Developer Joe Tutera gave the public its first look at the new site plan for Mission Chateau at a meeting this week. And in turn, the crowd of about 50 gave him an earful about the Tutera Group’s plans to build a senior living community on the site of the former Mission Valley Middle School.
“What part of your plan has community input?” resident Jori Nelson asked him at the meeting Tuesday night in the Shawnee Mission East High School cafeteria.
“There’s been eight meetings,” replied Tutera.
“But you haven’t changed anything. What part of your plan shows community input?” repeated Nelson.
“What I heard from this group initially was we want villas. Then, we want more villas. Then the concern was it was rental,” said Tutera. “Then, we want owner-occupied housing. So, a third of the site is now R-1A single-owner occupied homes and the other (change) is a reconfiguration of the square footage.”
In September, the City Council voted 7-6 to approve Tutera’s previous special use permit application, which called for a 358,040-square-foot project with 327 units. But the application was denied because the adjacent property owners filed a successful protest petition, the first in the city’s history. That meant the project needed a super-majority of 10 votes to win approval. MVS LLC, the entity Tutera created for the development, has filed a lawsuit to appeal that decision.
The new plan, submitted to the city on Oct. 4, calls for the 18.4 acre site at 8500 Mission Road to be platted into two parcels: the 12.8 acre parcel that is included in the special use permit application and a 5.6 acre piece of land that will be divided into nine single-family residential lots. The residential lots are on the south and west side of the property, where the previous plan had 17 duplexes called villas. A separate application will be filed for the nine lots.
“We could have put 51 10,000-square-foot houses on the property and that would be permitted. What we’ve done on this deal is to keep it in context with the scale (of the neighborhood). There’s eight houses around the perimeter of the property. We’ve put in nine,” said Tutera.
The development, which Tutera estimated would take 24 to 30 months to construct, consists of 136 units of independent living and 54 units of assisted living in a 228,340-square-foot building, as well as 36 units of memory care and 84 skilled nursing units in a 97,500-square-foot building. Mission Chateau, when completed, would have 310 units in 325,840 square feet of buildings.
There are also two drives that connect to Mission Road in the new plan. The first is a circle drive that runs among all of the buildings in the senior living community. The second, a planned 50-foot-wide road with a median, would be an extension of 85th Street and would end in a cul de sac along the last of the nine buildable lots.
Even as neighbors — many with the Mission Valley Neighbors Association, which led the opposition to Mission Chateau — expressed concerns at Tuesday’s meeting about parking, the main point of contention continued to be the size of the project. On the two parcels together, the single-family homes and residential community have a collective estimated footprint of 352,040 square feet — only 6,000 square less than the original proposal.
“With nine houses at 3,000 square feet each. We’re looking at the same density on the lot,” said Deborah Kerr. “Do the math.”
While common ground was in short supply, the neighborhood meeting did spark two potential follow-ups to address questions about the site’s dimensions and green space.
“Let’s have somebody in the city and your team verify that the statistics are correct or incorrect. Otherwise they’ll just float in the air,” said Bob Schubert, president of the Corinth Meadows Home Association
“You set it up and I’ll be there at your leisure,” said Tutera. “We can disagree about the facts, but let’s all confirm about what they are.”
After Tutera stated that the new plan increases the green space on the property from 9.8 to approximately 10.3 acres, including lawns and landscaping on the buildable lots, a meeting attendee asked if a representative of his organization would be able to conduct a tour of the site. Tutera agreed to set up a time when people could walk the property. The fields on the property were used by several area athletic teams over summer, but they’re now closed to the public because of liability concerns.
As students from Shawnee Mission East cleared the chairs following the 90-minute meeting, many people were frustrated by the new version of the site plan.
“There’s nothing different about this,” said Michael Grossman. “That’s what’s so disappointing.”
“We want a retirement center. We’re fine with a retirement center,” added Brenda Satterlee, treasurer for the MVNA. “Ninety-nine percent of what we’re saying is about the density of the project.”
Tutera, for his part, pledged to move forward with Mission Chateau.
“I like the feedback. I like the dialogue,” said Tutera. “I’ve clearly worked hard to make this compatible with the neighborhood.”