The Lenexa Planning Commission on Monday overwhelmingly recommended approval of various components of a multipronged, large-scale residential development in the central portion of the city.
Located on about 187 acres of farmland at the southwest corner of Monticello Road and 90th Street, the proposed Watercrest South and Copper Creek project consists of a mix of high-rise multi-family apartment and townhomes, single-family homes, and concept plans for a multi-family apartment, senior housing and commercial development.
The owners of the site — Q.C. Development, P & L Development LLC., and Watercrest South LLC — presented details on the multi-phased residential development Monday. Afterward, a handful of residents in the neighboring Watercrest Landing North subdivision shared their concerns and, at times, opposition toward portions of the project, particularly the high-rise apartments.
Here are the project details:
- 44 townhome units in 7 buildings (preliminary)
- 688 multi-family apartment units in 14 buildings (preliminary)
- 257 lots for single-family homes
- 100-unit multi-family apartment (conceptual)
- 150-unit senior living development with 150 beds (conceptual)
- 187,000 square feet of commercial space (conceptual, potentially for two hotels)
In total, the site proposes bringing 1,239 housing units to the area. Below is a site layout of the entire project:
The project hinges on completion of Woodsonia Drive, a future local collector street running north-south through the area. City staff proposed completing Woodsonia Drive in one phase in conjunction with early phases of the private development.
The site previously had a proposed large-scale development approved by the city in 2006, according to city documents. That project never materialized.
Curtis Holland with the Polsinelli law firm, a representative for the developer, said the multi-family apartments will serve as a buffer between the single-family homes of Watercrest Landing on the north end of the site and K-7 Highway to the west.
“It is really planning 101 that multi-family makes a good neighbor and a good transition between higher intensity uses and highway uses, and single-family homes,” Holland said.
Here are some preliminary design renderings for the project:
Neighboring residents concerned with high-rise apartments
Watercrest Landing residents were primarily concerned with any significant traffic increases, especially along 89th Street to the north of the site; possible negative impacts to the property values of their homes as a result of the apartments; and even further crowding of the city-owned Black Hoof Park.
Some neighbors said they would have reconsidered moving into Watercrest Landing had they known that high-rise apartments were a possibility for the neighboring site just west of the subdivision.
“My husband and I moved from Overland Park where they are overrun with five-story apartment buildings,” said Cheryl Miller, a neighboring resident, noting that they purchased their home on the assumption that the area would develop exclusively into single-family homes.
Plans adjusted following decreased interest in office spaces
The city’s future land use map had anticipated a development of greater density than single-family homes to the west of Watercrest Landing North. However, the proposed apartment and townhome uses are not consistent with the future land use plan, which had planned for potential office uses.
Brick Owens of C. Brick Owens LLC on the development team said office spaces are low in demand, due to market changes and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic pushing professionals to work from home.
The planning commission unanimously recommended approval of eight out of nine items on the development, including a concept plan for the site; a preliminary plan for the Copper Creek Apartments and Townhomes on the north end; and rezoning required for almost all components of the project.
The commission voted 8-1 to recommend approval of rezoning for the high-rise apartments.
Commissioner Jason Leib cast the single dissenting vote. Leib had raised concerns about the location and higher density of the high-rise apartments and the increased traffic it would generate. Owens said the high-rise apartments must be located on the flattest portion of the site, which is the northwestern corner.
“We’re still talking about a very large, very dense project in an area that abuts single-family homes that… it’s more to me, I think, than what we had seen in the past, what we planned,” Leib said.
The Lenexa City Council will consider this item Aug. 18.