The Leawood City Council decided Monday evening to impose a 90-day moratorium on development planning along its portion of the 135th Street corridor, so it can more carefully study options for the roadway.
The move worried developers and the lawyers who represent their interests. They said the moratorium could delay important projects, like building a new the Hy-Vee grocery store at 135th Street and Roe Boulevard.
“We do feel targeted,” said Curtis Holland, an attorney representing Hy-Vee. “Maybe that’s not the intent. But we feel targeted.”
Council members said that wasn’t their intention. Instead, they want to carefully consider a range of development options for the growing corridor. Monday, the council accepted a study by Denver-based Design Workshop that envisions mixed uses for the corridor.
“I do hope you use all that fear energy to get ahead of the eight ball,” councilwoman Debra Filla told Holland.
The moratorium includes rezonings, site plans, plats and special use permits. By late July the city hopes to finish a comprehensive plan that can then be applied to developer requests.
The council also put improvements to the clubhouse at Ironwoods Golf Course on hold, citing ballooning costs.
Leawood City Administrator Scott Lambers said the original estimate for the improvements came to roughly $820,000. But the design team wanted to add 800 square feet, pushing the price closer to $1.1 million.
The estimate later grew to $1.3 million. Now that all the design work is in, Lambers said, the projected cost has hit nearly $1.72 million; with a $100,000 contingency fund, that brings the final estimated cost to $1.8 million — more than double the original estimate.
Council members said the changing estimates were a concern.
“How do we make sure we don’t end up in this spot again?” asked Councilman Andrew Osman.
Planners from NSPJ Architects, the design firm, blamed the escalation on changing requirements. “We had only general drawings from the city, but they were lacking some specifics,” one designer told the council.
The council decided to wait before approving the project.
After that relatively tense discussion, the city’s new dog park provided some levity.
City staff has already begun work on the park, but on Monday evening administrators delved into specifics. A watering station for the dogs will be part of the project, but a crushed limestone path will not.
Some of the council members have small dogs, and they helped convince their colleagues that the new park needs a section set aside for smaller pooches only.
Councilwoman Julie Cain suggested a name for the dog park: “Leawoof.”
Mayor Peggy Dunn chuckled before suggesting the name seemed unlikely.