A narrowly divided Leawood Planning Commission approved the rezoning and preliminary plan for a new single family subdivision called Macallister Place at their Tuesday night meeting.
The plan is to build 63 single-family homes on roughly 25 acres of land on the southeast corner of the busy intersection of 135th Street and Roe Avenue.
Lot sizes would range from between 9,700 to 24,000 square feet, with a median size of around 13,500 square feet.
Additional amenities include a dog park on the north side of the development closest to 135th Street.
Due to that proposed dog part being so close to the busy thoroughfare, a four-foot fence would sit along the north and west side of the neighborhood to create a buffer between the houses and the street.
Staff recommended against approval
Before the plan for Macallister Place came before the commission, Leawood staff had already recommended the commissioners deny the request for the proposed development.
Mark Klein, assistant to the director of Leawood Community Development, said the reason behind the recommendation for denial was due to the project deviating from the city’s Comprehensive Plan and 135th Street Community Plan.
Both plans called for this area to be used as mixed-use development with a combination of retail and office space.
“It’s never been shown as far as residential, at least back to 2000,” Klein said. “Staff also has some concerns just with regards to residential property up along a very busy street.”
However, developer John Peterson with McAllister Land Development argued that even though the project would deviate from those plans, there is still a need for single-family development in that area of southern Johnson County.
He said there is a growing market that wants to own a house but still be within walking distance to busy mixed-use areas.
“In our opinion, that corridor is not going to be a primarily commercial corridor,” Peterson said. “Our money stands on the fact that this piece of ground to fit into the mosaic of true mixed-use… isn’t to build more retail there.”
Peterson also argued Cameron’s Court, a development recently approved by the Leawood City Council that is set to be built a few blocks east along 135th Street near State Line Road, will bring more than enough mixed-use elements to 135th Street with its over 114,000 square feet of planned retail space.
After about an hour of discussion, the commission ultimately approved Macallister Place in a split 4-3 vote.
Commissioners who opposed the project said they could not vote in favor of the development due to its deviation from the city’s original plans for the area and concerns about having houses so close to a busy road.
“I just can’t think of an example of the single family housing right on top of 135th Street,” Commissioner David Coleman said. “With that, I think if we do put a single family development right along 135th, it doesn’t blend in.”
However, those who did favor the project said they agreed with the developer that there is a need for this type of housing along 135th Street.
“It may not be consistent with the 135th Street Plan, but… I can see where people would love to have access to a residential community right on that corner,” Commissioner Art Peterson said.
Ultimately, commissioners Mandi Hunter, Stacey Belzer, Liz Hoyt and Peterson voted for Macallister Place.
Commissioners Matt Block, Doug Stevens and Coleman voted against the new subdivision.
Plans for Macallister Place will be brought before the city council in the following months.