The Edison sails through planning commission review despite concerns of downtown OP homeowners

A rendering of the Edison from ground level.
A rendering of the Edison from ground level.

A new mixed-use development that would include office space, multiple eateries and a courtyard designed as a community gathering space got the unanimous approval of the Overland Park Planning Commission Monday despite concerns from several neighbors about the project’s appropriateness for the downtown area.

Freightquote founder and former CEO Tim Barton has been working to put the project, called The Edison, together for more than a year, purchasing retail properties along 80th Street as well as the Overland Park Presbyterian Church to allow for a multi-faceted modern development.

But parts of the project, including a five-story office building and a courtyard with a large video screen, have elicited objections from a number of residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Around a dozen people spoke during the public hearing at yesterday’s meeting, where the planning commission was tasked with reviewing Barton’s development plan.

Sandra Campbell, who lives a very short distance from the site, said she was worried that the community courtyard and outdoor development area would cause noise pollution.

“Within a half block of this development is an actual little neighborhood, with houses where sometimes people leave their windows open at night, and probably don’t want to hear music and yelling at 1 a.m.,” Campbell said.

Diana Barnes, who lives in a nearby condominium, said she was very concerned about increased traffic and congestion with all of the new development in downtown Overland Park.

“Are we totally overbuilding here in downtown Overland Park, and are we ruining our ambiance, the quaintness of the city?” she asked.

Several residents said they believed the height of the building at five stories was too high.

But Polsinelli real estate attorney John Petersen, who is representing Barton in the matter, argued that the proposal would be a positive addition to a downtown area that is already seeing several new, modern buildings going up. He said The Edison would complement downtown’s historic areas, not detract from them.

“It’s important to keep in mind that you’re taking a number of different concepts and trying to a build a narrative of interest — not an area of sameness,” he said.

Planning Commission Chair Steve Troester recused himself from the deliberations over a possible conflict of interest with Barton. The remaining commissioners voted unanimously to advance the development plan to the city council for consideration. The issue is tentatively scheduled to go before the council at its Jan. 8 meeting.

The developer has requested that the city research the possibility of a public finance incentives package for the project, a request the city council approved in November.

Full video from Monday’s planning commission consideration of The Edison development plan is embedded below:

The Overland Park Planning Commission is hearing the proposal for The Edison mixed use development in downtown OP.

Posted by Shawnee Mission Post on Monday, December 11, 2017