligently – he gets physically assaulted, verbally assaulted time and time again and Morrow seems to be the only decent one in that City Hall crowd to even come close to figuring things out.

    I urge Fotovich to protect his interests to the hilt and hold some people responsible and that Dist. Attorney and the Gardner Police better be doing the same and put the rotten politics in the back seat on this assault. This will be a issue to watch closely so you will know whether you even have the slightest bit of integrity, ethics, honesty and character left with that City Hall bunch and your police department and district attorney’s office. And if you they won’t do their jobs, then Fotovich always has the civil courts at his disposal. But the people should truly be alarmed if that city and the local police department and district attorney’s office don’t do their job on this assault because then you would know that if the same thing happened to you, then you may see your assailants walk stalk free – so much for justice and decency if that happens.


  4. Because the Mayor doesn’t use his real name.

  5. Because Fotovich is so honest and trustworthy? Kelly, much like Danedri, we all expect you to jump to the side your family supports, but don’t expect the rest of the world to automatically believe Mr. You Don’t Owe Them an Explanation.

  6. Kelly Morrow says:

    Has nothing to do with my family. If my brother would have done what Dennis Pugh did I would be demanding that he resign!

  7. Expect personal attacks, slander and intimidation any time you voice an opinion that differs from the mayor or those in power in this town. They do not take responsibility for their actions and are professional at bending facts to achieve what they want.

  8. Kelly Morrow says:

    The last “Kelly says” was not me. I use my full name

  9. Kurt Hackman (locust street ) says:

    Larry Fotovich is a world class SNAKE IN THE GRASS !!!!!!!! I have never met someone that deserves a Royal A@# KICKING …. I am a neighbor of this clown and seen him in action on the home owners association board, he is an antagonistic brat and deserves to get his clock cleaned real real good … Not sure what happened here but I know of at least 30 of his neighbors feel the same way I do … no one can stand this guy he is a disgrace to manhood

  10. you sound like a lovely guy. Maybe you and Pugh can team up together next time. You both seem to have a tendency toward anger. Thank you for using your real name so that we will all know to avoid you and your exreme anger in the future.

  11. Kurt Hackman (locust street ) says:

    I call it honesty …. your welcome

  12. I think you mean you’re welcome. And you’re welcome for the spelling lesson.

  13. I agree! My only disappointment with Dennis is that he didn’t give the weasel the beat down he truly deserves.

  14. W-o-w. I can’t believe there are people supporting what Pugh did. You probably blame rape victims based on their clothes. Disgusting.

  15. @Kelly Morrow says:

    You didn’t have any trouble believing him when the word was “tackled” instead of “scrambling”. I’ve read your facebook posts and you’ve been agitating for everyone *but* fotovich to resign. We get your position as a Fotovich supporter, just like your brother, but how many ways can you repeat the same sentiment before you start getting redundant?

    And why do you need to know someone’s name? You can cower behind your brother. The rest of us get threatened by Fotovich’s friends every time we post real names…us, or our families. You ought to be able to make your point or refute anyone else’s without finding out who they are. If you don’t believe me, look at how easy it was for me to use your brother and your prior posts on other sites to call into question your motivation. It’s crap, what I did there, but I did it to illustrate why people don’t want to expose their friends and family to personal attacks.

    My REAL opinion is that people ought to wait for ACTUAL facts to come out before playing all these pathetic speculation games. I’m not a Fotovich fan at all and have been a vocal critic of him, but both Gardner News AND GardnerEDGE have obscured the facts concerning his video camera. GardnerEDGE may or may not have gotten Pugh’s quote about “tackled” wrong. Gardner News, with their clear bias against all things Drovetta left out HUGE sections of the events that actually ARE known in favor of spinning things in favor of the vendettas Ms. Thompson holds against…well…all things Drovetta.

    You’re not helping things by trying to spin up lynch mobs, Kelly. The people howling for charges against Pugh aren’t helping. And, yes, the people howling for Fotovich and/or Drovetta’s heads aren’t helping. We need FACTS. Unless you can start quoting them and backing them up, you’re hurting Gardner every bit as much as Councilmen who put their egos ahead of their elected duties. Stand up for Gardner, Kelly. I respect you, but you gotta take the high road if you want to stop the bleeding.

  16. Regarding names, I totally agree with @Kelly in the above post. If one does dare to disagree with Fotovich (or his supporters), they risk direct ridicule from Fotovich in a public venue. Using names in these forums just isn’t worth the safety risk to family and friends.

  17. Of course, if one disagrees with Dennis in a public setting, they risk crazy coming to their homes and beating the “s–t” out of them. Classless. And jhawk — your school must be beaming with pride that you use their name to proclaim that the beating of those with whom you disagree is A-OK — you think public ridicule is morally equivalent to fist fighting? I’ll bet your kids are bullies.

  18. sounds like you all need to visit the local elementary school and have the Kindergarten teachers re-educate you how to get along with others…..my kids are more responsible and mature than the adults running this city….

  19. Well said. Anyone that even suggests that Councilman Fotovich had it coming to him, is plain sick. Who on this earth deserves to be attacked in front of their home (or anywhere else) because someone happens to think they are kind of a pain? Does that mean that I should be able to punch you because your post offends me? What if one of Fotovich’s children had witnessed this? Would you still be chanting that Pugh should have done even worse physical harm to him? It turns my stomach to think that ANYONE in this town would have this mentality. Grow up and get a conscience for goodness sake. Express your displeasure at the ballot box, not with calls for violence.

  20. My guess is Danedri Thompson is posting every other disgruntled post and Judith is posting the rest. Danedri is nothing but a whinny little brat.

  21. For all those Fotovich supporters, I think you need to spend some time in a public FORUM with him rather than privately. Every person can seem sane amongst two or three people however, for those of you that support him go listen to him behave in THREE different political situations and then reassess.

    I’ve known Dennis Pugh for many years, since he is the veteran of our country I think we owe it to him to give him the benefit of the doubt that his frustration level has reached an all time high. In the military he was trained to deal with random “antagonists.” Oh did I mention he ENLISTED during Desert Storm? Did he handle it the best way? I don’t know…I wasn’t there. However, I do know that I’m not taking the Gardner’s media as the whole story.

    For those of you that are asking for his resignation I have to ask…have you spent time publicly with Fotovich? The point of a city council is for DEBATE…can it become heated? Yes. Can it become over the top? Yes. Is there any other forum of government where our elected officials will go to blows over something they believe in? No, they are looking for the soundbites. I am enlightened by the fact that our city officials felt so strongly about their sides that they are willing to sacrifice their elected positions to defend them.

  22. Beeps, I pity the fool says:

    Beeps, I believe that Larry Fotovitch was a pilot for the Navy. That means he is also a veteran, not that this has anything to do with this incident.

    So the duo was in disagreement as to wether or not the Council should tape and broadcast their meetings. Mr. Fotovitch was for broadcasting, Mr. Pugh, apparently, is vehemently agains it. I think if you could get Mr. Pugh to realize the value of recording City Council Meetings perhaps people could see Mr. Fotovitch in action. If Mr. Fotovitch really is antagonistic wouldn’t broadcasting the meetings for all to see help to prove Mr. Pugh’s point? If Mr. Fotovitch is unstable, as you claim, wouldn’t we be able to see that via broadcast?

    Dennis Pugh isn’t a thinker. Clearly he acts without thinking about consequences. It’s one thing to have a public disagreement, but he FOLLOWED a man to his home and assaulted him – outside of the heat of the moment and showing some pre-meditation. He isn’t fit to lead.

  23. Mr. T The reason I mentioned that Dennis Pugh was a veteran is to illustrate that the love of his government is sincere. I do not know Mr. Fotovich’s military history so I didn’t comment on his.

    What my comments regard is that Dennis Pugh is getting drug through the mud for debating his opinion during this meeting. I am not commenting on whether I agree or disagree with what the debate regarded but the manner in which the public/media is feeling the need to call for Dennis Pugh’s head.

    Dennis Pugh cannot go to his home without passing Fotovich’s home. He did not track him down miles and miles away. They live in the same neighborhood! This melodrama in the media is what’s embarrassing. Obviously, right or wrong with his actions Dennis Pugh felt strongly enough to have the debate. Now your suggesting premeditation and assault. Isn’t it possible that Dennis Pugh went to apologize and feared for his safety when Fotovich reached for something in his pocket and then protected himself? Just because they had an argument why is everyone so quick to assume that he went to Fotovich’s home still in anger. Maybe he did think through the consequences and decided taking the high road was the way to go. Oh but that couldn’t possibly have been an option though could it?

  24. Seriously beeps says:

    Pugh left the meeting a good five minutes BEFORE Fotovich did. So, he SHOULD’ve been home a good five minutes before Fotovich was. Pugh admitted to the GardnerEdge that he tackled Larry and that he couldn’t let Fotovich’s statements stand. Although I see he’s changed his tune. Anyone with a brain half as big as Pugh’s can see that he lawyered up.

  25. @Seriously says:

    Pugh corrected the GardnerEDGE assertion that he said he had “tackled” Fotovich. So which version do you believe, the first statement that used “tackled”, or the second one where he said they met by the light poles and both “scrambled” for the camera? In absence of actual facts, we have only conjecture, rumor, and the spin we want to put on the story based on who we want to believe.

    And for others, suspicious of Fotovich carrying his camcorder. Is it possible that Fotovich had it with him because he had a DIFFERENT occasion for using it, not for any sneaky Council-related reason? We don’t know why he had it because we don’t know all the facts.

    The local NBC station ran an article on its website that liberally quotes both Gardner News’ Danedri Thompson and Fotovich’s side of the story. Fotovich expands quite a bit on the events, saying that Pugh chased him onto his porch, put him in a headlock and threw him to the ground. The KC Star’s article, while not quoting Thompson, uses Fotovich’s account as well.

    Clearly, there’s a LOT we don’t know.

    Arguing for resignations, convicting Pugh of crimes before he’s even charged, accusing Fotovich of staging the confrontation, or whatever else people want to think up, doesn’t help Gardner. We need to chill for a bit and let the facts come out.

  26. @@Seriously says:

    Pugh was quoted, QUOTED(!) in the November 22nd GardnerEdge article saying

    “he (Fotovich) reached into his pocket and was taking something out and I tackled him.”

    So I ask, @Seriously, do you trust Mr. Pugh’s first quote to the GardnerEdge, which appears to corroborate at least part Fotovich’s story, or his clarification received the two days after the fact?

  27. Kelly Morrow says:

    @Kelly Morrow
    Fact #1 – Dennis Pugh threatened Larry Fotovich during a city council meeting with physical violence.
    Fact#2 – Dennis Pugh, on his own accord, was at Larry Fotovich’s house shortly after city council

    Which fact do you dispute?

  28. doesn't matter says:

    um…..quick question….why didn’t Larry just go inside? Seriously put your anger aside for just a minute and visualize what happened. Pugh shows up to Fotovich’s house and they continue to argue right? If they are at his house why didn’t he be the bigger person and turn around and go inside? Could it be that he had the camera in his pocket for reasons for himself, maybe he wants and likes all the conflict that he is stirring up, maybe he is trying to get his “cronies” to make it look like poor poor Larry Fotovich.
    I am not saying what Mr. Pugh did was right in anyway but I am asking the question that noone else asked, why did Larry put himself into a situation that he had control of….turn around and go inside its that easy, if Pugh continued to harass Fotovich then call the cops and let Pugh deal with Gardner’s Finest.
    This WHOLE thing could of been avoided if 1) Fotovich would learn that the world doesn’t revolve around him, lets face it he had a personal agenda when he ran for council, he doesn’t care about whats best for Gardner, he wants to make himself look like a Victim. Once he realizes that and learns to play on the playground well with others things on his end would be fine. 2) if he felt like he was being threatend by Pugh then dont put yourself in harms way unless that is what he wants. 3) if Pugh would of brushed the whole thing off

  29. Scratching my head says:

    When someone accosts you and you’re not expecting it you might not have time to get the front door keys out of your pocket, unlock the door and go inside. Also, if Dennis was worried that Fotovitch was, for whatever reason, randomly packing heat (absurd, I know), perhaps Fotovitch was equally worried that this insane ape would terrorize his family if he were to open the door. I mean, it sounds like Fotovitch remained completely calm both at city hall and up until he was physically attacked – and that Pugh was the aggressor.

    Someone above pointed out that Dennis had to pass by Fotovitch’s house to get home – I would suggest that the best thing to do would have been to keep on driving.

    I’m still left wondering about people who would defend the aggressor – the person who 1. threatened and 2. carried out an attack. I hope that my kids never meet your kids on the playground because obviously you people play by a different set of rules.

  30. Perhaps you should read the article or watch the video from the action news report:


    It appears that Fotovich tried to escape, he admits to running to his front door pete’s sake. It also appears that he only took out the camera when his attacker was between him and his front door.

  31. @@doesn't matter says:

    Note that the NBC Action News story was based on information given them by Danedri Thompson and Larry Fotovich. I’m sure the NBC newspeople didn’t bother to investigate the conflict of interest of having Thompson reporting on ANYTHING involving Gardner government, given the hard feelings she quite obviously still harbors about her father’s experiences while on the Council. Fotovich gave an account of the events that is contrary to those that Pugh gave.

    At the very LEAST, NBC Action News is reporting second-hand news from biased sources. None of that goes to say that the information is false. Fotovich’s story may turn out to be exactly true. Even though he’s a cancer on the Council, in my opinion, his version of the story sounds a lot more credible than Pugh’s.

    But the point is that WE STILL DON’T KNOW!

    People are trying to judge motivations and should-have-done’s without actually knowing the facts. And all that ends up accomplishing is highlighting who we like or dislike, not presenting new insights on the solid facts behind what happened.

  32. Judith Rogers says:

    One thing is for darn sure and that is Mr. Pugh needs some mental health treatment. It is obvious he is not mentally stable by him threatening Mr. Fotovich in an open Council Meeting and then following him home and assaulting him. Normal people DO NOT do this nor those who respect the law. I can only hope Mr. Pugh gets the help he needs, however, in the meantime, he and Drovetta need to be gone from our city government or any government for that matter – they are vindictive, power and control freaks and represent nothing that is good for the citizens in this area – that is my opinion.

  33. “Doesn’t matter” could use a little help also. You can’t justify in any way shape or form Mr. Pugh’s actions. Larry didn’t put himself in any “situation”. He was at his OWN house and can do whatever he chooses about going inside or not.

  34. Judith Rogers says:

    Even the richies in Mission Hills have their problems and conflicts as indicated in this article by Mike Hendricks. Do you think those guys in Mission Hills would be going for an intermodal and truck and warehouse city and being smack dab in the middle of the freight corridor with all of the adverse affects brought to the citizens???? I hardly think so but they certainly have their business interests here to make the big bucks while the average citizen gets the mess and the high cost to maintain these jerks’ lifestyles. That ole time cronyism government always takes care of the takers.


    Mission Hills sees clashes over ‘McMansion issue’

    Ann Alexander of Mission Hills filed a lawsuit that resulted in this home on the city’s northeast side being moved farther back from the curb.

    Glenda Fern Barritt had a gift for getting people to talk Hallbrook, Loch Lloyd and the National have become sought-after addresses since the 1980s and 1990s for the well-to-do. Still, even after a century, Mission Hills remains Kansas City’s poshest suburb, known for its tasteful, elegant estates on tree-lined lanes that exude an air of old money and the social register.

    “An extraordinary city,” the official motto declares. One that, the municipal website says, “comprises 3,500 residents and 2.1 square miles of wooded hills, winding streams, stately homes and magnificent landscaped gardens.”

    That and a bushel full of longstanding animosity, contempt and not-always-repressed spite between two warring factions.

    Their dispute: the size of new houses and home additions.

    “It’s the biggest issue we deal with,” says Courtney Christiansen, city administrator.

    The “McMansion issue,” as it’s known, has been roiling for going on two decades, and now it may be coming to a head.

    “There’s a group that wants to build whatever the hell they want,” says lawyer Ann Alexander, a Mission Hills resident who in 2009 sued a neighbor over lot setbacks, “and there’s a group that wants renovation and vibrancy, but who want to do that in the context of the community.”

    Think of it as the property-rights set versus the Mission Hills traditionalists.

    “What do we want to look like in 50 years?” is how Christiansen sums it up.

    Typically, someone will propose tearing down the house he or she lives in, or recently bought, with an eye toward building something bigger. That is followed by the almost inevitable objection of neighbors, who may condemn the construction as too big, too ugly, too gauche, too something or other that, to them, is “just not Mission Hills.”

    But what is Mission Hills? After failing to define that with regulations and zoning laws, the city last spring hired a Los Angeles planning consultant named David Sargent to define it.

    The hope is that Sargent could help end the squabbling by coming up with a set of design guidelines that would allow for housing upgrades — both teardowns and add-ons — but preserve, as he puts it, “the pastoral, garden character of the community.”

    Sargent’s first draft came out this month, and now some are waiting to see whether the recommendations, when they’re in final form next year, will bring peace and understanding in the extraordinary city.

    Mayor Richard Boeshaar purses his lips a moment as he considers the question.

    “I don’t think anyone is delusional enough to think it will bring peace to this Middle East issue,” he says in comparing it to another seemingly insolvable issue.

    But he’d be happy if both sides could come to an agreement that maintaining the look and feel of Mission Hills is important for everyone concerned.

    • • •

    Many cities around the county have grave concerns about the effects massive foreclosures have on their communities. In Mission Hills, where home appraisals average $1 million, they fret over “massing.”

    That’s the shorthand city officials there use when deciding whether a house is too big or poorly situated on a lot in comparison with other homes on the street. “Puffy houses,” Sargent calls them.

    “Daylight plane” is another term bandied about in Architectural Review Board (ARB) meetings. It refers to the amount of sunlight one’s backyard gets, depending on how enormous the neighbor’s new house is.

    Will the increased shade kill the plants or make it impossible to catch a few rays poolside?

    Such concerns might seem silly to people struggling to get by in other parts of the Kansas City area, Christiansen acknowledges.

    But that is life in Mission Hills, where real estate values have been doing better than holding their own during the national downturn.

    “While nearly every other city in Johnson County has experienced property value declines, our averages continue to appreciate,” residents were informed in a letter from the mayor’s office in 2010.

    That remains true. As of mid-2011, more than 1,000 of the city’s 1,319 homes held their value or had gained some from the previous year, according to the Johnson County appraiser’s office.

    Pick your theory as to why. One holds that folks with a lot of money have weathered the downturn better than the majority, and that’s been good for the housing market in upscale neighborhoods.

    You see it reflected in the continuing teardown craze, where it is not uncommon for someone to flatten a half-million-dollar house and replace it with one that’s worth three times that much or more.

    After all, because Mission Hills was built out long ago, the only way to make room for a modern home with more floor space and amenities is to knock down an old one.

    “Some of the houses that have been torn have been replaced by houses that are just humongous,” says longtime resident Sherry Coughlin.

    They have 10- and 12-foot ceilings, movie theaters, exercise rooms and home offices the size of an ordinary living room.

    • • •

    At least 40 teardowns have occurred in the past decade, and many of the new houses have fit in quite nicely. Take George Brett’s current digs. The baseball great’s 5,500-square-foot Mediterranean is appraised at $3.5 million and considered by many to be a stunner.

    While a nearby house of roughly the same size and value can bring howls from neighbors.

    “People come back later and say, ‘How did this ever get approved?’ ” Boeshaar says.

    People on both sides of the issue say — between the ARB, the planning commission and the board of zoning appeals — the current regulatory system is frustrating.

    Decisions are alternately seen as too rigid or too liberal, depending on the particular case and one’s personal interests.

    “It was a nasty experience,” Coughlin said of the attempt by her daughter Claire and her husband, Jason, to build a new house. They bought a nearly 60-year-old, 3,500-square foot ranch on Seneca Lane that’s appraised for $740,000 with plans to tear it down and replace it with a two-story.

    But after four meetings with the ARB, two site visits and way too many other conversations to count, their plans were rejected because the entryway was higher than the ridgeline of the original house, according to meeting minutes.

    It didn’t make a lot of sense to her, Coughlin said, when the new $3 million house across the street was also taller than neighboring houses, yet was approved without any problem.

    “Diversity is what’s beautiful about our city,” she said.

    Then there’s the flip side.

    Alexander and her neighbors on the city’s northeast side complained about two proposed houses they considered would be too large for their lots, would cause water runoff problems and required the removal of mature trees.

    The ARB approved both of them, even though they weren’t set far back enough from the street as required by the deed restrictions.

    “There were bulldozing homes that had been here for a long time, homes that had already been updated,” Alexander said.

    One went up as planned, but Alexander filed suit against the other homeowner, which led to a settlement that moved the house farther back from the curb, but pleased no one.

    “If you start hacking away at these foundations that make Mission Hills what it is, then you end up like everyone else,” Alexander said.

    • • •

    The one key foundation is green space, says Sargent, the Los Angeles consultant.

    Mission Hills is a desirable place to live, he says, because developer J.C. Nichols designed it so the streets and houses would conform to the terrain, blending into its hills and valleys, rather than scrape the land flat and run streets at right angles like so many suburban developers.

    “The main reason that Mission Hills is so valuable is the way the lots fit together,” he says.

    They’re irregular in the northern half of the city, ranging from a half-acre to as many as 5 acres. No two are alike.

    Meaning a humongous house might well fit in there, whereas it definitely wouldn’t in the southern reaches of the city, where a quarter-acre is the norm.

    For that reason, some of the rules the city has enacted in recent years lead to conflict and misunderstanding, he and others say.

    For instance, there’s a 35-foot limit on building height.

    In the city’s newest subdivisions, built in the 1940s and 1950s, 35 is often too high, Sargent says. While on some of the estate lots, a building taller than 35 feet wouldn’t look out of place.

    “I’m a firm believer in property rights,” Sargent said. “It’s more a question of balance.”

    What Mission Hills needs is not more rules, he says, but a set of guidelines that everyone who wants to build there can be familiar with. He thinks the ones that his firm is coming up with will lead to fewer disputes.

    “Very often peace is the result of understanding,” he said.

    In Mission Hills, there is that hope. But there also is a long history of failed attempts to solve an issue that Mission Hills has and others can only dream about.

    “We are so fortunate to have these problems,” Christiansen says. “We are lucky that this is our issue.”

  35. @Kelly Morrow says:

    Did Peter Solie with the edge ever answer your question about which way Dennis Pugh gave him his intitial account – by phone or e-mail? I saw your post over there.

  36. Dennis Pugh gave him his account by phone or e-mail?

  37. As far as I can tell nobody has answered this question, why I don’t know. Did the Edge get the original story by phone or e-mail? This question was posted by someone on their comments section and I never saw that it was answered.

  38. Well. I think this will all fade away with slight refreshers now and again from a few angry posters as the pages of the calendar fall away. Until the next controversy.

    Signing off……….

  39. Hello Everyone.

    Please read the Gardner news article in the following link.


    This problem is going to continue to be in city council even with Pughs resignation. The one that seems to promote this behavior is the Mayor.
    This came up months ago, also, I have witnessed it personally.

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