Updated plans for the Bellmont Promenade project in Shawnee have passed the second round of approval from the planning commission.
The planning commission recommended on a 7-4 vote last night that the council approve a rezoning request from commercial highway to planned unit development mixed use for one of the lots at Bellmont Promenade, a mixed-use project to be located at Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road. Commissioners John Montgomery, Bruce Bienhoff, Steven Wise and John Smith cast the dissenting votes.
The rezoning request was filed by Bellmont Partners LLC, led by Legacy Development and Bach Homes.
The planning commission had already recommended the rezoning request in July. After Bellmont Partners made substantive changes to the plan over the past few months, the rezoning request needed re-approval.
Greg Musil with Rouse Frets Law Firm is representing the developer, and shared the updated version of the project plan with the planning commission.
The new version of the project plan indicates that the residential part increased from 228 units to 249, so the density will be 33.2 units per acre. To break it down by apartment type, the plan increased from 71 to 121 one-bedroom units and from 66 to 90 two-bedroom units; the plan decreased the number of studio apartments from 91 to 38. The average square footage of units are greater today than they were in the July plans.
Additionally, the whole project has moved further north and east on the property, which increased the setbacks of the building on the south and west sides from the property line. After hearing neighbors’ concerns that the building was too close, Legacy and Bach Homes pushed the setback of the building from 32 feet to 52 feet from the property line on the south side, and from 125 feet to 170 feet on the west side.
In exchange, Bellmont Partners removed one of the retail pad sites to accommodate the setbacks and additional residential units. The developer also increased the footprint of the lot from 7.5 to 7.9 acres.
Musil said that although the planning commission wanted the building to be no higher than four stories, Bellmont Partners kept the plan at five stories because — from both a financial and community standpoint — “even 249 units is relatively small for an apartment complex today.” Neighbors present argued that the complex is six stories because of the ground entrance to the basement level on the west side.
Pushback from neighbors on height, density, close proximity
Many of the commissioners said they’re excited for a mixed-use project to come to Shawnee, adding that some people will leave the meeting unhappy no matter the outcome.
Other planning commissioners as well as neighbors again expressed concerns with invasion of privacy of homes, specifically regarding the sightline of residential homes overlooking Bell Road on the south side.
Neighbors who live along Bell Road said they were comfortable with last year’s project plans for Bellmont Promenade. Now, as in July, they think it’s too dense, too tall and too close to their homes.
“The proposal before you tonight violates approximately a dozen of your own code requirements and land use guides, and I would point out and again reiterate, these are minimums?” said Don Lysaught. “This is the first PUDMX that is going to come to this city, and you’re setting a precedent of what will happen with other ones. All we’re asking is you enforce your own rules and regulations. We live by them every day, you live by them; a developer coming from out of town should live by them.”
The neighbors also think Bach Homes and Legacy haven’t tried to involve them in the process. Musil disagreed.
The Shawnee council will consider the rezoning item next month at one of the two council meetings in January.