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Developers Attempting To Buy Steck Plantation Neighborhood
Intend To Destroy It And Build Commercial

February 17, 2003

Developers are trying to purchase the entire neighborhood of Steck Plantation along with 4 additional houses on Metcalf. This neighborhood is near Wal-Mart in the vicinity of 159th and Metcalf and across the street from an area zoned for residential. The developers have already purchased one home. The total acreage including two neighboring lots already owned by the developers adds up to almost 20 acres, enough for another huge box store.

Regardless of how much the development group pays for the lots, the Master Plan calls for the area to be residential. All the traffic studies, the Master Planning, the building of schools and neighborhoods along 159th have presumed there would not be a major, additional commercial development there. The lots across 159th Street from Steck and behind Wal-Mart are residential.

Same Individual Involved In Failed Scheme On SE Corner

Andy Schlagel, who was involved in the Wal-Mart deal and the Blue Valley Plaza deal, is also involved in this deal. One hopes that the last land speculation scheme in which Schlagel was involved, which failed on the SE Corner of Metcalf and 159th where he supported rezoning from residential to commercial in the County, will not now succeed on the SW corner in the City. Perhaps the failure to find a home for box stores on the SE corner in the County has led to this attempt in the City.

The developers are boasting that once they buy out Steck there can be no Protest Petition in opposition. Presumably that means they are confident they can get the OP City Council to rezone this land to what the developers want regardless of the Master Plan and the negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods and schools.

Why developers would make this boast about a protest petition to the neighbors is not clear. Any argument that says the developers can get a rezoning to commercial should work to the benefit of the residents as they negotiate sale prices. Presumably, if the land is to be developed commercially, the current landowners should be getting appropriate commercial prices.

Developers Refuse To Offer Fair Prices For Properties

The developers have not been offering commercial prices yet to the residents. In fact, initially they were making the ridiculous statement that to be fair, they had to offer the same price to all residents, in spite of some lots being less than 3/4 acre and others being more than 1.5 acres. In the SE Corner deal Schlagel's developers told the County that the 31 acres of the land in that deal would be worth some $9 million, almost $6.60 per square foot. At these prices individual lots in Steck Plantation would range from just under $198,000 to over $470,000. At last word the prices being offered were being ratcheted up from $200,000 to $230,000, regardless of lot size.

Not surprisingly, when Schlagel was trying to convince these same neighbors not to sign a protest petition against Wal-Mart, he told them their land would be worth a fortune if they let Wal-Mart in. Sadly, a handful of owners who believed Schlagel, et al, decided not to sign the petition a second time round. Sadder still, the Overland Park City Council, whose members' campaigns are largely funded by development special interests, then approved Wal-Mart over the intense objections of residents. Those "fortune" prices are not now being offered.

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