A 50-foot wide easement for a major gas line could turn into a heavily landscaped walking trail in Westwood if the Woodside Village developer can get the permission of both the gas utility and neighboring properties to the east.
The 50-foot strips runs along the south edge of the development that received final site approval from the Westwood Planning Commission this week. Along with plans for the buildings on the second phase of the project, developer Blair Tanner showed the city his plan for a trail that could run from Rainbow Blvd. all the way to State Line Road and make a connection to Westwood Park in Kansas City on the east.
Tanner showed the planning commission how a trail could be bermed and planted to make it a meandering path with an interesting terrain. Standing in the way of that vision coming to reality is the needed cooperation of the Southern Star pipeline company which has a gas line buried beneath the easement. The company has restrictions on what can be planted in the easement. Tanner said he will need to negotiate with the company to be able to create the trail.
As it moves to the east, the easement is not along Tanner’s development, so it also would need cooperation from those property owners to complete the trail to State Line. Right now, the easement is a wide grass strip that runs east-west between the two streets. Tanner said the trail would provide even more of a buffer for residents along 47th Terrace who back up the development and the easement.
Another item of discussion that is not resolved is a southern access to the Woodside development. That access – if the city wants it – would be through a city-owned pocket park that runs south to 47th Terrace. Some planning commission members wanted to retain the pocket park to enhance walkability in the neighborhood, but others thought a vehicle access through that section could be important for traffic circulation and fire access. Tanner is not asking for the access, but said he will cooperate if the city wants it.
Both issues will be resolved in the future. The project will next undergo a request for a change in the financing arrangement with the city, likely in March.