New Westwood zoning districts headed to city council for approval; petitions ask for delay

The property valuation of the Entercom acreage dropped significantly this year.
The Entercom acreage has been the site of speculation for a new residential development.

The Westwood Planning Commission this week approved zoning text amendments that would create two new zoning district categories. The recommendation is expected to be taken up by the city council at its July meeting.

The unanimous approval came after a public hearing and in the face of petitions signed by 423 residents asking that the planning commission and council “defer consideration any new zoning districts.” The petitioners asked that before any zoning changes are made, “a thorough review of the Comprehensive Plan as to the impact and appropriateness of both the type and potential location for development that would be allowed under any new zoning district.”

Many of the residents signing the petition live in the area of the eight-acre Entercom property, which has been discussed as a potential site for redevelopment. An initial proposal for a senior housing or assisted living development did not receive a positive reception from the planning commission. Since then, an Urban Land Institute study done for the city suggested the possibility of higher density housing on the site with townhouses at the center of the property surrounded by new single family homes.

The text amendments would create two new zoning categories that would allow multi-family housing. Currently, the Westwood zoning restricts residential property to single-family housing unless it is within a commercial development such as the new Woodside Village project. No zoning mechanism exists for a developer to submit a proposal like the one suggested in the ULI study.

A new Planned Residential Cluster Development (PRCD) would allow single-family dwellings, townhouses, group homes and accessory structures. Any residential building could not be more than 2.5 stories and not exceed 35 feet in height. The townhouse could have residences sharing a common wall, but would not be able to stack units. Groups homes are defined as those as licensed homes for persons with disabilities.

The second district is called the Planned Multi-Family Residential District (PMFR) and would allow “attached and/or detached dwelling units, consisting of one or several buildings designed as a planned unit development in a higher density seeing upon a finding of compatibility with surrounding uses …” This district would include residential buildings containing one to eight dwelling units; senior adult independent living dwellings; a community living facility; assisted living, skilled nursing, continuing care retirement facilities and accessory structures.

The PMFR would allow three story buildings up to 48 feet and would allow units to be stacked vertically. These developments would only be allow adjacent to a main thoroughfare describes at Shawnee Mission Parkway, State Line Road, Rainbow Blvd., West 47th Street, and Mission Road.

With planned districts, an applicant would need to submit a development plan to be able to request rezoning.

The city has also initiated a request for proposal seeking consulting firm to begin work on developing a new master plan for the city.