Commission reviews revitalization
If the engineering plans for the Prairie Gardens housing development gain approval, it would be one of the most unique developments in Basehor.
Prairie Gardens is a 450 to 500 home proposed development that would include both residential and commercial property. The preliminary plat of the development also indicates land available for a new community library, city hall and elementary school.
Already scheduled for construction is a Basehor Historical Society Museum.
Prairie Gardens engineer Joe McAfee, who is also the interim Basehor City Engineer, gave a presentation to the Basehor Planning Commission regarding the specifics of the development.
During the presentation, McAfee told the Planning Commission the sizes and styles of the houses in the development would vary.
"It creates a totally different type of development that you have ever seen," he said. "A lot of the buildings are different looking so there isn't a field of the same houses look."
The purpose of the different style is to get away from the suburban sprawl mentality of developers in recent years and get back to a community feel, something McAfee termed as a "pedestrian-oriented community".
Two ways of developing a community feel is to make the homes closer to the streets and to shrink the size of the roads, he said.
The smaller streets would reduce the risk of traffic accidents in the community and cause more residents to walk in the community instead of using their cars, McAfee said.
"It is a proven fact that narrowing streets cause drivers to slow down," he said.
The developers face a possible stumbling block, however, in creating a more community friendly development.
For the engineers and developers to create the desired atmosphere, the city must grant Prairie Gardens several variances from the usual city codes.
Some of the variances requested are minimum square footage lots of 8,400 square feet as opposed to the city standard of 10,000 feet, and a minimum of 10 percent on the side yard instead of the code required 10 feet.
Basehor Planning Commission Chair Ron Owen was concerned about the variances wanted by the developers, but said the commissioners would discuss the issue further.
Commission member Ferna Moser said she liked the idea of the development because it reminded her of an area where she grew up in.
"I think it is a good idea myself," Moser said.
Basehor City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper said the city codes are currently being updated because some of the codes are outdated.
The development was not up for approval on Tuesday night, but McAffee said the developers were beginning work on the preliminary plat and were hoping for approval at the next Planning Commission meeting.
There has been no word from city officials on when the development will come before the Planning Commission again. Hooper said it could be November before the development is placed on the agenda.
The only action that was taken by the Planning Commission was the tabling of the final plat of Regency Woods, another proposed development that would be located on 158th Street. The development would include both residential and commercial property.
Approval of the final plat was tabled because the application for the final plat was not complete, Hooper said.
The developer has not designated the minimum size of the homes in the development and no representatives from the development attended the meeting to explain, Hooper said.
Regency Woods will be placed on the next Planning Commission meeting agenda and will be considered for approval if the application is completed.