Shawnee planning commission approves in 7-4 vote final plat for Kenneth Estates on former golf site

An elevation drawing filed as part of the planning commission submittal showing the kinds of homes that might be included in the development.

The Shawnee planning commission has approved a final plat for Kenneth Estates, the proposed single-family residential subdivision on the former Kenneth Smith Golf site. However, one commissioner had concerns that the plan lacked adequate traffic calming.

The planning commission approved city staff recommendations — with traffic calming as indicated in the city staff report — in a 7-4 vote Monday evening. Commissioners Kathy Peterson, Randy Braley, Les Smith and John Smith cast the dissenting votes.

The planning commission also approved the final plat in a 10-1 vote. Commissioner Les Smith cast the single dissenting vote for the final plat.

Property owner KSF Holdings, an affiliate of Leawood-based Alperts Companies, requested the final plat.

Approval of the final plat was an item on the commission’s Monday consent agenda, but commissioner Les Smith requested its removal to allow further discussion.

Smith said the planning commission approved initial plans for Kenneth Estates on the premise that a few conditions would be met — namely, the installation of a traffic calming device at the end of Richards Drive near 74th Street.

“I would like some explanation as to why we are not able to figure out something we could do there,” Les Smith said, adding that he was hoping for at least installation of a speed table about 3 inches high and 6 to 8 feet wide.

Community development director Doug Allmon said he thinks there was some disconnect among the planning commission and city staff and the owner regarding those expectations as they were set in July. Staff determined that traffic calming on that street was “not necessarily required” because of its designation as a local residential street.

Instead, staff proposed installation of stamped concrete between the two nearby subdivisions, Allmon added.

Les Smith said that if the stamped concrete doesn’t have height, then “it’s not acceptable for what I thought we were asking for.” He said he spoke on behalf of neighbors who had concerns about fast-moving traffic increasing along their roads.

The commission can recommend standards “above the norm,” Allmon said, but he said staff is concerned that doing so “would be setting a precedent for future development in the city.”

Planning commission chair Dennis Busby said a traffic engineer conducted a study at that intersection and determined that traffic calming was unnecessary. Other commissioners agreed to be more specific in their requests and to accept staff recommendations as they follow city policy.

Les Smith was also concerned that city staff, civil engineers and homes associations in the area did not meet as planned to discuss stormwater issues. Allmon said the meeting didn’t take place because of late notice, but it could still take place during the design phase.

Ultimately, Les Smith wished to table the vote on the final plat for two weeks to resolve those issues before moving forward.

Located on the south side of the 12400-12900 blocks of 71st Street in Shawnee, the proposed subdivision of 45 lots spans 60 acres, which feature “beautiful rolling terrain, ponds and extensive foliage of the former golf course, which will provide the opportunity for maintenance-provided villas in a variety of types, sizes and styles,” according to Shawnee city records.

The planning commission’s recommendation will go in front of the Shawnee council for final approval.