Some Overland Park homeowners not happy with new apartment complex plans

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Plans for a new apartment complex have homeowners near a popular golf course feeling uneasy.

Developers hope to turn part of Deer Creek Golf Club into a three-building apartment complex, something that doesn’t make longtime homeowners happy. Most of them learned about these plans from a postcard they received from Overland Park’s Planning office this week.

Homeowners in the upscale Deer Creek neighborhood, which sits near 133rd and Metcalf Avenue, want the homes and neighborhood they purchased.  One resident told FOX4 her worst fears were realized when she saw that postcard, since speculation about new development has been there for a long time.

“How many apartments do we actually need in this city?” Nancy Aks said rhetorically.

Aks and her loved ones have called Deer Creek their home for 30 years. She was upset, having read news of the plans for this development, which are available on the City of Overland Park website. EPC Real Estate, a Johnson County developer, wants to build 225 apartment dwellings on the property.

A spokesperson for EPC said the golf course would be modified slightly, and portions of the first and tenth holes on the golf course, as well as the present-day clubhouse, would be used for the new development. Plans call for two of the apartment buildings to be three stories high, and the other to be four stories. Aks said the height of those buildings will ruin the aesthetics of the neighborhood.

“It will potentially decrease our property values. This is a golf course neighborhood. Those of us on the golf course paid a premium for our lots to have that openness. This will change that considerably,” Aks said. “I’m very upset, and I’m upset that Overland Park is allowing this to happen.”

The Deer Creek neighborhood is home to roughly 225 single-family dwellings, which means the proposed apartments could double the population of that area. It’s considered a high-end neighborhood, in terms of property values. Austin Bradley, a vice-president with EPC Real Estate, cited studies that show population growth in Overland Park and an urgent need for new housing options.

“When you’re a leader in Overland Park, you should care about the residents and the neighborhoods. From what I’m seeing happening around here with all of these multidwelling buildings, there’s more and more of them going up. How many of them do we need?” Aks said.

Mike Czinege, a Deer Creek resident, complained the city is already overdeveloping with apartment complexes, and he doesn’t want more in his backyard. Czinege has lived in that neighborhood for more than 30 years as well. Czinege is also running for the mayoral slot in Overland Park.

“Developers are taking over our city, and the city council and zoning board are co-conspirators,” Czinege said on Thursday. “It’s not something we wanted, but if it’s going to have a detrimental effect on our home values that we invested in, we need to get something in return.”

Czinege explained that could mean asking the developer to invest in Deer Creek Golf Club, which has suffered from drainage issues and general deterioration for years. Czinege said the neighborhood depends on the golf course as a centralized hub of sorts. He and other residents said sprucing up Deer Creek Golf Club could help stabilize their property values. Bradley said preserving the golf course is a priority in this project, as well as protection for nearby creeks, streams and walking trails.

Homeowners can speak with the company in person at a public meeting on August 9.

The developer provided this statement to FOX4

The main purpose of our proposed Deer Creek project is to save the Deer Creek Golf Course and to mitigate the impacts of erosion caused by upstream runoff upon the course and surrounding public and private properties. Tomahawk Creek needs to be stabilized for the golf course to remain viable. The stabilization work will help prevent further erosion of the stream corridor, and consequently help protect the adjacent public city trail and surrounding single family homes.

Additionally, the Deer Creek project will deliver an in-demand new residential living option in Overland Park. This includes a total of approximately 225 high-quality, lodge inspired multi-family units. The Deer Creek project will be designed to complement the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Additionally, the new housing will help to save the Deer Creek Golf Course by producing revenue to fund improvements to the stream corridor.

Our number one priority throughout this entire process and project is discussions with neighbors and residents of the Deer Creek community, HOA representatives and city leaders. Throughout the upcoming City of Overland Park process, we look forward to talking to neighbors and residents of the Deer Creek community and answering any questions they might have regarding the project or the golf course.

Austin Bradley, VP of Development with EPC Real Estate Group

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