The Retreat on the Prairie, a mixed-use residential and commercial development proposed near K-10 and Ridgeview, got the go-ahead from Lenexa city leaders this week.
After some lengthy discussion about the project Tuesday, the Lenexa City Council voted 5-1 to approve rezoning the site from agricultural to commercial and high-density residential, as well as a companion preliminary plan for the residential portion of the project.
The council also voted 6-0 to approve a concept plan for the commercial portion of the development.
Councilmember Bill Nicks voted in dissent on the rezoning and residential preliminary plan, and Mayor Mike Boehm cast his vote in support of the project. Councilmember Tom Nolte abstained from voting and discussion, citing a conflict of interest. Councilmember Joe Karlin was absent.
Here is another design rendering of the project via NSPJ Architects:
Debate over apartments in western Lenexa
The majority of councilmembers and the mayor shared support for the project, in part, because they see it as fitting in well with that developing area in southwestern Lenexa.
Some councilmembers also said the project would help the city provide a diverse housing stock.
“It’s all of the things that we as Lenexa have done,” said outgoing Councilmember Mandy Stuke. “I just kind of want to bring it to the forefront that I think this is really a good use of the space.
“I’m pleased to see that we have different types of housing for all, young to old, and I think this is going to fit another type of Lenexan that may not have this type of option, our empty nesters. People’s lifestyles are somewhat changing. I think this will only enhance and bring new Lenexans to come to love our city even more.”
On the other hand, Nicks said he opposed the residential portion of the project because he doesn’t want to see more apartments being built in Lenexa.
In particular, he said he wanted to see apartments concentrated in the developing Lenexa City Center area near I-435 and West 87th Street Parkway.
“I love the commercial [development] on that intersection, just really good,” Nicks said. “But I think we’re being tempted to lose our … suburbia feel by building apartments. Over time, I feel that apartments just don’t hold up as well as single-family and other less dense multiple family. I don’t think we should want apartments out in what is really a nice nature area.”
About Mill Creek Trail and traffic growth on Ridgeview Road
Magi Tilton, planning and development administrator for Lenexa, said the city will require public access through the site from Ridgeview Road to the Mill Creek Trail.
Councilmembers and city staff also expressed the importance in protecting trees and a streamway going through the site.
The site plans must also include accommodations for a future traffic signal to be built at the access point on the northwest portion of the project along Ridgeview Road, Tilton added.
The project still requires approval from the city on final plans before construction can begin.