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Residents Sending Objections To SE 159th/Metcalf Project
New Address For All Officials Eases Emailing

April 18, 2002

Residents of Johnson County who object to the rezoning of a 31 acre tract of land (3 large adjacent lots) on the SE corner of 159th/Metcalf in Johnson County, KS from "Rural" to PRB-3 are writing letters to the Johnson County Commissioners and Planning Department.

PRB-3, Planned Urban Neighborhood Retail, is the most intense retail zoning in Johnson County. In this case the plans show buildings suitable for stores like a SuperTarget, a Kohls, and many other smaller stores. This violates the Master Plan created by the County and Overland Park.

An email address has been established:

that will automatically go to all five County Commissioners (they make the final decision) and the Planning Department (they provide material to the Oxford Township Zoning Board, which in turn makes a recommendation to the County Commissioners).

In addition, a copy will go to Bob Phillips, who is working with a group opposing this change. The group will ensure that letters are being placed in the Planning File and not mysteriously being removed later (letters in opposition to Wal-Mart were found to be missing from Overland Park files, but letters in support were not).

Write Your Letter Now

If you oppose this development, you should immediately contact the County Commissioners and Planners either by sending an email to or by contacting them individually.

Opinions are being formed now. The Oxford Township Zoning Board is scheduled to meet on May 16 to consider this proposal. Indicate that you want your letter included in the permanent record and that you are writing about the rezoning of the South East corner of Metcalf and 159th Street. This will ensure the Zoning Board is provided your letter by the Planning Department. It is best to give your name and address.

Master Plan Says This Should Be Residential

The tract is designated on Master Plans created by the County and Overland Park together as Transition Residential. Transition Residential excludes commercial. It allows a transition in lot sizes from the rural densities of the abutting Blue Valley Riding neighborhood to the urban densities of neighborhoods like Willowbend, which is just across the street.

This rezoning and preliminary plan for 293,000 square feet of stores (for comparison, the Wal-Mart SuperStore is just under 200,000) would allow a big box store such as a SuperTarget, along with a second box store like a Kohl's, along with many other stores. These would be diagonally across from the proposed Wal-Mart at 159th and Metcalf. So traffic and neighborhood cut throughs will become even more horrendous than they are now or after Wal-Mart goes in. Wal-Mart is expected to add about 10,000 trips a day. This major shopping center could add another 15,000.

A short email simply saying you are opposed is good and is much better than no email. Officials take note of how many people write.

Sample Email

The following is a letter emailed by Bob (it is lengthy, a short email is equally good, if not better):

Regarding: Application Nos. OX-PRB3-2284 Rezoning and OX-PDP-2285, Preliminary Development Plan for a Retail Shopping Center

Dear Johnson County Commissioners and Johnson County Planning Department,

I am writing in opposition to the proposed re-zoning and preliminary development plan for the South East corner of 159th and Metcalf. I would like this letter to be placed in the permanent record for Application Nos. OX-PRB3-2284 Rezoning and OX-PDP-2285, Preliminary Development Plan for a Retail Shopping Center.

The developer wants to convert to the most intense retail commercial (PRB-3) zoning a 31 acre tract which both Overland Park and Johnson County have designated in the Blue Valley Plan for transitional residential development. Transitional residential development is defined by the plan as allowing a transition from the abutting large lot development (Blue Valley Riding neighborhood) to possibly urban density size lots such as those across the street in the Willowbend neighborhood.

I am going to focus first on how the County and the residents in the area have worked successfully together to manage development in the surrounding area. I will follow by a brief discussion of trends. Then I will provide substantial detail about the nature of surrounding property. This is based on AIMS on-line property descriptions and County and City Planning maps.


The discussion at the end of this email will include all property directly abutting (or across the street from) the subject property and covers all the corners of the property including the intersection of 159th and Metcalf, where this property lies. However, these details do not address a major point: the way the County and the residents have worked successfully together to manage development south of 159th Street near Metcalf.

Blue Valley Park lies across the street to the west and south west of the subject property. It is now largely developed with a few remaining parcels to go, including two PRB-3 properties with over 30 restrictions imposed by County Commissioner to avoid intense, incompatible development with the rest of the business park. Although not every decision was favored by the neighborhoods, the result has been a relatively quiet development including the church, an art center, a vetinarian, a couple of dance studios, and low office buildings. The most controversial development was an autobody paint shop that was allowed in near the back of the development (a second one had been grandfathered in). All of these are small buildings with average size of 11,000 square feet. A Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership tried to move in, but withdrew its application when the residents and the Planning Department pointed out it was not compatible with the business park.

This demonstrates that the County and its residents can work together to manage development, that the residents support the managed development of commercial property.


I and my neighbors believe that the County and Overland Park did the right thing when they created the Blue Valley Plan and designated the subject property for transitional residential development (allowing smaller lots than the adjacent large lot development of Blue Valley Riding). Although I will not address in detail the trends upon which these decisions were made, the trends continue as predicted in the plan. An increasing population that needs places to live is one such trend that was recognized and accomodated. Almost all of the residential property in the area has been developed or is under development already and it has been necessary to increase the density of housing in some cases to accomodate the rapidly expanding population. On the other hand, commercial property already developed in the surrounding area lies empty in many cases and land designated for commercial is undeveloped.

Under these circumstances there is no need what so ever to convert needed residential property to unneeded commercial property, particularly when the County and City have already designated much undeveloped land for later commercial development. The County's Blue Valley Plan already specifies where Neighborhood Commercial Centers should be located and this SE corner of 159th & Metcalf not indicated.

The remainder of this discussion focuses on just what type of property lies near the subject property and shows there is nothing like the proposed re-zoning. Whether you measure by developed or undeveloped acreage, zoned or planned, property boundary length, or adjacent acreage, you get the same result: this property would be out of place and there is no justification for converting much needed residential land to unneeded commercial land.


Here is the simplest way to look at it: what type of land abuts or is across the street from the property to the north, east, south, and west:

  • North:

    Developed: residential (Willowbend Phase 3 and Phase 4)
    Undeveloped: a 15.7 acre tract consisting of light retail (CP-1, 14.8 acres), medium retail (CP-2, .7 (seven tenths) acres), intense retail (CP-3, .2 (two tenths) acres).

  • East:

    Residential only, completely developed as large lot (Blue Valley Riding)

  • South:

    Planned residential, undeveloped, with further large lot developed residential south of that (Blue Valley Riding).

  • West:

    A variety of small lots:

    • Developed: Firestation, Blue Valley Art Center
    • Undeveloped: 2 lots PRB-2, 2 lots PRB-3 (total approximate acreage of 4 acres) with 31 restrictions added by the County Commissioners to avoid intense development.

To give a simple statistical measure of abutting property, the perimeter of the subject property is 5146 feet of which:

  1. 60% is planned residential or developed residential
  2. 12% is medium commercial (CP-2 or PRB-2)
  3. 11% is firestation
  4. 8% is PRB-3 with over 30 restrictions imposed by the County Commissioners to prevent intense development
  5. 7% is light commercial (CP-1)
  6. 1% is intense commercial (CP-3, the only parcel planned to be developed as intense as this).


This property has four corners, one of which is the intersection of 159th and Metcalf, where almost all of the undeveloped property lies. The developer focused on that one corner. Here is the complete picture:

Corner 1 (159th and Metcalf):

  • NW corner of 159th & Metcalf: CP-2 - this is the location of the proposed Super Wal-Mart, which even though it was opposed by neighborhoods and approved by Overland Park over their objections, is less intense development than the re-zoning would allow on the subject property.

  • NE corner of 159th & Metcalf: this is discussed above being due north of the subject property. It is an undeveloped tract which is 94% CP-1; 5% CP-2, and 1 % CP-3 (less than 2 tenths of an acre).

  • SE corner of 159th & Metcalf: this is discussed above being due West of the subject property. It consists of two parcels, both PRB-2 (the applicant erroneously labeled these properties as PRB-3, a significant error given his desire to re-zone his own property PRB-3)

Corner 2 (NE corner of subject property): Entirely residential already developed.

Corner 3 (SE corner of subject property): Entirely residential already developed or planned residential

Corner 4 (SW corner of subject property, near intersection of Metcalf and 163rd Street):

The intersection of Metcalf and 163rd Street consists of undeveloped, planned residential property to the East, the aforementioned PRB-3 property with 31 restrictions imposed by the County Commissioners to prevent intense commercial development, and a PRB-3 developed property on its SW corner (a church). See the above discussion of Blue Valley Business Park for a better sense of this area and how Johnson County and the residents have worked together with developers to manage the development of this business park.

Again, I want to voice my strong opposition this Blue Valley Plaza proposal for rezoning SE corner of 159th and Metcalf to commercial rather than to the planned residential specified in the County's Master Plan.

Bob Phillips
16315 Dearborn Drive
Stilwell, KS

Resident: Blue Valley Paddock
Associate member and political liaison: Blue Valley Riding
Council member: Johnson County South Coalition

Council, Johnson County South Coalition

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