Overland Park & Leawood

Overland Park Planning Commission OKs new proposal for U.S. 69 and College Boulevard

Updated: 2014-01-15T20:48:46Z

By LINDA CRUSE

Special to The Star

A modified proposal for a $350 million development won approval from the Overland Park Planning Commission on Tuesday.

The commission unanimously voted to recommend rezoning for City Place, a multi-use development of shops, apartments and offices planned on the south side of College Boulevard between Nieman Road and U.S. 69.

The commission also voted 8-0 to recommend approval of a special use permit for a 140-unit senior living facility on the site.

The City Council will consider the commission’s recommendations on Feb. 3.

A rezoning request for 44 acres on the north side of College Boulevard at the southwest corner of Interstate 435 and U.S. 69 was continued until Feb. 10 at the developer’s request. A total of 335 apartments are proposed on that portion of the property.

BK Properties LLC, led by Ken Block of Block Real Estate Services LLC, submitted a preliminary development plan for the 93 acre site. Originally slated for a project called the Galleria, the land is currently used for pasture and crops.

Developers revised the plan following concerns from commissioners, city staff and residents at a Nov. 25 public hearing. The hearing was continued until Tuesday’s special meeting.

Commissioners objected to the height and proximity of four-story apartment buildings on a parcel close to homes in Blue Valley Estates and College Park Estates. The modified plan increases the distance from 60 to 100 feet and apartment buildings were reduced to three stories. More green space and parking structures were added.

“They have collaborated with us to address our concerns,” said Jack Messer, Overland Park’s director of planning. “The process involves balancing concerns for both sides and I believe a balance has been achieved.”

Commissioners said they were pleased with the revisions, particularly the addition of structured parking and plan modifications designed to reduce the project’s impact on nearby homes.

“I was not excited about the initial plan but I like this,” said commission chairman Michael Flanagan. “The office parking has been divided up and I think they have done as much as they can with building elevations, berms and trees to make it residentially friendly.”

Commissioner Ned Reitzes agreed. “This has the makings of an excellent project,” he said. “The project will be an asset for the city of Overland Park in a highly visible location.”

Four residents expressed concerns about how the project might affect streamway conservation, as well as apartment placement. “The buildings are too crowded together and too close to our homes,” said Pamela Luckey. She said the apartments would pose a potential fire hazard for nearby residences.

Resident Eric Peterson wondered how long the project would take and whether the project could be stalled mid-way through completion. “I remember what happened in 2008,” he said.

The revised plan calls for four office buildings with 600,000 square feet of office space, 1,522 living units and 39,000 square feet of retail space.

The modified plan also changes the proposed route of Switzer Road. The change allows for a wider streamway park channel, which will be moved and improved. Developers have applied to deviate from the city’s streamway management policy to improve the channel. Staff said the planned improvement will meet or exceed the city ordinances.

Block said work on City Place could begin as soon as this summer. The project will be built in phases over eight years. He said the market will determine whether work begins on apartments or retail sections.

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