By Roxie Hammill
The possibility of public financing for the Brookridge development through tourism STAR (sales tax and revenue) bonds remained alive Monday as the Overland Park City Council passed along the application to the Kansas Department of Commerce.
The $2 billion development at Interstate 435 and Antioch Road got a 9-2 vote to move the application forward. STAR bonds requests are submitted through the cities, but the state makes the decision on whether the project will be eligible. The vote does not commit the city to a specific project plan.
The bonds are meant to encourage tourism by allowing developers to recoup certain costs with some of the sales tax revenue generated by the development.
The massive project includes office, retail, hotel, a 9-hole golf course and performance venue on the site of the Brookridge golf club. But it has been acutely unpopular with neighbors, who have objected to just about every aspect of the plan, from its cost to its impact on the surrounding area.
The council didn’t take public comments during its brief consideration of the bonds application Monday night. Even so, one Brookridge opponent, Bob Miller, managed to get a few words in during a different public hearing before being shut down.
Miller spoke during a public hearing to consider assessments for a flood control project along Negro Creek, south of 151st Street between Glenwood Street and Metcalf Avenue. He noted that neighbors of the Brookridge development also are concerned about drainage issues and flooding on Indian Creek they fear will be made worse by the project.
Miller said he’s submitted pictures of Indian Creek overflowing its banks, and is awaiting action by the council.
“I think the council is being extremely hypocritical talking about this but not talking about Indian Creek,” he said. He was told his comments were out of order because the public hearing was on a different project.
Brookridge developers Chris and Grant Curtin have asked for $15.4 million in STAR bonds proceeds and will also ask for a special taxing district that with a 1.5 percent sales tax to pay some development costs.
Some city council members said they were trying to be consistent in their previous votes. The council is on record as supporting a STAR bonds district, said council member Terry Goodman. “It’s important to know that fundamentally nothing has changed,” he said. “What we are being asked to do now is a technicality.”
Goodman added that the council may want to leave its options open on the bonds to support office space on the southern end of the development.
Council members Dave White and Jim Kite voted against the application for consistency’s sake, they said.