March 12, 2002
A developer, represented by Andy Schlagel, who also handled Wal-Mart at 159th and Metcalf, taped notices to mailboxes of neighbors who live near the southeast corner of 159th and Metcalf in Overland Park, KS, suggesting a meeting to discuss development. The flyer most people received made no mention of the fact that this was a developer-sponsored meeting and some people were confused into thinking it was sponsored by the neighborhood.
Only those within 1000 feet of the property in Blue Valley Riding were notified (when a legal notification of re-zoning is sent, which this was not, a 1000 foot buffer is the minimum required, since those residents can sign a legal protest petition.) This map shows a 1000 foot buffer around the eastern most parcel of the 3 parcels being considered. Those neighbors within 1000 feet immediately notified others so the neighborhood could respond effectively.
In fact, the developer wishes to rezone property next to Blue Valley Riding and Willowbend neighborhoods to become commercial. The Master Plan currently has it designated as residential. The developer did not notify Willowbend of his intentions at the same time he notified Blue Valley Riding. There are over 20 other neighborhoods within a mile who also were not notified.
Blue Valley Riding responded immediately. The neighborhood phone tree was used to alert residents who the author of the letter was and to point out that some individuals were invited to personal one-on-one meetings, while most were not.
The President of the Neighborhood Association, Gayle Schloemer, wrote the attorney involved suggesting that it was inappropriate to schedule a neighborhood meeting with a couple of days notice on the first night of Spring Break. See the attached letter for more details.
The day after the President informed the developer Blue Valley Riding opposed the meeting, the developer taped his notice on Willowbend mailboxes, again not identifying himself and again confusing some residents. So these residents had but one day's notice.
We were impressed that the developer could reserve a meeting room on such short notice. We have found one needs to schedule public meeting rooms weeks in advance. One presumes this was not the case here, because otherwise the developer would surely have given much more notice about a topic so important to residents with whom he wished to work.
For a current example of another developer approaching residents on another re-zoning at 148th and Metcalf, read this article. It gives more detail on the kinds of tactics employed by developers as they attempt to re-zone land, usually to the adjoining neighbors' detriment.