After months of negotiations, threats and setbacks, the Prairie Village City Council has approved the development of the former Meadowbrook Golf and Country Club.
At its Monday meeting, the council voted unanimously to rezone 45 acres of the property bordered by 91st and 95th streets and Nall and Roe avenues and sign off on developer Van Trust Real Estate’s plan to build a senior living center and a mix of single-family lots, luxury apartments, twin-home units and a boutique hotel. The city plans to buy the remaining 83 acres of the former golf course for a public park.
The council voted 10-2 Monday to approve a preliminary master plan for the park, which now goes to the park district’s board for a decision on Dec. 16.
During their discussion Monday, council members debated the necessity of a 32-space parking lot currently planned in the park’s northeast corner near the Roe Avenue entrance.
Council members Eric Mikkelson and Jori Nelson voted against the plan, saying they didn’t believe the parking lot was needed now and should be phased in later. But Kelly VanElders, a landscape architect with Landworks Studio, which is working with the district on the park, said the parking lot was needed so parents could safely drop off their children to use a nearby planned playground and playing fields.
Approval came after officials with the city and VanTrust worked out a compromise with residents of the Kenilworth Homes Association, which opposed plans to build an entrance to the development at Roe Avenue and 91st Street. The neighbors argued it would turn 91st Street into a cut-through route, making the intersection more dangerous and said they would refuse to sell association-owned property needed for the entrance.
The city’s Planning Commission last month recommended approval of the development plan without an entrance on Roe Avenue. But several other governmental entities and property owners objected, saying that decision would place too much burden on the remaining entrances at Nall Avenue and 92nd Terrace to the west and Rosewood Drive and 94th Terrace to the south.
Ultimately, the city on Monday required an entrance on Roe Avenue but said it would be built north of the 91st Street intersection on land owned by VanTrust — an arrangement the neighbors said was acceptable.
“We are trying to be agents of success in this with you,” said Jason McClusky, who lives on 91st Street. “We want to go forward with the project.”
Richard Muller, executive vice president with VanTrust, said he was thrilled to finally get the project past this point.
“There are other hurdles to clear but this is a massive one,” Muller said after the meeting.
The Meadowbrook project was initially proposed at the beginning of the year, but its complexity and the use of tax increment financing, known as TIF, required extensive negotiations and redesign. TIF allows a city to obligate future property tax increases for a piece of land to cover redevelopment costs.
At one point this summer, the Shawnee Mission School District considered vetoing the TIF financing because it will lose out on those taxes.
VanTrust and the city still must hammer out an agreement later this month for $21 million in tax increment financing to cover the cost of buying the park land.
The city is also working with the Johnson County Park and Recreation District to eventually develop and operate the Meadowbrook Park.
Council members also voted unanimously to approve a new transient guest tax.
There currently are no hotels or motels in Prairie Village, but the boutique inn planned for the Meadowbrook development could generate an estimated $100,000 a year in taxes. The money would be used to help pay off the park land.
To avoid applying the tax to people who rent out rooms or whole homes on a short-term basis, the council limited the tax to businesses renting out six or more bedrooms.
David Twiddy: email@example.com