By Kathy Feist
After a six-hour meeting with 80 Leawood residents restlessly crowding City Hall on December 8th, the Leawood City Council decided not to vote on a rezoning request for Cameron’s Court , a development planned at 135th and State Line Rd. Instead, at 11:45 pm, a weary council voted to punt the decision to Monday, January 3rd, 2022. The delay would give developer Rick Oddo time to work with city planners to make the project more palatable to opposing neighborhood groups. “You are 80 percent there,” said Ward 1 Council Member Andrew Osman.
The Cameron’s Court mixed use development contains over 100 acres–almost a mile long following the north side of 135th St. from State Line to Pawnee Ln. and north following 133rd St. The proposed mixed use development includes 660 apartments, 82 brownstones, 32 twin villas, 29 single family homes, 40 condos, in addition to retail, office and green space. The grand total, not counting a 100-unit assisted living space, would consist of 843 living units, most of which were located on the western half of the property.
Oddo Development came into the meeting with the recommended approval of the City Planning Committee. The housing density numbers were compliant with the 135th Street Community Plan. Two traffic studies had shown there would be minor uptick in traffic. A letter from the Blue Valley School district assured they were capable of dealing with a growing population if there was any. A Utah study was cited showing that property values increased when new, attractive housing was constructed nearby. (This study was later contested.)
Oddo’s team stressed the changes they had made to meet the demands of residents: the density has been lowered to 7.26 dwelling units per acre (15 is allowed), the park had been increased in size, the number of apartment units had decreased from 766 to 660, the villas had increased from 18 to 32, the height of the apartments had decreased from six to four stories, restaurants were moved closer to 135th St., more single family homes were added.
Nevertheless, opponents remained unimpressed. They came armed with a petition of 1005 signatures opposing Cameron’s Court. Hundreds of emails and letters were sent to city council members explaining why. Thirty-three residents were allowed public testimony. Their concerns ranged from density to traffic to outdoor restrooms and the definition of mixed use development. What most would like to see is a development of single family homes.
The property is owned by Robert Regnier and is currently zoned for agriculture. Oddo Development and Regnier would like to see the property rezoned for Mixed Use.
This was the eleventh meeting in two years regarding the oversized project.