March 16, 2002
The Johnson County, KS, AIMS website continues to add features that make it more useful to the citizens of Johnson County. Two of the most notable are color aerial photographs and a new length measurement tool. With these tools one quickly finds:
- Streams on the land of 3 proposed developments along Metcalf in South Overland Park/Stilwell run from over 600 feet to over 1200 feet in length;
- Clear, color pictures show the tree lines along these streams;
- Photos offer glaring proof that the developments are being dropped right in among homes on all sides.
Measurement Tool and the Clean Water Act
If a neighborhood wants to get an idea of whether water on a property being proposed for development is an issue, one key variable in the Clean Water Act is the length of any water features that are "Jurisdictional Waters of the US". For instance, a stream on the Wal-Mart property at 159th and Metcalf has been ruled to be in that category by the Corps of Engineers.
One question about such a stream is whether or not it is over 300 feet. With the new measuring tool in AIMS, it is quite easy to zoom to the Wal-Mart property, display the water features on the property, and measure the length. To measure the length, one simply first clicks on the button called "measure", then traces along the stream - represented by a blue dotted line - clicking at each turn. In this case, the measure of the stream length is between 800 and 900 feet.
Developers have proposed re-zoning parcels on the SE corner of Metcalf and 159th from residential use to intensive commercial. In this case, the parcel has a pond and a stream. The stream is easily measured to be over 1,200 feet.
Developers also have plans for lots east of Metcalf near 145th Street. The stream on this property runs for over 600 feet. In all of the above cases, the Little Blue River is downstream.
Tree Lines, Homes, and Schools
If one zooms out a bit and turns on the color aerial photograph, the trees along the streams clearly show up on the SE and NE (Wal-Mart) of 159th and Metcalf, as do the elementary and high schools less than 1/2 mile down the road (use the measuring tool). It is also clear that these proposed developments are being dropped right into the middle of residential areas. Homes in the neighborhoods of Wynnefield, Willow Bend, Blue Valley Riding, Creekside, Brampton Place (now in construction), Steck Plantation, and Sylvan Lake all show up.
If you would like to see these neighborhood boundaries, just click on "Subdivisions" under "Other Layers" on the left on the map, then click on "redraw". The "ID Feature" tool on the right of the map will let you get the names and other info on the individual neighborhoods. Green Meadows, Creekside North, Brittany Park, Blue Valley Hills, and other neighborhoods are just outside the picture.
[Technical note: the stream on the Wal-Mart property, when it reaches Metcalf, follows a channel beside Metcalf and is not underneath the middle of Metcalf. Such slight discrepancies when overlaying photos and parcels are not uncommon.]
As always, one can also turn on the contour lines, both index (10 foot intervals) and intermediate (2 foot intervals), and see the streams following down the contours. This will come to have much significance on the SE corner if gravity sewers (ones that go down the contour lines, rather than using pumps) are brought in for the new commercial development - severe disruption will be caused throughout Blue Valley Riding.
So, in summary, thank you Johnson County AIMS department for continuing to add useful tools for Johnson County citizens to use as they work with government to manage development more wisely.