The Overland Park City Council agreed with residents on Monday night and sent developers of a proposed $20 million senior living facility back to the drawing board to reduce the size of their project.
By LINDA CRUSE
Special to The Star
The council voted 11-1 on Monday to send the developer’s request for a special use permit back to the Planning Commission. Opposed was Councilman John Skubal.
The Planning Commission voted 9-1 last month to recommend approval of the special use permit for the 130-bed skilled nursing/assisted living facility. The city’s Site Review Committee and city staff also had approved the preliminary plan.
However, residents of The Clearing subdivision living adjacent to the proposal said the 88,850-square-foot facility proposed at 7600 Antioch Road was too large and would disrupt the character of the neighborhood.
The council concurred with residents, saying developers needed to remove the third story of portions of the building and reduce the project’s density. As proposed, the building ranges in height from one to three stories.
Downsizing puts the project in jeopardy, said Curt Petersen, an attorney with Posenelli Law Firm, representing the developers. He said 130 beds were necessary to make the project economically viable. Developers had been unsuccessful in creating a plan limited to two stories, he added.
“To receive the rate of return necessary to get lenders and investors, developers must have 130 units on the site,” he said.
Councilman David White said the project did not fit into the neighborhood. “You’re putting 50 pounds in a five-pound sack,” he said. “It needs to go back to the Planning Commission with direction to reduce its size and mass. If these gentlemen walk away, there will be other developers interested in the site.”
Councilman Dan Stock, however, urged developers to continue revising the project. “I don’t want to vote against a $20 million investment in northern Overland Park,” he said.
Mainstreet, an Indiana-based real estate investment firm, has proposed construction of the facility on a four-acre site currently home to a Nazarene church and ball fields. The site is south of an existing shopping center at 75th Street and Antioch Road.
Described as a “next generation facility,” the building would feature amenities such private rooms and restaurant-style dining for short-stay skilled nursing and assisted living residents. A staff of 55 would be employed at the site.
Residents of The Clearing, a subdivision adjacent to the site, presented a protest petition in opposition to the project; however, due to errors with signatures and notarization it was found to be invalid.
Developers revised their initial plan following discussions with nearby residents. The building’s height was lowered to one and two stories closest to residents and a three-story section was moved away from existing homes toward 75th Street and Antioch Road. Also, living accommodations in the three-story section would not face homes in the subdivision.
Residents said the facility was still too large. “I don’t think most of us object to the project,” said resident Mike Everhart. “We object to its size, height and density. It’s totally unacceptable.”
The next Planning Commission meeting is Feb. 10. Keith Gooch, a city planner, said it was up to developers whether they would revise the plan. “Typically developers try to revise their plan to be in accordance with what is recommended, but I’m not sure whether developers can do that in this case,” he said.