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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — After months of debate, the Overland Park Planning Commission is recommending approval for plans to create a new apartment complex on the Deer Creek Golf Course. 

On Monday, the commission voted 6-4 to approve the developers request to rezone roughly 11 acres of land on the Deer Creek Golf Course from a Single-Family Residential District (R-1), to a Planned High-Rise Apartment District (RP-6).

GLDC LLC intends to scale back the perimeter of the Deer Creek Golf Course to create a new apartment complex. 

Rezone Map for Deer Creek Golf Course and proposed apartment complex.

During the public hearing, roughly a dozen area residents spoke against the proposed development. 

Steve Hill said he feels if the developer intends to request tax incentives to develop the property, the city would be rewarding poor maintenance of the existing course. 

“A vote for this rezone immediately, build-out or not, improperly transfers millions of dollars in assets away from our homeowners into the hands of this absentee landlord; Punishing long-time homeowners and rewarding this landowner who has only added blight to the golf course,” Hill said.  

Joyce Goldstein said she feels the developer doesn’t fully intend to upgrade the existing golf course once the proposed apartment complex is built. 

“I don’t believe we should roll the dice and gamble on a project with such big stakes,” Goldstein said. “Once zoning is changed to R-6 in this area, future R-6 zonings for the entire golf course that’s not in a floodplain will more easily follow. If the golf course fails, I do not believe the developers truly want to maintain or rebuild the golf course and keep it in the long-term.” 

The commission unanimously approved a revised preliminary development plan for the property and a special use permit allowing the developer to operate a golf pro shop on the property. 

The revised plan suggests splitting one of the proposed apartment buildings into two with a 60 foot plaza in the center.

Under the revised plan submitted by the developer, one of the original three apartment buildings will be split into two separate spaces for a total of four buildings on the property.

These two buildings in the northeast portion of the property will be four stories in height and be connected by an underground parking garage. The buildings will be separated by a 60 foot gap that will acts as a plaza between the apartment complex and the golf course.

According to city documents, this change will decrease the total number of units on the property from 224 apartments to 220.

The revised plan shows the lower level of one of the buildings will house a leasing area and clubhouse. The lower level of the second building will include a 7,500 square foot golf pro shop. This proposal increases the size of the shop by roughly 2,500 square feet compared to the proposal submitted in December.  

Amenities for the property include a clubhouse, swimming pool, picnic areas, pocket park, pedestrian path and a fitness area.

The developer has not proposed any changes for the remaining two apartment buildings on the property. A total of 459 parking spaces are proposed for the apartment development and golf course.

Bob Johnson with Polsinelli Law Firm spoke on behalf of the applicant Monday afternoon. 

“With all of these changes the plan still presents the solution the enables the course owner to $5-6 million in stream stabilization, then enhance the course with $1-3 million of capital improvements and bring it back up to the championship level it deserves to be,”  Johnson said.

Johnson said if the project is not approved, any alternative proposals for the property would not include streambank improvements for Tomahawk Creek. 

“I feel like, number one it’s inappropriate for us [residents] to be coming with other options for what they [the developer] should do with their rundown golf course. I also think they are not willing to entertain anything, because this is a land play that really just lines his [the developer’s] pockets,” resident Jill Schram said. 

The project will now progress to the Overland Park City Council for final review.