Shawnee council authorizes changes to land use guidelines on sites that could house 2 new mixed-use developments

A rendering of part of the mixed-use development proposed for 75th Street and Quivira.

By Jerry LaMartina

The Shawnee City Council amended its Land Use Guide to identify the northeast corners of 75th Street and Quivira Road and of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Kansas Highway 7, as well as the entire Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor between Mill Creek and K-7, as appropriate for mixed-use/destination development.

The council voted to amend the Land Use Guide, which is part of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, at its Oct. 23 meeting. The amended guide also includes an updated definition of mixed-use/destination development.

Ward 2 councilmen Mike Kemmling and Eric Jenkins voted against the measure.

The amended ordinance does not authorize mixed-use/destination development at those locations; rezoning authorization must come from the full council, project by project. The Land Use Guide gives guidance on development policies, but it is not binding on the council relative to any given project. The council can choose to override it or abide by it.

“These are suggestions, not a zoning change, so it’s not necessary to change this,” Kemmling said after the meeting. “Why is this being changed just as there’s a project in that area? I didn’t feel like it was necessary. I don’t know why these items weren’t line items.”

At its Oct. 9 meeting, the council approved holding a Nov. 13 public hearing to consider creating a tax-increment financing redevelopment district at Westbrooke Village at 75th and Quivira for a proposed $113 million mixed-use redevelopment. The developer seeks about $25 million in city subsidies for the project. A community meeting on that project is scheduled for Wednesday.

The land on the northeast corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and K-7 is undeveloped and owned by the Sisters of Charity.

City Planning Director Paul Chaffee said after the meeting that the timing of the amended Land Use Guide relative to the Nov. 13 public hearing was a coincidence. He referred to the Mixed Use Subcommittee, formed after an economic development session with the Shawnee Economic Development Council in early 2017, which recommended both sites in early 2017 for mixed-use development.

The Shawnee Planning Commission held a public hearing Oct. 16 on the measure to amend the Comprehensive Plan for mixed-use developments at both locations, at which the commission voted unanimously to recommend that the council pass the ordinance amendment.

Chaffee said the amended Land Use Guide doesn’t necessarily make it easier for the proposed Westbrooke redevelopment to gain council approval but is one of several factors the council will consider.

Jenkins said after the Oct. 23 council meeting that the council didn’t need to amend the Land Use Guide in order for the proposed Westbrooke redevelopment to occur, though he said he opposed it based on the “sizeable city incentives” the developer currently seeks.

“Those really impact hugely on our community,” he said. “Those taxes won’t get paid to schools or to libraries or to parks. This is getting to be really a very bad practice. We got into it years ago because the economy was in the tank, but I think it’s time to put the brakes on that because the city can’t afford to keep giving things away. We’re burdening the homeowners.”

Shawnee “doesn’t have to give all this up to developers,” Jenkins said.

“We’re near all these arterial transportation routes, which makes it very good for residential and for business,” he said. “We’re living in an evolving retail world right now, and I’m very concerned about it. I just voted for the Aztec Theater renovation. There are times when it makes sense. I’m not an ideologue … (but) I think we’ve had a rubber stamp council for years.”

The amended ordinance states that mixed-use/destination designations “provide an opportunity to create comprehensive and integrated developments (retail and/or office) and higher density residential land uses under a single plan” and that a destination development “may contain a single use, that by its nature is somewhat unique to the area (such as a recreation activity or a large corporate office center) that attracts consumers or workers from a wide area.”

  • It describes the Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor between Mill Creek and K-7 as having “(r)olling hills with relatively little development.” Also from the ordinance:
  • “Mixed-use developments more commonly contain shopping and office spaces at a neighborhood, or community scale, carefully integrated with a high density residential use.”
  • “To adequately accommodate a mixed-use concept and cohesive development patterns, as either a redevelopment opportunity or green-field, the development should be over 10 acres in size, unless undertaken in the downtown area.”
  • “In light of previous recommendations, the area on both sides of Shawnee Mission Parkway, east of Monticello Road is recommended to be developed as medium density residential uses.”
  • “Significant commercial and office development is expected to occur west of Monticello Road on both sides of Shawnee Mission Parkway to K-7 Highway, with the potential of mixed use development at the northeast corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and K-7 Highway. An emphasis on office and mixed use development will not only provide a larger daytime population, but will encourage a varied mix of retail and support services that may not occur if office development was not present.”
  • “Natural ridge lines are used on the south side of Shawnee Mission Parkway to concentrate commercial and office development in this area as well as along K-7 Highway. Access to this site will be from Monticello Road due to limited access along K-7 Highway and Shawnee Mission Parkway. Commercial uses can be expected to occur at an intense level on both sides of the Parkway. A small wedge of land between Midland Drive and Shawnee Mission Parkway currently zoned commercial highway is also indicated for commercial development.”
  • “Monticello Center, to the east of Highway 7, will provide for a large scale commercial development. It is expected that some office, retail or mixed use development will also be provided along K-7 Highway adjacent the frontage road as it turns north from Shawnee Mission Parkway. Medium density development is indicated for the Grey Oaks townhomes immediately south of Clear Creek, along the frontage road. Low density land uses are indicated for Woodland Park, a single family subdivision to the north of Monticello Center.”
  • “Clear Creek and its tributaries also provide a buffer between the office/service land uses proposed on the west side of Highway 7, and high density residential development.”

The updated land use maps for Westbrooke and the Sisters of Charity properties are below: