Lenexa council approves plans for mixed-use development on long-vacant land at 83rd and Monticello

The site plan for the new Bristol Highlands development in Lenexa.
The site plan for the new Bristol Highlands development in Lenexa.

By Jerry LaMartina

The Lenexa City Council has approved a new mixed-zoning development with single- and two-family homes, senior housing and space for offices or a day care at the northeast corner of 83rd Street and Monticello Road in Lenexa.

At its Tuesday night meeting, the council members present unanimously approved the developer’s request for rezoning, the project’s concept plan and the preliminary plat for the development, Bristol Highlands. The rezoning enables a “less intense development” — one with lower density — than prior zoning authorized, according to city documents related to the project.

Plans call for:

  • 50 single-family homes on 22.5 acres
  • 34 two-family lots with 68 units on 22 acres
  • a two-building senior housing component with 12 beds in each building on 3.25 acres
  • and a 3-acre lot for offices or a day care facility.

The senior housing is planned to range from independent living to low level nursing assistance for residents.

The estimated total cost for the Lenexa portion of the housing part of the project will be $10 to $12 million, according to Jeff Robinson, president of J.S. Robinson Fine Homes. The new homes are expected to cost $300,000 to $350,000 in the two-family configuration; single family homes with maintenance provided will run in the high $300,000s to mid $400,000s. The company expects to build housing on an adjacent 75 acres in Shawnee, as well. That phase of the project will cost roughly another $10 million, with those home expected to go on the market for $400,000 to $800,000.

Robinson said the project was a good fit for the area.

“It complements the community,” Robinson said. “It’s a good location near Lake Lenexa and Shawnee Mission Park, it’s a few minutes from City Center in Lenexa, the area has good schools, and highway access is good. The timing is right.”

The project’s developer is Bristol Highlands LLC, and its engineering firm is Olathe-based Phelps Engineering Inc. The firm’s president, Harold Phelps, addressed the council and said that, though Planning Commission members at the commission’s Nov. 6 meeting had questioned the location of the project’s high-density residential component, they ultimately agreed that the project would decrease the neighborhood’s density, and unanimously recommended it.

Ward 4 Councilman Andy Huckaba said he had read some comments recorded in the Nov. 6 meeting minutes that expressed concern about traffic and some accidents that had happened in the project’s vicinity. Lenexa Planning and Development Administrator Magi Tilton said at the council meeting that a member of the engineering staff had said the intersection of Monticello and 83rd didn’t warrant a traffic signal but was designed for a signal to be there sometime in the future.

Huckaba asked about the timing of picking up and dropping off children at a day care and whether that could clash with the timing of an adjacent food distribution company’s loading and unloading. Tilton said she didn’t know.

“That’s probably an important question to understand when you start to look at that intersection, to make sure that we’ve treated it correctly,” Huckaba said. “I would imagine it’s probably manageable, but it may accelerate the need for some type of signalization, I would guess, in that area.”

Ward 3 Councilman Lou Serrone said that the project site had “been there a long, long time.”

“A lot of people looked at it, and it’s obvious that the commercial uses that were zoned there did not come to fruition, meaning that the market didn’t bear out the potential zoning,” Serrone said. “This plan, I really find it to be an attractive plan. … I understand the concerns, if there really is a traffic issue with the day care, but I think that’s something (that can be resolved).”

The project plan offers options for traffic configurations surrounding the development to reduce the likelihood of excessive traffic congestion, Phelps said.

Planned landscaping for the project, he said, includes “significant buffering around (the senior living buildings) and the day care, as well.”

“I bring that up because we really see this group home or assisted living as being a part of the neighborhood,” he said. “We don’t see it as commercial ground; we see it as an extension of residential ground and providing another lifestyle for the different residents in the neighborhood.”

Ward 1 Councilman Steve Lemons and Ward 2 Councilman Thomas Nolte were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.