A 120-bed healthcare facility proposed for 7235 Antioch Rd. has prompted a petition drive by opponents who say the two-level building would not be compatible with their neighborhood.
Sunbelt Health Care Centers, an affiliate of Adventist Health System, wants to build the 40,379 square-foot facility on the site of the current Shawnee Mission School District offices in the McEachen Administrative Building. The school board earlier this year agreed to sell the building to Adventist Health System for $2 million.
Residents of the adjoining Overland Park neighborhood say the proposed building would be too large, increase traffic and reduce property values.
A petition requiring the plan receive a super-majority approval vote by the city council is under way.
“So far, I’ve reached over half of the homeowners within the notification ring and quite a few beyond,” said organizer Leah Mueller. “I haven’t met anyone in favor of the development. The majority of people are adamantly opposed.”
Jody Barry, vice president of facilities and construction at Sunbelt Health Care, said the $20 million brick facility is being designed to blend with the neighborhood and would have extensive landscaping to buffer it from view of neighbors.
“We’re quiet people and we want to be good neighbors,” he said. “Our building has a residential look to it. After all, it’s a home. We don’t want it to look like an office building.”
Sunbelt Health Care and the nearby Shawnee Mission Health at 9100 W. 74th St. are both affiliates of Adventist Health.
Barry said there’s a need for the proposed facility as demands increase to move recuperating patients from acute-care hospitals to lower cost facilities where they can complete their treatment.
“Say your 80-year-old grandmother falls and breaks her hip and stays in the hospital for three days,” Barry said. “She can’t simply go home. The hospital cost is $5,000 per day or she can come to our facility and receive daily physical therapy and hopefully go home in a few weeks and be independent again.”
Doug Gregg, who lives behind the proposed care center, said the new building, which includes a 130-space parking lot, would be more than twice the size of the existing school offices.
“My view of my back would be of that building,” he said.
Gregg would like to rescind the special use permit which allowed the school district to locate its headquarters there in the late 1960s and have the 4.6 acre property return to residential zoning.
Gregg also said nearby Merriam residents living across Antioch from the proposed Sunbelt facility should have been told about the project. Only Overland Park neighbors were notified. Sunbelt held a meeting with residents Aug. 17.
Mueller could support uses allowed by the original residential zoning including single-family homes, churches, schools, parks and publicly-owned community buildings.
“I speak for myself,” she said, “when I say it would be great if the lot could be used for one of those zoned purposes.”