Archive for Monday, July 10, 2017

City Council set to vote on $19.5M in tax incentives for Bellmont Promenade today

Nearby residents express big concerns with the proposed large-scale development

File photo. Shawnee City Hall is located at 11110 Johnson Drive.

File photo. Shawnee City Hall is located at 11110 Johnson Drive.

July 10, 2017

This evening, the Shawnee City Council is set to vote on a $19.5 million incentive package for Bellmont Promenade, a large-scale shopping center proposed for the southwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road.

The tentative site plan for the $59 million project includes a 150,000 to 200,000 sq. ft. shopping strip, along with five to seven pad sites.

While some residents living in the area have expressed excitement about having new restaurants and shops nearby, others are not so optimistic.

Pat and Marlin Cooper, who live closest to the proposed development, have a few grave concerns.

Pat and Marlin Cooper, who live near the southwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road, are concerned about the upcoming Bellmont Promenade project.

Pat and Marlin Cooper, who live near the southwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road, are concerned about the upcoming Bellmont Promenade project.

They are worried about the drainage into their pond, the proximity of the buildings and their property value declining.

The Coopers, who have lived in their home since 1985, said when they moved into the area, there were no plans to develop the vast stretch of land adjacent to their 3.4 acre wooded property.

The area was less commercial and more peaceful back then.

Pat fondly recalls that where Target and Walmart now sit, there used to be a strawberry farm, houses and a little elementary school.

The couple understands there needs to be development at the southwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road and they’re not opposed to the project, they’re just worried about how it will affect their property.

Their biggest concern is about drainage into their large pond, which is roughly less than an acre, from the development and construction process.

“An engineer told us that the water the pond gets from the area of the proposed development will be contaminated and not sufficient to sustain it,” Pat told the Dispatch. “So, no more fish and no more fishing with grandchildren?”

With the development being so close, and a right turn exit proposed next to their driveway, the Coopers are also concerned about traffic making it difficult to leave their property safely.

They’re worried about noise, trash, and lights polluting their peaceful home.

“Instead of looking out our deck at trees full of birds, we will see concrete, trash dumpsters, and cars,” Pat said.

And finally, they are worried about their property value dropping dramatically.

When asked about the Cooper's issues, Keaton Knott, the chief development officer for Legacy Development, told the Dispatch his team has been working to address each concern.

He has met with the Coopers in person and he has talked to them through a series of emails.

As for the pond, he said the project’s engineers have concluded that contamination is not an eventuality.

“We are happy to provide the documentation when we have the detention fully designed in our construction drawings,” he said. “Keep in mind, we will need to satisfy all City codes and ordinances, and pollution of neighboring properties will not be acceptable to the City, nor us.”

In regards to traffic, Knott pointed out that independent traffic studies show the bulk of increased traffic comes from the north of the project, not the south.

He also said project leaders have offered to build a turnaround on the Cooper property.

And he thinks the project will ultimately benefit the couple because, “the Cooper property value will go up, not down, once zoned commercial.”

Pat told the Dispatch that while she appreciates the developers responding to her concerns, she just wishes she could see some documentation of their solutions before the council approves public financing for the project.

As for the project itself, Knott had told the Dispatch back in May that the tenant mix at Bellmont Promenade could be similar to other Legacy Development projects around the Kansas City area, such as Liberty Commons in the northland and Truman’s Marketplace in Grandview.

Liberty Commons shopping center includes an Academy Outdoor and Sports, a Natural Grocers and a Five Below.

Truman’s Marketplace includes a Burlington, Ross Dress for Less and a Shoe Carnival.

As for the pad sites, the hope is to attract a coffee or smoothie shop, a couple fast food restaurants, and sit-down restaurants which are not in Shawnee already.

“We want names that will pop,” Knott had said.

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