Home &
News Page
E- mail
Address & Phone

Open Letter To County Commissioners
Rebuttal To Developers' False Statements On 159th And Metcalf

July 20, 2002

Dear County Commissioners,

Thank you each for meeting with me and other concerned citizens over the last week on the proposed development at 159th and Metcalf on the SE Corner. The time you spend on this is much appreciated by all of us. We look forward to your meeting on July 25.

The developers have of course put forward several arguments in favor of this development. In many cases, the facts and statements made are misleading at best and often simply erroneous. When we, the planners, and the zoning board finally nail down what is true, new arguments are presented, which we then prove to be wrong, also.

So here is a very brief list of what the developer says and what the facts are. I hope you will continue to take these into account as you consider this proposal:

  1. Developer: The Master Plan is open to interpretation and doesn't specify these 31 acres should be only and entirely residential.

    Response: No - Overland Park Planning, Johnson County Planning, Oxford Township Zoning Board, and the black and white wording of the plan contradicts this. I think we have finally, after much work and repetition, proven this obvious fact - that the plan specifies this as only and entirely residential - even to the developer.

  2. Developer: OK, the Master Plan says it should be residential, but the Master Plan was created in 1986 and so does not take into account current development, hence it is ok to dismiss it from the beginning.

    Response: No, the Master Plan was most recently updated in 1996 when all the current zoning was in place. It is currently being re-drafted with no change to the proposed zoning on these lots. The plan takes all of this into account, along with what is currently built in the area - in particular, the schools, the low density residential that abuts the property, etc. It also addresses sewers. A tremendous amount of time and effort by OP/JoCo Planners with citizen input resulted in this mix of residential on one corner and commercial on 3 corners.

  3. Developer: Whenever 3 corners are commercial, the fourth is too.

    Response: No, look at 151st/Mer-Len (single family homes on one corner only); 119th/Nall (Apartment on one corner only). These right off the top of our heads. Furthermore, you are supposed to look at all surrounding property, not the one corner. 80% is residential according to the Johnson County Planners.

  4. Developer: The other 3 corners are heavy commercial.

    Response: No, the NE corner is almost all the lightest possible commercial (CP-1, 15 acres) and abuts residential which also is directly across from the proposed development; the SE corner is a quiet business park already developed except for a few acres and much of it developed at lower intensity than zoned; the NE corner is the Wal-Mart, but even that is CP-2, much less intense than the PRB-3 and fewer acres in size. Furthermore, again, you should be looking not at one corner, but the surrounding property to the parcel, which is largely residential. In fact, the entire southern border, the western border, and half the northern border is residential.

  5. Developer: This can't be developed as residential, it must be commercial, for instance because of sewers.

    Response: No, the JoCo Planners pointed out that sewers are not an issue, that neighborhoods have already been built in similar circumstances.

  6. Developer: The Commissioners should take into account how much tax revenue this project would produce and this should be an important factor.

    Response: No, the Golden Criteria do not mention tax revenue once. Tax base is not used in evaluating a project. However, even if it were, the developer has provided no information what so ever about how much tax revenue would be produced by a residential development. The developer chose to compare the revenue to that from the empty lot.

  7. Developer: The proposed traffic plan is in accordance with Johnson County rules and regulations.

    Response: No, the JoCo Planners specifically said this plan is not in compliance with the CARNP guidelines and could not be made to be in compliance.

  8. Developer: There isn't all that much difference between the traffic created by a residential development and a commercial one.

    Response: No, the developer was immediately caught trying to compare 31 acres filled with all apartments to his development. He was forced by the County to use a more reasonable mix of residential that was closer to that in the Master Plan, which resulted in showing that there would be more than 13 times as much traffic, over 13,000 additional trips a day as opposed to under 1000 trips a day. This of course would be added to the 12,000+ trips which will be added by the already approved but not yet built Wal-Mart across the intersection.

  9. Developer: There are many other commercial developments much like this in Overland Park which abut residential, are next to 2 lane roads, and are on a commercial corridor.

    Response: No, when asked to produce a list of such properties, every one the developer came up with was nothing like this situation. The first on the list was 119th and Metcalf, at the cross-roads of two commercial cooridors, surrounded by 4 to six lane roads, connected to Blue Valley Parkway.

  10. Developer: Only a few people living right next to this are opposed.

    Response: No, 140 people signed a legal protest petition which has now been validated by the County and so will require 4 of the 5 of your to votes to pass this project; Presidents and representatives of neighborhoods in the area with over 1500 homes have written in opposition; the Johnson County South Coalition, with representatives from one side of Johnson County to the other up to above 135th street have written in opposition.

  11. Developer: These people moved in here long ago and should have taken into account the commercial development on the empty lots they were facing.

    Response: No - some of these people moved in recently and some moved in long ago. Many of us very carefully checked the Master Plan specifically because these lots were undeveloped and represented a potential threat to the character of the neighborhood. We were told, and shown in black and white, that this corner was to be entirely residential according to the Master Plan jointly developed by Overland Park and Johnson County. There were no ifs, ands, or buts. All residential. No commercial what so ever. By the Master Plan. We followed the rules.

Don't Bring The Enron Approach To The Local Level

The developers contracted for this land in the full knowledge that the land was planned residential. Clearly, the developer felt he could convince you to ignore the Master Plan, so he could make a lot of money.

So now it is up to you: abide by the assurances made to the residents and your constituents by the Master Plan, or fatten the wallet of a developer who knew what the Master Planned called for from the outset.

This country of ours is now facing the results of what happens when the few at the top of the corporate world throw out the rules, enrich themselves and their friends, and do so by sacrificing the interests of the average people - the employees, the common stock holders, the pensioners. Let's show that we don't intend to follow this pattern at the local level. Let's not turn Johnson County into the local equivalent of Enron.

Please abide by the rules we have all agreed to. Don't sacrifice our neighborhoods. Do not fatten the wallets of a few who want to enrich themselves at other's expense.


Bob Phillips
16315 Dearborn Drive
Stilwell, Kansas

Return to NeighborhoodNettm home page.