Divided Leawood City Council approves plans for controversial Cameron’s Court project

The Cameron's Court mixed-used development will sit on more than 116 acres of land south of 133rd Street and west of State Line Road. A revised plan presented Monday night would have 843 dwelling units in total. The complex would have luxury apartment, single-family homes, assisted living facility, retail and office space. Image via Leawood city documents.

After two years of debate and multiple development plans, the Leawood City Council officially approved the rezoning and preliminary plan for the controversial mixed-use development known as Cameron’s Court at its meeting Monday night.

Set to span more than 116 acres, the project will reside near 135th Street and State Line Road and bring a combination of residential, retail and office space to the area.

A color rendering of the revised Cameron’s Court project approved by the Leawood City Council Monday. Much of the commercial and retail elements of the project are on the east side along State Line Road, with the residential parts of the project spanned out to the west along 135th Street to the south. Image via Klover Architects.

Below are the details about the latest iteration of the Cameron’s Court plan and changes made from the previous plan presented to the council in early December:

  • Over 1.3 million square feet of residential space, with a reduction in 10 residential dwelling units from a total of 843 to 833, including:
    • 648 luxury apartment units,
    • 26 single-family residential units,
    • 12 duplex buildings totaling 24 units
    • and a 100-unit assisted living facility
  • Roughly 114,000 square feet of retail space, including:
    • 50,000 square feet for a grocery store and
    • two drive-thru restaurants at the intersection of 134rd Street and State Line Road
  • More than 263,000 square feet of office space
  • Over 20 acres of green space

Concerns of neighboring residents

Much like the six other meetings at which this project has come before the council, several neighbors showed up Monday to voice their vehment opposition to Cameron’s Court.

In addition to the same concerns about density and traffic that residents have expressed at previous meetings, another prominent concern brought up by residents was a lack of retail and other mixed-use elements in the space.

“[This plan] doesn’t have anything that’s going to draw the residents of Leawood to it,” said Duane Opfer, vice president of the Wilshire Place Homeowners Association, which represents a subdivision just north of the proposed development. “This is supposed to complement the surrounding area. There’s not many restaurants or other things that we’d like to see there.”

However, representatives from Oddo Development, which is behind the project, argued against adding more mixed-use developments into the plan.

“There’s some comments like ‘Well, we don’t think it is a mixed-use development, we’d like you have more retail and other mixed uses,’ but then on the flip side of that they’re complaining about traffic,” said Curtis Holland with the Polsinelli law firm, who is representing Oddo.

Holland said adding more mixed-use aspects, such as restaurants, would only result in bringing additional traffic to the area.

Council’s vote

After more than five hours of testimony and discussion Monday, the council ultimately approved the new development on a 5-4 vote, with Mayor Peggy Dunn casting the tie-breaking vote.

Councilmembers who opposed the development said due to the strong opposition of the neighbors and their own concerns with how Cameron’s Court would affect the surrounding area, they could not vote in favor of the project.

However, those who did favor the project said this plan was a good baseline for what the project will turn into as it gets further into development.

“I think this is going to be a fantastic project,” Councilmember James Azeltine said. “Even if we approve this tonight the project is going to change because, like the applicant was saying, they need to have a plan approved in order to market a plan. Once that starts happening, then you’re probably going to see more mixed use.”

Ultimately, councilmembers Debra Filla, Andrew Osman, Jim Rawlings and Azeltine voted for Cameron’s Court, with Dunn the deciding vote.

Councilmembers Mary Larson, Chuck Sipple, Lisa Harrison and Julie Cain voted against it.

There is no current date set for when construction on Cameron’s Court will begin.