By a narrow vote this week, the Shawnee Planning Commission advanced plans for Creekside Ridge, a townhome-style residential project near K-7 Highway on the western side of the city that developers say will help ease the area’s dearth of affordable housing stock.
But some single-family homeowners near the proposed site close to Mill Valley High School pushed back against the plan, raising concerns about the development’s impact on their property values and traffic, among other issues.
Stark Enterprises, a real estate development company based in Cleveland, Oh., is planning to build 146 residential units in 36 attached townhome-style buildings on about 33 acres in the 6300 block of Silverheel Street.
After a lengthy discussion and hearing comments from neighboring single-family homeowners who largely opposed the project, the Shawnee Planning Commission on Wednesday voted 5-3 to approve a preliminary development plan for the project as well as rezoning the site.
Commissioners David Aber, Bruce Bienhoff and Joe Van Walleghem voted in dissent, citing concerns that the project lacked specifics on architectural design and elevations to shield the view from the nearby single-family neighborhoods.
Commissioners Genise Luecke, Carol Norman and Steven Wise were absent.
The site had been partially zoned for “planned unit development mixed residential” as well as “planned industrial.” The rezoning makes the entire site fully “planned unit development mixed residential.”
The Shawnee City Council is slated to consider the project at its July 26 meeting.
Stacie Schmidt, vice president of marketing for Stark Enterprises, said they hope to begin construction in December, and complete work by May 2023 to begin leasing the units.
Kevin Tubbesing, the developer for the project, said the development is designed for “renters by choice.”
Creekside Ridge will comprise 146 units with 28 one-bedroom, 82 two-bedroom and 36 three-bedroom units that are all built for rent, according to the developer’s proposal. A mix of ranch-style and 2-story townhome units are spread across a mix of duplex, 4-plex and 6-plex plans.
Kevin Tubbesing, a Shawnee developer hired by Stark Enterprises to develop the site, said the project is designed for a relatively new demographic the real estate community calls “renter by choice,” particularly people seeking their first home or downsizing after retirement.
“Kansas City, as I think some of you know, is at the highest housing crisis in our history,” he said. “Part of this is because we have relied so heavily on single-family detached housing as really one of the only available products. This project, single-family attached housing, is needed in our community. It is difficult with extremely hard topography, power lines and loads of stormwater that comes cruising through the middle of it.”
Each residential unit will have a front porch and rear patio space with attached two-car garage.
Stark Enterprises indicated that the project will be built with a quality design “while still being affordable for the average suburban resident.”
Here are the following amenities listed in the project narrative:
- Clubhouse with party room
- Leasing offices
- Coworking space
- Fitness center
- Outdoor grilling and eating terrace
- Swimming pool and lounge area
- Multi-sport court for basketball and pickleball
- Centralized covered mail kiosk
Tubbesing added that more than one-third of the site will be dedicated to open green space.
Here is an additional design rendering of the project:
Original project plans for the site had contemplated building a mixed-use development of single-family residential, assisted living, office and commercial uses, a school, public park and multi-family townhomes.
Debra Hoge and other neighboring homeowners raised concerns with the project. She wanted to make sure the development looks nice and will be well maintained.
Most single-family homeowners who opposed the project were concerned the project would negatively impact their property values. They also wanted to make sure the properties were maintained by the owner.
Others worried about traffic congestion and overdevelopment in the area. Still others raised concerns the design of the sides and rear of the townhomes (which would face their single-family homes) are of lesser quality than the front.
“I know they’re going to build them, and I’ve come to terms with that, but I would still like to see something that is going to be pleasant and pleasing that I’m going to be proud to live next to,” said Debra Hoge, who lives nearby on Anderson Street. “And the way they look right now, I just don’t see that side looking like anything I’m going to take people out and go, ‘Oh look at these beautiful townhomes next to me. Look at these 6-plexes.’ That’s a lot.”
Tubbesing argued that because of the downhill grade of about 10 feet, the neighboring homeowners will only see the rooftops of the multi-family homes. Furthermore, he plans to use “heavy, four-season landscaping” to protect privacy between the single-family and multi-family homes.
A recording of the meeting is available below and on the city’s website. Discussion begins at 2:08:04.