Veterans Park Senior Village plan moves to Shawnee council for approval

An overhead rendering of the proposed development.

Plans for the new senior housing development at Veterans Park are underway.

The Shawnee planning commission took care of some housekeeping items last night, recommending in a 10-0 vote a final site plan by the developer, Veterans Park Senior Village LLC, for final council approval. Commissioner Bruce Bienhoff was absent.

Schlagel & Associates, on behalf of the developer, had requested final plat and final site plan approval for Veterans Park Senior Village, a senior residential housing development in the 6100 block of Pflumm Road, just west of Pflumm and north of 62nd Street.

Additionally, the planning commission recommended in a 10-0 vote rezoning portions of the property back to their original status as either residential or duplex. Seven properties on a section of the land abutting Pflumm Road were still listed as mixed use, a remnant of the proposed TIF project when the property was under contract as Cobblestone Court by Qrivit, the former developer.

The council had already removed the TIF district earlier this year, and the new developer did not purchase the seven adjacent properties as part of Veterans Park Senior Village.

Community development director Doug Allmon said rezoning the seven properties back to their original states will make it easier for property owners to rebuild their homes, especially in the event of a natural disaster.

During the Cobblestone Court project, the TIF district included the seven properties, ultimately listing them as “blighted” under Kansas law because a majority of the property must be considered “blighted” for the TIF district to be established.

“These were seen as properties that could be redeveloped to a higher and better use as part of that,” Allmon said. “I honestly don’t know why the term ‘blight’ is used. I would almost use the term ‘underutilized’ in comparison to the surrounding redevelopment area, but that’s the word that the state law uses for.”

Allmon said that, to his knowledge, none of the properties are in violation of city code or property standards, and the homes are still occupied.

Commissioner Kathy Peterson asked if the “blighted” designation has negatively affected the properties. Allmon said the only negative impact is that it would be more difficult for property owners to rebuild if their property remained zoned as mixed use instead of residential or duplex.

There was no comment on the rezoning during the public hearing last night.

The planning commission’s recommendation to rezone the properties will need to be considered by the Shawnee council for final approval.