Frustration boiled over Monday as a half dozen residents of the Nall Hills neighborhood approached the Overland Park planning commission with complaints about traffic, the flood plain, a portable toilet at Nall Park and the nearby Top Golf driving range.
The addition of a QuikTrip to the mix proved to be the final straw for some, who put in impassioned objections to the convenience store and gas station that has been requested for the northeast corner of 107th Street and Nall Avenue, in the Highlands Village development.
Resident Pat McGrath asked that the commission delay a decision on the QuikTrip, saying he doubted the accuracy of the traffic study.
“If you don’t do that, my recommendations would be a no vote because you owe this residential neighborhood one after Top Golf. You dramatically changed our residential neighborhood,” McGrath said to applause. “Everybody knows it’s going to ruin the character of the neighborhood.”
Traffic on Nall was the concern most directly related to the proposal, but neighbors made it clear their unhappiness has been increasing over a series of problems and decisions dating back years to commercial development in the area just north of Interstate 435.
“Top Golf has been hell for us,” said Ann Elizabeth Cole, adding that the quiet residential area has changed dramatically in the 30 years she has lived there.
“We see our neighborhood as something to be valued and protected and you guys see it as a way to generate more dollars,” she said.
Neighbor Alan Jacobson said the QuikTrip is inconsistent with the area. “It’s just going to cheapen the neighborhood, frankly,” he said. “Top Golf already is an eyesore.”
Stephanie Trugly said the practice range plus apartments and commercial buildings have caused an increase in sirens and crashes. She and others said traffic has become so thick at times that it’s difficult to ever make a left turn on Nall.
They also noted that there are numerous other QuikTrips nearby, including one at 107th Street and Roe Boulevard. But attorney Greg Musil, who represented the applicant, said that the store isn’t expected to generate destination traffic. Many of the customers will be people who are already driving in the area and just decide to stop for gasoline, he said.
The QuikTrip was one of two neighborhood items on the planning commission agenda. Some of the same residents stood up to question the city’s planned reconstruction of a parking lot at Nall Park, a few blocks north at 10443 Nall Avenue.
The city plans to reconfigure and repave the lot, which would remove a small part of it from the Indian Creek floodway. The changes would add about five parking spaces and change the bicycle trail access.
Neighbors of the park questioned the changes, noting that Top Golf patrons sometimes park in the lot. They said they didn’t want to lose any more green space and worried that widening the lot would result in car lights shining into the windows of homes that back up to the park.
Some also said a portable toilet at the park looks “tacky” and that some other restroom facilities should be arranged. The toilet was not a part of the parking lot plans, however.
Planning commissioners ultimately gave their blessing to the parking lot and QuikTrip. Both items will move on to the full city council for a final decision.