Mission Woods has only four commercial properties in the city and the owners of three of the four are in their second disagreement this year over development of the buildings that sit next to each other along the north side of Shawnee Mission Parkway just west of State Line Road.
This time the owner of the middle building, 1968 SM Parkway, is objecting to plans for a new structure to be built on the corner property, 1900 SM Parkway. The 1900 building already has been approved for major renovations, including adding a third floor. Its owners, Karbank Real Estate, now want to add another building to the north side of the property, situated over an underground parking garage. The plan requires variances for height, parking and setback from the Mission Woods Board of Zoning Appeals. The new building also sits directly north of the 1968 building.
Steve and Neil Karbank, who also have renovated a building at 2000 SM Parkway, had urged the city to condemn the 1968 building earlier this year and take the property in eminent domain. The Karbanks also agreed to fund the city’s condemnation proceedings. The condemnation was halted after the 1968 owners submitted proof the building was structurally sound and plans for renovation. That renovation started a few weeks ago.
“We have this really piece of junk as a neighbor,” Neil Karbank told the BZA Wednesday, in outlining the hardships that would qualify the plan for variances. “One form of hardship is incessant threats from our neighbors.” He said the new plans would “tend to mask the blight in the neighborhood the 1968 owner has created.” Karbank called the zoning requirements “completely arbitrary standards that need to be changed at some point.”
Spencer Thomson, representing the 1968 owners, said his clients are “not opposed to good development.” He said they did not oppose renovations on the 2000 and 1900 buildings. “But at some point you have to stand up to the bully,” he said. “This simply goes too far.”
In a letter to the BZA, Thomson had listed several objections to the plan and Wednesday he asked for a traffic study and drainage report. “We may decide we don’t object,” Thomson said. The main concern, he said, is the density it creates in the area. The BZA agreed that it needed more information and tabled the variances until more information could be provided by the Karbanks.
In his presentation to the BZA, Steve Karbank said his plan would add more greenspace to the area and improved drainage. He said the renovated 2000 building is 70 percent leased and the tenants are businesses that require fewer parking spaces.
The BZA went into executive session at the start of the meeting to discuss the case, citing attorney-client privilege.