Plans to build a senior living complex on the site of the former Mission Valley Middle School in Prairie Village has taken a significant step forward.
The city’s Planning Commission voted 5-1 Wednesday to approve a special use permit for the development known as Mission Chateau at 8500 Mission Road. It now goes to the Prairie Village City Council for final approval on Aug. 17.
The Tutera Group/MVS LLP plans a 286,000-square-foot development with 160 independent living apartments and 88 assisted living apartments located in a large building in the center of the property surrounded by 11 duplex villas designed to shield the central building and better blend in with the surrounding single-family neighborhood.
It replaces a plan approved last year by the city that included a 97,550-square-foot facility with 84 skilled nursing beds and 36 memory care beds. Forty-eight residents, many members of the Mission Valley Neighbors Association, challenged that plan in court, saying it was out of character for the neighborhood and would generate too much employee traffic.
The case is technically still under review by the Kansas Court of Appeals. But that was put on hold after Tutera and the neighbors negotiated a settlement agreement this spring that forms the basis of the new Mission Chateau plan. It eliminated the skilled nursing facility and uses less of the 18.4-acre site.
“We’re really proud of the plan we came up with,” Richard Jones, the project’s principal architect, told planning commissioners.
A number of residents attended the hearing but didn’t speak. Part of the settlement agreement included a covenant that the residents would not object to the new plan.
Planning Commissioner James Breneman was the lone “no” vote on the special use permit. He said he was concerned that security gates designed to block off the two entrances to the complex at night could create traffic problems on Mission Drive. He also disagreed with a provision negotiated by the neighbors that bans any skilled nursing services from being provided on the property.
“I think it’s very shortsighted,” Breneman said.
Besides the special use permit, commissioners voted unanimously to approve a site plan for the project.
On that plan, they added a provision that if the security gates created traffic congestion on Mission Road the property owner would have to work with the Prairie Village Police Department to find a solution.
The commission also voted to continue discussion on approving the site’s preliminary plat until after the City Council passes the special use permit in case there are more changes.