Shawnee Planning Commission OKs rezoning, preliminary plan for revised Bellmont Promenade development
After a lengthy discussion, the Shawnee Planning Commission recently approved rezoning and a preliminary development plan for the revised Bellmont Promenade project, set for the southwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer.
Those items will soon be voted on by the Shawnee City Council at a later date.
At its meeting on July 2, the commission voted 6-4 to forward the items to the council, with stipulations for the preliminary plan being that the setback for the southwest corner of the mixed use project be increased to 40 feet and the southwest portion of the apartment complex be knocked down to four stories from five.
The rezoning is proposed to go from commercial highway to planned unit development mixed use.
The Bellmont Promenade project is proposed to feature first floor retail and office space, as well as high-end apartments.
The pedestrian-friendly development, designed for millennials to empty nesters, will consist of 228 residential apartment units and 13,900 square-feet of retail and office space in a multi-story building, which was proposed to range in height from four stories on most of it, to five stories on the west portion.
It will also feature at least 12,000 square-feet of commercial and retail on pad sites, which will include a restaurant pavilion similar to the one at Ward Parkway Shopping Center.
The development will also include surface parking for 132 vehicles, 52 garage spaces within the building, as well as a clubhouse and storage area.
The current mixed-use plan is vastly different from the original one passed last year, which only included retail and restaurants.
Developers changed the plan earlier this year to include a residential component, to keep up with the current mixed-use trend.
At the meeting last week, both commissioners and residents in attendance voiced similar concerns about building height of the apartment complex.
Many felt five stories on the west portion was simply too high, since the complex is set to sit near a rural-type residential community.
Several residents who spoke out during the public hearing told the commission that for the most part, they support the project. They are simply concerned about the proximity of the mixed-use building to their neighborhood, plus the five-story building height on the southwest corner.
Shawnee resident Alan Godsy pointed out to the commission the 60-foot apartments will sit on top of a massive hill and tower 107.8 feet above nearby Bell Road homes.
“This is super high and it’s really weird for our area,” he said. “This is the sightline we will see every day from the end of our driveway.”
He told the commission he believed since his neighborhood was rural residential, there should be a more appropriate transition from high-density apartments to his home.
He also pointed out that he and many of his neighbors were worried about conserving their property values in the face of such a project.
Another Shawnee resident, Dusty Keaton, told the commission his home is located 30 feet away from the south boundary of the proposed development, directly in line with the future apartments, which will tower above him.
“The people living in the apartments will look directly into my home, backyard and patio,” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair nor do I think that’s reasonable just because a developer planned to have a maximum number of apartments. Please put some limitations on this part of the apartments to prevent this.”
A couple of the residents who live near the project confirmed with the commission that they have met with the Bellmont Promenade development team a few times and they are hopeful there can be changes made to the plan to address their concerns.
Greg Musil, the attorney for the project, acknowledged the developer is willing to try and lower the height and increase the setback distance.
During their discussion, many commission members agreed the five-story height gave them concern.
Commissioner John Montgomery was one of several on the board who drove out to Bell Road and spent time with the neighbors living adjacent to the site.
“They do not, in my opinion, exaggerate about the impact and the height,” he said. “One of the things I really respect about the neighbors is that they’re not opposing the project, they’re looking for solutions and they’re willing to compromise and I appreciate that.”
He also stated that like many of his fellow commissioners, he supports mixed use development in Shawnee and understands how important the Bellmont Promenade project is for the city, but he hopes the developer has a good solution to modify the setback and building height.
At its meeting, the commission also approved a revised site plan for the northern retail and restaurant component of the Bellmont Promenade development.