OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — In February, FOX4 told you about a controversy in Overland Park over the use of chip seal to pave the city’s streets.
The Overland Park City Council approved to move forward with the project, and now 24 home owners associations are banding together to fight it.
Chip seal is a low-cost pavement method that adds rocks into asphalt or cement to keep the pavement in good condition. It results in a rough surface and often sheds loose stones. Overland Park is the only city in Johnson County that uses this pavement method.
Sheila Rodriguez has been vocal in her opposition to chip seal because of injuries children have suffered while playing in the streets and damages to property.
“We’ve received a different explanation as to why chip seal will continue depending upon who we speak with with the city,” Rodriguez said. “The one thing that’s been consistent with each person that we’ve spoken to has been that they did not believe that this was a citywide issue and it was just isolated to my neighborhood.”
“We have a few residents who are very aware and very outspoken, but they felt like lone voices,” said David Duntz, president of the Lionsgate HOA.
Duntz was of 24 Overland Park HOA presidents who signed a letter to the city asking that the 2021 budget be revisited so the 151 lane miles scheduled for chip seal this summer can be repaved with an alternate material.
The 24 HOAs that so far have joined the push to stop the use of chip seal represent over 5,000 residents.
“This is much larger than any individual voices, and we are very experienced of the dangers and the problems that chip seal poses,” Duntz said.
Overland Park City Council President Curt Skoog voted for the continued use of chip seal and supports moving forward with the repavement plan.
“The benefits of chip seal are that we can protect lane mile after lane mile for an economic and efficient rate,” Skoog said.
Skoog is aware of residents’ concerns, and that’s one of the reason why the city council voted to start a Public Works Advisory Council.
“The one thing I’ve learned on the city council is I can’t make everybody happy,” Skoog said. “It’s a balance, and that’s why we started this infrastructure advisory group to take a fresh look at how we’re maintaining and building our residential streets.”
Rodriguez would prefer to see the city begin the repavement process with what she calls a better alternative and do less of the roads to start.
“It’s an issue that needs their immediate attention,” she said. “We can’t wait for this advisory council they formed to come back with some sort of a proposal 12 months plus from now.”
The entire city council is not in favor of moving forward with this effort. Councilman Faris Farassati would like to see the city take a different approach.
“I don’t understand what is the resistance to listening to the voice of the people,” Farassati asked. “It is clear and has been clear for 15 years. We have heard it, we have the money for it. The cost is either comparable to or less than chip seal if you apply at like neighboring cities.”
Unless opponents can figure out a way to stop it, 151 lane miles are set to be repaved with chip seal starting June 1.