Overland Park planning commission advances Brookridge rezoning despite concerns about flooding, traffic

The developer’s attorney showed the planning commission a rendering of a portion of the project near the intersection of 103rd Street and Antioch.

Despite homeowners’ concerns about the construction schedule, traffic congestion, and increased flooding potential along Indian Creek, the Overland Park Planning Commission on a 7-3 vote Monday advanced Curtin Property Company’s latest rezoning proposal for the $1.8 billion Brookridge redevelopment.

Charlotte O’Hara, who ran for Overland Park mayor last year, argued that the city should not be using public finance incentives to support new retail.

The rezoning request now heads to the city council at its May 7 meeting.

Attorney John Petersen, who is representing Curtin on the project, explained how the updates to the project would add a retail component to the southeast corner of the intersection of 103rd Street and Antioch. That land currently has single-family homes and had not been slated for redevelopment in the previously approved version.

Petersen sought to preemptively dismiss concerns that the additions to the project would increase the impact on the surrounding area, saying that the update reconfigured the distribution of retail space that was already in the earlier version of the plan. He said the new plan actually has about 4,000 square feet less space than the previous plan.

A view of the project looking east from the corner of 103rd and Antioch.

“I know people might think they’re utilizing more land, now we’ve got more density, now we’ve got more traffic, now we’ve got more stormwater runoff,” Petersen said. “That is not true. That is not a factually based concern.”

But nine citizens came forward during the public hearing that followed Petersen’s comments to raise a litany of concerns with the project as proposed. Among them:

  • The proposed sequencing of road improvements would lead to prolonged construction that would disturb surrounding homes
  • The addition of impervious surface to the area will exacerbate the potential for significant flooding along Indian Creek, which winds through the site
  • The proposed access points and traffic lights around the project would cause traffic congestion

Alan Williams, an Overland Park resident who works in the financial sector serving commercial real estate projects, said he didn’t believe the market could absorb the amount of new retail proposed for the project. Noting that Overland Park already had more retail space than the U.S. average and that the entire country was overbuilt, he questioned whether there was demand to sustain the development.

“We’re way overbuilt in retail,” Williams said. “We don’t need more inline retail.”

Charlotte O’Hara, who ran for Overland Park mayor last year, renewed a critique that was central to her campaign, saying that the city needed to exercise more caution when committing public finance incentives to such retail projects.

“We’ve had experiences with good intentions going bad,” O’Hara said, pointing to projects along 135th Street that received finance incentives and then performed well below expectations. “And those pale in comparison to the size of this development.”

Planning commissioners George Lund, Bob Gadd and Janie Thacker voted against recommending approval for the rezoning request. Commissioners Rob Krewson, Mike Flanagan, David Hill, Tom Lance, Ned Reitzes, Kim Sorensen and Steve Troester voted in favor of the measure.

You can see full video of the planning commission meeting here.

A rendering of the retail development proposed for the vicinity of the 103rd and Antioch intersection.