March 14, 2002
Developers went ahead with their meeting to discuss plans to rezone the southeast corner of 159th and Metcalf from planned Transition/Residential to heavy commercial. The Rural Comprehensive Plan, Part 5, Blue Valley Plan, 1996 says the following about Transition Areas (these parcels make up 1 of only 3 Transition Areas identified in the Plan). According to Johnson County, this has not changed with the upcoming release of the Plan:
"Generally, the Transition Areas should be regarded as areas that might someday develop for residential uses at urban densities with sanitary sewers. In the interim, the areas might be partially developed with residential uses not served by sanitary sewers, but any such development should be carefully guided to not unreasonably obstruct urban-density residential uses in the future."
These parcels are diagonally across from the planned Wal-Mart, but this proposed development is much larger than Wal-Mart.
The developers gave neighbors within 1,000 feet only 1 to 3 days notice, in spite of having reserved the room on February 6, 5 weeks ago. [A neighbor had to fill out and sign a Kansas Open Records Act form to obtain this information.] The President of Blue Valley Riding suggested the developer schedule a later meeting with enough notice, not over Spring break, and invite other neighborhoods. The Presidents of 7 neighborhood associations in the area have sent a letter to the developer's attorney pointing out the importance of a reasonably scheduled meeting involving at least the nearby neighborhoods. There are over 20 neighborhoods in the immediate area (see sections S17, S08,S07)
The only attendees at this meeting consisted of the developers and four neighbors. The neighbors took notes, videotaped, and took digital photos so that neighbors could be better prepared for the later meeting. The attached photo provides the overall layout of this massive development. The top of the photo is north - 159th Street across from Willowbend. Metcalf is to the left, Blue Valley Riding on the right. At the bottom, an undeveloped lot abuts Blue Valley Riding to the south.
The development consists first of one building with well over 200,000 square feet. This big box store abuts Blue Valley Riding. In addition, 9 other buildings ring the lot, 5 of them across from Willowbend. One should always take into account that these plans are used for selling a concept and may bear very little relationship to what is built. There are only 2 key variables at this stage: re-zoning and total number of square feet.