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Fight To Stop Rezoning/Massive Development
SE Corner of 159th and Metcalf (A Residential Property)

Updated November 11, 2002

[Skip to bottom to see all articles published on this subject through November 11, 2002]

On November 7 the Board of Commissioners of Johnson County, KS, denied the application by a developer to convert 31 acres at the SE corner of 159th and Metcalf in unincorporated Johnson County, KS from planned residential zoning to the most intense retail zoning available.

In October, 2001, the Catholic Education Trust Fund had found a buyer for its 39 acre property on the SE Corner of 159th and Metcalf just south of Overland Park, Kansas in unincorporated Johnson County, KS. This was closely connected to the Wal-Mart across the intersection - the buyer appeared in the two weeks while signatures on a legal protest petition were being collected against Wal-Mart. The buyer specified contractually that the Catholic Trust could not sign the Protest Petition as it had done previously. Ultimately, this let Wal-Mart win a battle it had previously lost to get approval.

The buyer is attempting to re-zone the 3 lots from the current RUR (rural, agricultural, residential) to PRB-3, the most intensive Commercial Retail zoning in Johnson County. On August 28, 2002, the buyer of the land, the Blue Valley Plaza, LLC took possession of the property, although the zoning was not yet approved.

Neighbors determined that the investors almost certainly paid less than $3 million for the property. The investors told the Board of County Commissioners that if it were rezoned, it would be worth $10 million. So, a $7 million profit hinged on a single vote. The investors carry a $1.4 million mortgage on the property according to County land records.

The master plan worked out jointly between the County and Overland Park designates this land for future transitional residential use. Transitional means it may have higher density residential lots than the 1 to 3 acres lots of adjoining County neighborhoods. There is supposed to be no commercial development on this whatsoever according to all plans.

Members of the Johnson County South Coalition (JCSC) and local neighborhoods are fighting this re-zoning attempt.

The developer wishes to build 290,000 square feet of retail space plus over 1600 parking spaces on this lot if he can get it rezoned. [Later dropped to 210,000 sq ft under pressure from the County.] The developer/landowner has so far tried the usual tactics the JCSC has learned to expect from developers:

  • Only 2-3 days notice of a neighborhood meeting to discuss the development (also calling it a neighborhood meeting without identifying it as developer sponsored);
  • Destroying a pond just prior to submitting an application;
  • Showing the wrong zoning on adjacent properties in plans submitted to the County;
  • Trying to undercount traffic.

The following articles have been published on NeighborhoodNet about this project.

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