The controversial redevelopment plan for offices, retail and apartments at the Brookridge Golf and Fitness Club is headed for court because of the Overland Park City Council’s recent denial of the project plan.
Overland Park Development Company I, LLC, the owner of the property, has filed suit in Johnson County District Court asking for a reversal of the council’s decision and damages in excess of $75,000.
The suit claims the denial of the development plan for the area between 103rd Street and Interstate 435, mostly east of Antioch Road, was unlawful because the plan met all the legal requirements of the city’s Comprehensive Plan and would not be a detriment to the neighborhood or threaten public health. Those benchmarks and others are considered to be the legal test for whether a city can rightfully deny a development plan.
The Overland Park City Council voted 10-1 on March 14 to deny the plan, despite recommendations for approval from the City Planning Commission. The council also voted to waive the six-month waiting period and additional fee for developer Chris Curtin to file a new plan. Curtin has since filed a revised plan.
The city council went into executive session Monday to discuss the lawsuit. When members returned, they voted to put discussion of any further development plans for the area on hold until the lawsuit is resolved. There was no other response to the lawsuit, said city spokesman Sean Reilly.
The lawsuit was filed mainly because Kansas law requires it to be done within 30 days of the city council decision, said attorney John Petersen, representing the developer.
“It’s almost like checking a procedural box,” he said. “Nobody’s interested in litigating. We’re interested in getting a plan approved.”
Petersen said he plans to sit down soon with the city’s attorney to figure out a path forward with the moratorium in place.
“I’m very hopeful. Overland Park is a very, very reasonable city,” he said. “I’m confident we will find a process for a second action to be heard on its merits.”
The previous plan presented by Curtin was met with steady opposition from neighbors, who had filed a protest petition. The neighbors said the 5 million-square-foot mixed-use project for an upscale urban village would have been too dense for the area, increasing traffic and lowering property values. There was also concern about storm water runoff.
The Curtin Property Co. bought the land in September 2014, and Curtin has made numerous changes to reduce the scale and satisfy neighbors. The plan rejected by the council called for 2,000 residential units, 1.95 million square feet of office space, retail, a movie theater, a 3,500-seat performance venue and a 550-room hotel.
The council’s decision to reject the plan was tied up in the legal requirements that come into play when protest petitions are filed. Because of the petition, and because two council members recused themselves for conflict of interest, the plan needed a supermajority of 10 of 11 votes to be approved. Not all council members were opposed to the plan, but they still voted to deny it so it wouldn’t have to be sent back to the Planning Commission for a fifth time.