Overland Park & Leawood

Two residential projects move forward in Overland Park

A residential development at 159th Street and Metcalf Avenue that had been on hold since 2008 got new life Monday as the Overland Park Planning Commission gave its blessing to zoning and revised plans.

The commission recommended approval of rezoning for a triangular-shaped lot of land that would allow duplexes on the property rather than the two-story condos the city originally approved eight years ago. The new plan is also slightly less dense, with 43 units in 21 duplexes. The original plan called for 48 units in 12 separate buildings.

The almost 9-acre tract of land is next to the Metcalf Village Shops project, which was also before the commission for minor changes in its preliminary plan. That project, which calls for 270 apartment units and about 366,000 square feet of retail, is already under construction.

Before the recession, a Lowe’s building supplies store had been planned for the area. But the economic setbacks of the following years put the plans on hold. Lowe’s is no longer in the discussion, said Harold Phelps, who represented applicant Blue Rock LLC.

Developers changed from condos to duplexes because the market for condos — hot a few years ago — seemed to have slowed down, Phelps said.

When the plan was originally approved, some residents feared the development would be too dense for the area. The lot is bordered to the east and south by the Blue Valley Riding subdivision of single-family homes on large lots.

This time, two neighbors came to Monday’s meeting to ask questions about drainage and buffering. Roxanne Morse, of Stilwell, said the new plan is better than the previous one, though she still would have preferred a transition area between single family homes and the duplexes. The development still seems too dense, she said.

The commission unanimously recommended approval and the question will go to the full city council Nov. 7.

Commissioners also approved a rezoning at 4401 W. 107th Street that would allow a vacant hotel to be converted to apartments.

The three-story, 138-unit hotel has been occupied by several chains, most recently Americas Best Value Inn , but has been vacant for several years. It sits on 2.35 acres and is surrounded by commercial property in the general area near Roe Avenue and I-435.

Developer 2020 LLC wants to convert the building into 67 one-bedroom apartments and three two-bedroom apartments. Other parts of the building and parking lot would be converted to gathering spaces, outdoor fire pits and grills, and a fenced dog park.

Developers also want to update the exterior architecture, replacing the cream-colored stucco and green pitched roof with gray and white paint and wood and stone accents. That plan also received unanimous approval and will move to the city Nov. 7.

The commission took up three cell-tower matters Monday, none of them related to the controversial new state law allowing towers in city right-of-ways with few restrictions. Permits for two of the towers were renewed, and approval was given for a new 150-foot tower near the northeast corner of 107th Street and Nall Avenue. None of them were on city right-of-ways.

The new AT&T tower is intended to replace antennas the company had at an office building at 5454 W. 110th St. that is being demolished for redevelopment. It will have the capacity to hold AT&T’s equipment plus antennas for two other carriers. The base will have an enclosure for equipment done in stone to match a nearby structure and with landscaping to screen it.

The planning commission recommended approval 7-4 after first voting down a motion to deny it. The matter will come before the council Nov. 7.