Leawood is taking a hard look at empty space this year.
By JENNIFER BHARGAVA
Special to The Star
The city is establishing a 20-year vision for its last large remaining undeveloped area, which is on 135th Street from Nall Avenue to State Line Road. With the 135th Street Corridor Plan, the city is looking at what kind of development should be allowed on the land, which is mostly privately owned.
“This area is the future growth of Leawood,” said Richard Coleman, director of community development for the city. “When this land is developed, there’s no more. So, we’re trying to create a sustainable environment there for the long-term.”
Should the property owners long to develop their land in the next 20 years, or sell it to developers, the city wants to make sure the development in that area fits with the times.
Twenty years ago, the area was designated suitable for single-family homes, office and retail, Coleman said. But now, especially in the midst of recent successes like Mission Farms and Park Place, the city sees the area more suitable for multi-family housing and mixed-use development.
To create the plan, the city hired the firm Design Workshop, based in Denver, to act as consultants on the project.
Public input also is going to be an important part of the process, Coleman said.
The city will hold several public meetings, including one Thursday, and there is an online survey where residents can express their opinions.
“We want people to get involved because they might have ideas or concerns that we haven’t even considered,” Coleman said. “We want to take their input and mold it into a plan that works for everyone.”
The project, which will conclude in November, will focus on aspects such as land use, zoning, parks and open space, and transportation improvements, including biking and pedestrian enhancements.
The city also plans to meet with schools, libraries and the county to discuss public space.
“This is a lot of hard work in a short amount of time, but we’re very excited and optimistic,” said Coleman. “Our goal is that our vision is realized over the next 20 years.”