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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
16315 Dearborn Drive