Neighbors protest rezoning for apartments
Concerns about rezoning a property to make way for a proposed apartment complex brought more residents out Tuesday than could fit into the council chambers at Bonner Springs City Hall.
While residents said the proposed project was not a good fit for their neighborhood and would cause property values to drop and traffic safety issues to develop, the Bonner Springs Planning Commission approved the change to the comprehensive plan and the rezoning by a 4-3 margin.
“There were legitimate concerns brought up during the meeting,” Merle Parks, chair of the commission, said after the meeting. “… But I think in the overall, from my viewpoint, it was a worthwhile project that hopefully will be a benefit to the area.”
Residents stood in the hallway or sat on the floor to be present for the public hearing concerning the first of four steps required for approval for the Village at Deerfield, a 232-unit, gated complex proposed by Bonner Springs developer Guy Tiner at Kansas Avenue and 132nd Street.
The northern portion of L-shaped development — which on the east would wrap around the commercial development containing Nuts and Bolts True Value hardware store — is already zoned for multi-family development. But about six acres on the south side needed to be rezoned from single-family residential to multi-family.
The rezoning will move on to the Feb. 27 city council meeting, where the council will not be required to take public comment. If the council approves the rezoning, the must obtain approval of: a preliminary plat, a final plat and a site plan.
Daniel Foster of Schlagel and Associates said the apartment complex’s gated community and amenities were designed to offer a high-quality multi-family development. He said rezoning the southern portion of the property to include it would allow for more units and make it economically viable to offer the high-end amenities, such as a pool and clubhouse.
But about 14 nearby residents who spoke said the development was too dense to build adjacent to their single-family homes.
Bill Bezer said neighbors believe the development would lower property values and cause traffic problems.
“We’re trying to meet one man’s initiative, and not a community’s need,” Bezer said.
Other residents agreed. They suggested the area would be better for senior patio homes, townhomes or duplexes.
Some residents expressed concern that the project would increase stormwater drainage problems already present in the area. City staff and the developer said an existing stormwater retention basin would be improved as part of the development to mitigate drainage issues.
Most were concerned about traffic from the complex moving south through their neighborhood on 132nd Street, saying the neighborhood already has speeding problems. City staff agreed to require the developer to conduct a traffic study as a condition of approval.
Commission members David Pierce, Robin Neal and Jason Krone voted against the change to the comprehensive plan and rezoning. Neal and Krone live in the Deerfield neighborhood adjacent to the proposed development, as does commission member Craig Stephan, who voted to approve both items.