Overland Park commission postpones decision on Deer Creek development

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Rendering of proposed Deer Creek project

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Plans to scale back the Deer Creek Golf Course to make way for a new apartment complex will be tabled until next year. 

On Monday, the Overland Park Planning Commission voted unanimously to continue a proposal to create a new 224-unit apartment complex on the course until its next meeting on Jan. 10. 

The applicant, GLDC LLC, is requesting roughly 11 acres of land on the Deer Creek Golf Course be rezoned from R-1, Single-Family Residential District, to RP-6, Planned High-Rise Apartment District.

If approved, the developer intends to reduce the boundary of the 18- hole Deer Creek Golf Course to make way for a new apartment complex. Hole one would be reduced from a par four to a par three, and hole 10 would be shortened in length.

The proposed apartment complex would include 24 studio apartments, 132 one-bedroom apartments and 68 two-bedroom apartments spread out between three buildings. 

Developers said the rezoning request is linked to a streambank stabilization program for Tomahawk Creek. 

Bob Johnson with Polsinelli Law Firm spoke on behalf of the applicant Monday night. Johnson said before the apartment complex can open to residents, the developer must invest $5-6 million in streambank improvements to address erosion along the creek. 

“Those repairs are absolutely critical to the ongoing operation of the golf course. They are heavily impacting the golf course today,” Johnson said. “With the rate of erosion that is occurring, they will ultimately make the golf course inoperable, and it will also impact the city’s trail system and adjacent private properties.”

Johnson said some areas of the creek would require more structured retaining walls to prevent future flooding, but did not go into detail about the extent of streambank repairs. 

Residents hold up signs in protest of the proposed development during the Planning Commission meeting Monday night.

During a three-hour public hearing, more than 20 residents shared their thoughts on the proposed project. 

Mary Kauffman said she supports the project because she believes it will allow the developer to restore the creek and the golf course.

“I fear that if the plan is not approved and the golf course goes out of existence and the state of the creek continues to degrade, that the surrounding property values will then be negatively impacted,” Kauffman said.

Jeff Coppaken said he doesn’t support the project because he feels the developer isn’t caring for the property and doesn’t feel a new apartment complex would improve the current conditions.  

“All you have to do in walking this course is look at overflowing trash cans, look at debris from trees that can be picked up by hand, not overflow from the creek. This is willful neglect, and we would be rewarding the owner for their willful neglect,” Coppaken said. 

The proposal shows the first building being located in the northwest corner of the property. That building would be five stories in height and include 105 units.

The second building, located in the northeast portion of the property, would be four stories in height with 94 units and a 4,928-square-foot golf pro-shop on the first floor. Golf cart storage would also be provided below the patio for the golf pro shop on the eastern side of the building.

The third building would be three stories tall with 25 units. According to city documents, the third building would be located roughly 226 feet from the closest residential patio to the east.

Plans for a clubhouse, swimming pool, picnic areas, pocket park, pedestrian path and a fitness area are also included in the proposal. 

Mike Czinege said he feels there isn’t transitional zoning to provide a buffer between the proposed project and established single-family homes to the east.

“A high-density apartment complex of this magnitude should not be forced onto a 30-year-old residential community by permitting zoning and variance changes that are unprecedented to unfairly benefit this developer. This project is the epitome of spot zoning,” Czinege said. 

Parking will be available for residents in the lower level of the 105- and 94-unit buildings. Residents in the third building will use individual garages to the west. The project includes 265 surface parking stalls and 177 structured parking garage stalls. Roughly 102 parking stalls will be available for the golf course.

In addition to the existing entrance onto 133rd Street, one new right-in/right-out access is proposed along Metcalf Avenue approximately 435 feet north of 133rd Street.

The planning commission is scheduled to review the rezoning request, special use permit and development plan for the development at the next regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. If the project is approved by the commission it will progress to the Overland Park City Council for final review.

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