Proposed subdivision in western Shawnee raises concerns about traffic on country roads

Kathy Peterson
Shawnee Planning Commissioner Kathy Peterson raised concerns if Clare Road can accommodate increased traffic as more subdivisions come online in western Shawnee.

Plans for a new subdivision in western Shawnee are in the works after the city’s planning commission on Monday approved rezoning 25 acres of farmland to residential. However, some residents and a planning commissioner raised concerns about whether Clare Road could accommodate the influx of traffic.

The applicant, Shawnee resident William Vielhauer, plans to construct Beaver Farms, a new single-family residential development in the 24300 to 24700 blocks of West 67th Street on about 25.5 acres. The proposed preliminary plat of the site includes 25 lots and three tracts. The site is located at the northwest corner of Belmont Drive and 67th Street, with Clare Road to the west.

Shawnee resident Michael Johnson also raised concerns about traffic from new subdivisions near his neighborhood in western Shawnee.

The site currently has a small farm with single-family home and multiple buildings.

Properties to the east and south are zoned residential and already have subdivisions. The owners plan to retain 5 acres as agricultural. Development of this area as a residential subdivision is expected and conforms with the city’s land use guide, city staff noted.

Planning Commissioner Kathy Peterson and a couple of neighbors who live near the proposed subdivision raised concerns about Clare Road, a paved country road that lacks the street width, curbs and other features of city roads.

Peterson asked if the new subdivision would elevate the importance of upgrading Clare Road.

Zielsdorf said he expects Clare Road’s upgrade to be many years down the road; however as more subdivisions are built in the future, he expects the city will upgrade Clare Road even sooner.

“Clare Road will not be improved at this time with this development,” said Mark Zielsdorf, Shawnee planning staff. “That would most likely be a city project that will happen at a later point in time.”

City staff reported that the proposed roadway network and West 67th Street “will be sufficient to handle the traffic generated by the development.” Additionally, the city is requiring the developer to connect West 67th Street to Clare Road “to improve roadway connectivity in the area and reduce the potential of cut-through traffic in residential areas as this region of Shawnee continues to develop.”

Another new subdivision with about 30 lots is in the works just east of the Beaver Farms site as well. Shawnee resident Michael Johnson also raised concerns that Clare Road has not been upgraded to accommodate the increasing traffic from the neighboring subdivisions.

“I’m so thankful we haven’t had any fatalities there, but in my opinion, it’s only a matter of time,” Johnson said. “I understand there’s not many lots there and I think the homeowner should be able to do what they choose with their lots, but at some point, when is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?”

The planning commission on Monday voted 8-0 to rezone the 25 acres from agricultural to residential. Commissioners Carrie Bingham, Randy Braley and John Montgomery were absent.