Senior center wins planners’ OK

12/10/2013 3:08 PM

12/10/2013 3:08 PM

Despite vehement opposition from nearby residents, the Overland Park Planning Commission voted 9-1 on Monday to recommend approval of a special use permit for a proposed $15 million senior living center at 7600 Antioch Road.

Mainstreet, an Indiana-based real estate investment firm, has proposed construction of a 130-bed skilled nursing/assisted living facility on a four-acre site currently home to a Nazarene church and ballfields. The site is south of an existing shopping center at 75th Street and Antioch Road.

Described as a “next generation facility,” the building will feature amenities such private rooms and restaurant-style dining for short-stay skilled nursing and assisted-living residents. A staff of 55 will be employed at the site.

Residents of The Clearing, a subdivision adjacent to the site, presented a petition in opposition to the project signed by more than 50 residents. In addition, four residents spoke against the project Monday, saying it was too large and dense and would negatively affect home values.

Voting against recommending approval was Commissioner Robert Gadd, who said he favored retaining the site’s current residential zoning. The Overland Park City Council will consider commission’s recommendation on Jan. 6.

Commissioners who voted in favor of the special use permit said developers had addressed concerns of both city staff and neighbors.

“The site plan review committee voted 3-0 in favor of approval,” said Commissioner Steve Troester. “The developer’s initial plan had some insensitivity but they have done a fair amount of work to reduce the scale of the project.”

Commissioner David M. Hill cited the transitional nature of the property as one of his reasons for recommending approval. “Also, the developer has made significant changes to the initial plan that are a significant improvement,” he said.

Commissioner John Brake said Overland Park “needs facilities of this type. This is probably as an appropriate a place as we can find and they’ve made an effort to fit in.”

Developers revised the 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 will not face homes in the subdivision.

David Lewis, a 17-year resident of The Clearing, said the facility was too large, would disrupt the character of the neighborhood and would negatively affect home values. He said there was no need for the facility because there are several skilled nursing/assisted-living facilities nearby.

Mike Everhart, also a resident of The Clearing, described the project as a monstrosity.

“I’m angry it got to this point,” he said. He objected to the building’s three-story height and voiced concerns regarding light and noise position caused by the development.

Linda Neville, another resident of The Clearing, cited concerns regarding traffic, emergency access and stormwater issues generated by the facility.

Phil Rude, another resident, said the facility would have a negative impact on property values and would destroy the area’s quality of life.

Curt Petersen, an attorney with Posenelli Law Firm, representing the developers, said the building’s height would be similar to the existing church and the building would be farther away from residents. He said the facility would not generate significant traffic, no lights would be directed into the neighborhood and stormwater in the area would be improved through a new retention system.

Petersen said the center needed 130 beds to make the project viable. The project’s size could not be reduced due to factors such as the property’s purchase price, staffing and operational expenses, he said.

Mainstreet is building a 100-bed skilled nursing/assisted living facility on eight acres north of Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

Douglas Pedersen, director of development at Mainstreet Property Group, said a market analysis involving hospital discharges and demographics indicated that Overland Park “has a great need for skilled nursing/assisted-living facilities.”

He said Mainstreet has opened 10 facilities in the past three years. “They tend to stabilize and improve property values,” he said. “We take great pride in the quality of our developments.”

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