Shawnee deals blow to Stag’s Garden townhome project near downtown, developer withdraws plan

Stag's Garden

After lengthy debate, the Shawnee City Council on Monday rejected a townhome project by local developer Kevin Tubbesing. Stag's Garden in its current version would have been located in the 5500 block of Nieman Road, just north of downtown. Above, a design rendering of the project.

Shawnee city leaders on Monday dealt a blow to Stag’s Garden, a townhome-style development proposed to be built on Nieman Road just north of downtown.

After lengthy debate and pushback from neighboring homeowners — plus consideration of a valid protest petition against the project signed by 58% of neighboring residents, or about 30 property owners — the Shawnee City Council on Monday voted down the project.

Heading up the project was Kevin Tubbesing, a Shawnee-based developer who has built other projects in the downtown area, including Sixty16 Apartments and Stag’s Creek along Shawnee Mission Parkway.

The $11 million Stag’s Garden project would have comprised 26 townhome units in seven two-story attached townhome-style buildings on about 3 acres in the 5500 block of Nieman Road.

Tubbesing had initially planned for 28 but removed two units to accommodate city regulations. On the site site currently stands a home built in the 1930s, along with an unattached garage.

Another design rendering of the Stag’s Garden project.

“We came here to do good; we didn’t come here for a fight,” Tubbesing said, emphasizing that he made efforts to work with the surrounding neighborhood and that the project is a good fit. “We have no desire to have a conflict with the neighbors.”

Some councilmembers shared positive comments about the project. However, because of the valid protest petition, Stag’s Garden required seven council votes in favor in order to pass.

The city council on Monday voted 5-3 in favor. Councilmembers Eric Jenkins, Mike Kemmling and Tammy Thomas voted in dissent. Mayor Michelle Distler was absent.

“I’ve not seen any data indicating that we need additional multi-family right now in downtown Shawnee,” Thomas said. “So do we, right now, need this? Just because we have a piece of property doesn’t mean we need to fill it up, does it?”

Neighboring homeowners said they were largely concerned with traffic safety and congestion issues that could be created by the development, along with concerns over ownership versus renting of Stag’s Garden’s units, and a potentially negative impact to their property values.

They also argued that the multi-family project is a bad fit for their single-family neighborhood.

“I, myself, kind of feel like the townhomes, they stick out like a bright red crayon in a box of pastels,” said Brenda Blake, who spoke on behalf of several residents. “Now, I’m not opposed to townhomes. I’m not opposed to apartments or duplexes; we need those. I just don’t feel that they need to be right smack in the middle of a single-family neighborhood.”

After the vote, the city council debated whether to remand the project to the Shawnee Planning Commission for reconsideration.

However, city leaders suggested that the project would probably still be rejected by the city council in its current version, which means the developer would instead have to go through the application process again in order to submit new plans for the site.

As a result, Tubbesing withdrew his application.

“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the decision of the council and the feelings of the neighbors and will return with a more compatible residential product for the area,” Tubbesing told the Post.

A handful of residents raised the alarm about traffic safety issues and several vehicle crashes after the city completed a “road diet” down from four to three lanes on Nieman Road.

Some city leaders indicated interest in addressing these issues at a separate date.

Below is a recording of the meeting. Discussion begins at 1:24:26.