Archive for Thursday, May 15, 2003

Falcon Lakes proposes senior complex

May 15, 2003

Although not in the original development plan, developers of Falcon Lakes are proposing a 48-unit affordable housing apartment complex.

Falcon Lakes is a residential development on Kansas Highway 7, north of Basehor. It sits on approximately 500 acres, features an 18-hole golf course and will include 550 homes when completed.

At least that was the plan when city officials annexed the development in 2002.

Developers strayed from that plan Monday, May 13, when Falcon Lakes developer Rustom Ferzandi and development representatives proposed the apartment complex.

The $4.5 million complex will include residents ages 55 and older and will range in rent from $450 to $525. The complex will sit on four acres, developers said.

The developers asked the City Council to sign a letter supporting the project, which the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing requires before plans for the apartments could move forward.

The support letter is a standard draft supplied by the department of commerce and housing. City Council members had mixed feelings the project and approving the agreement. The Council tabled action on the letter pending its rewording.

"This is a shock to me that you want to put this in there," City Council member Iris Dysart said.

"My feeling is you're not going to build houses and sell them with this in there," she added.

Admittedly, the apartment complex is a departure from the original development plans, developers said.

Home sales at Falcon Lakes have been slowed in recent months, partly due to action by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

KDOT required Falcon Lakes to barricade its main access road -- the $1.3 million Falcon Lakes Drive -- essentially cutting off the prime entry to the development from the highway.

"We didn't anticipate KDOT shutting down Falcon Lakes Drive," Ferzandi said.

"But we feel very strongly about this project and we feel every citizen in the area should have an opportunity to live in a nice place," he added.

Departing from the original development plan is understandable, City Council member John Bonee said.

"It's not realistic, with that volume of land, that a guy can pin point exactly what goes in there," Bonee said.

The support letter is not a carte blanche approval of the development; it is a legal requirement the development needs to proceed with plans and does not circumvent the standing planning process, city officials said.

"This is just a resolution and it only provides a statement of policy by the City Council," he said.

City Council members voted to table the issue until language of the agreement can be reworded. The support letter could again be brought before the city at the next City Council meeting, Monday, May 26.

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