The developers and the residents have differing points of view regarding appropriate development of the land on the Southeast corner of 159th and Metcalf: the developers seek personal financial gain through large commercial development; the residents seek residential development consistent with the Blue Valley Master Plan.



Fortunately we have a system in place of elected, hired, and volunteer parties who are entrusted to make informed decisions based on the best interest of the community as a whole, with no personal interest involved.  These entities are the Johnson County Commissioners, the Johnson County Planning and Development Staff, and the Oxford Township Zoning Board.  Two of the three groups have already spoken and unequivocally oppose this development.



Please support the hard work and careful scrutiny of the Johnson County Planning and Development Staff and the Oxford Township Zoning Board in denying this proposal.




Facts the community of concerned residents hope you will consider:



·    The Blue Valley Master Plan , coauthored by Johnson County and Overland Park, with input from the landowners, clearly defines the use of this land in the map legend as “Transition Zone (Low Density Residential)”  (See attachment 1, the Blue Valley Plan-Future Land Use Map.)  The Blue Valley Plaza is not in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan.



·  The term “transition area” in the Blue Valley Plan has NOT been “misinterpreted” by the Johnson County Planning Staff in calling for residential development. Roger Kroh, Director of Johnson County Planning clearly stated at the Oxford Township Zoning Board hearing: “We’re interpreting something we coauthored.  And the other coauthor, specifically Overland Park, their staff concur with our interpretation.” (See attachment 2, Audio Transcript, 6/20/02 meeting.)



·  The Golden Criteria analysis by Johnson County Planning and Development and the Oxford Township Zoning Board does not support this commercial development. The analysis shows that:

Ÿ         the proposed zoning is not consistent with the adjacent low density residential property.

Ÿ         the property is suitable for residential uses.

Ÿ         the detrimental effects of this proposal far outweigh any benefits.

Ÿ         the request is not compatible with the character of the neighborhood.

Ÿ         the request does not comply with the Blue Valley Master Plan which calls for residential.

·  The developer claims the vacant land has been on the market and cannot be developed for residential.  This is not true.  The present owners, the Catholic Education Foundation, recently decided not to build a school on this property.  “It has been vacant either because of ownership reasons or because infrastructure was not available to facilitate development.” (See p. 9, section 5, Staff Report) Both Overland Park and Johnson County have shown this land is ideally suited for its planned use of residential with possible urban densities. (See attachment 3, letter from Roger Peterson, Director of Overland Park Planning.)



·  Contrary to what the developers state, this proposal is not just opposed by a “vocal few,” but rather by an overwhelming majority of the residents of the community.  Over 140 landowners within 1000’ signed a legal protest petition and presidents of six homeowners’ associations representing over 1500 residents in the area have written letters opposing commercial development of this property.



·    The developers were asked by the Oxford Township Zoning Board and by the Johnson County Planning Staff to provide comparison properties in Johnson County that abut low density residential property and that are on two-lane roads. None exist. The comparative properties the developer provided are all on at least four-lane roads and have urban density housing or duplexes, some separated by roadways from the residential property. (See attachment 4, spreadsheet.)



·    The completed traffic studies indicate that the proposed shopping center development will generate 13,610 vehicle trips per day, which is 14 times greater than the 970 vehicle trips per day generated by a residential development. (See Attachment 5, Table 1, trip generation.)  Delivery trucks will be a constant.  Air and noise pollution levels would rise significantly.



·    Johnson County Planning Staff has stated, “The extent of the traffic effects associated with the proposed zoning and development are so extensive that it would be detrimental to nearby residential property.” “ The relative gain to the public by denying the request outweighs the hardship imposed upon the landowner.” (See p. 9, Section 4 and p. 10, Section 6 of Staff Report.)  This development would jeopardize public safety.



·    The road infrastructure is clearly not in place to support traffic of this huge retail development. Norman Bowers, County Engineer, has stated repeatedly that this proposal is not  in compliance with CARNP.  “This is a fatal flaw.” (See attachment 6, Memorandum.)



·    159th Street is not  a major commercial corridor.  KDOT stated October of 2001 that there is no application for an interchange at the 159th and 69 Highway location.  According to James E. Tobaben, PE, (Bureau Chief, Transportation Planning), KDOT is not supportive of another interchange so close to 151st and 167th streets. (See attachment 7, KDOT letter)





·  Tax revenue is not a criteria on which decisions are based.  The law clearly states in Golden v. City of Overland Park that all Eight Golden Criteria must be examined.



·  Low pressure grinder pump systems are feasible on this property as was stated by Brian Pietig, county engineer, and are being used in other residential developments in Johnson County and Overland Park.



·  Scrutiny of the cross-section of the proposal clearly shows that the view to neighbors would be of a five story building which can not be screened with “trees and other vegetation.” (See attachment 8, Section A-A)



·  The Blue Valley Master Plan is THE document used to determine land use.  Residents consult the plan and depend upon its reliability when purchasing homes.  A major deviation from the plan can cause a “domino effect” of other inappropriate development. 




Thank you for your time and effort devoted to this decision. 



Please support the Johnson County Planning and Development Staff and the Oxford Township Zoning Board in opposing this proposal and supporting the Blue Valley Master Plan.




Neighborhoods’ Southeast Tract Committee


(Drafting committee members: Jean Prouty (913) 851-0238,  Sandy Hall (913) 685-3405, and Theresa Swallow (913) 897-2690