A shopping center and residential neighborhood are one step closer to being built on the southeast corner of 151st Street and Quivira Road, despite protests from several residents.
At its meeting Monday night, the Overland Park City Council approved the rezoning, deeming the project a suitable fit for the intersection.
The council’s approval, however, is not the official green light. Since the intersection is within a boundary of the Johnson County Executive Airport, which is owned by the county, the project requires a public hearing before the Johnson County Airport Commission and then the Johnson County Commission will hear the request for a final vote.
The city council’s decision was based on the fact that the proposed 79,500-square-foot business district is now significantly smaller than what was originally intended.
Back in August, the developer, Phelps Engineering Inc., was hoping to build an 87,500-square-foot shopping area, but the council wasn’t comfortable with the size. Instead of making a decision at the time, it asked the Planning Commission to take another look at the project first.
In November, after the size had been reduced and other aesthetic changes were introduced, the Planning Commission unanimously approved it, bringing it back to the council Monday for a vote.
Most council members liked what they saw. They were especially pleased that the shopping center was not only smaller, but also had more space for offices.
“It’s not a major neighborhood center, so I don’t think it will have a detrimental impact on storm water or property values,” said Councilman Richard Collins.
Many residents disagreed, however.
Luanne Reeves, who lives near the proposed redevelopment, said she was concerned that the project would only bring even more commercial entities to the area.
She also is also worried about the impact the shopping center will have on traffic, she said.
Bill Brosseau, a longtime resident of the area, was outraged the council would even consider allowing a shopping center to be built there.
He moved to the neighborhood before the area was annexed by Overland Park specifically to get away from the city.
“Don’t let people invest their money and way of life and then drop a shopping center on them,” Brosseau told the council. “If you want to have commercial property every two blocks, at least let residents know ahead of time.”
Councilman Terry Goodman reminded residents that the land in question wouldn’t always remain open space, even if the council had rejected this request.
“Until something is there, it will never be final,” he said. “And even when there is something there, it’s not final. Things change over time.”
In the end, the only councilmember who voted against the project was Donna Owens.
“I cannot support this with a clear conscience,” she said. “I don’t think it’s good for the city as a whole.”