The Turner Vista project near 72nd and State Avenue received approval to initiate a rezoning process at the Thursday night Unified Government Commission meeting.
The property is south of State Avenue and west of the Turner Diagonal, and includes the Redwood Gardens townhomes area.
There are plans to build 280 upscale market-rate apartments on the 38.6-acre site. Tax increment financing for the project was previously approved.
The developer of the project, Steve Wood, requested the north part of the property to be rezoned to planned general business district, and the south part to planned apartment district, according to agenda information. A change of zoning was expected to expedite the project, the agenda information stated.
Currently, there are still a few of the parcels that have not been acquired by the project, according to agenda information.
There was no discussion of this item at the May 31 UG meeting. Commissioner Jane Philbrook recused herself and did not vote, as she owns property in the district. The request for initiating rezoning passed 8-0.
Gender amendments to anti-discrimination ordinance
Tonight the UG Commission also approved amendments to its anti-discrimination ordinance. The amendments add gender identity and sexual orientation to the other protected categories, which are race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry.
The ordinance prohibits discriminatory practices in housing, including rental housing, and places of public accommodations.
There was no discussion about this amendment.
Woodlands as a vehicle parking lot
A special use permit was approved for the temporary use of land to store passenger cars and pickup trucks at The Woodlands, 9700 Leavenworth Road.
The 56.27-acre property once was a horse and dog racing track, with a large parking lot, that ceased operation in 2008. There are still plans for a racetrack there, but the owners are waiting for legislation to be passed in Topeka, according to agenda information.
The City Planning Commission put several restrictions on the permit at a previous meeting, to limit it to passenger cars and pickup trucks. UPS tractor-trailer storage is not allowed. Several other restrictions are in place. Only Leavenworth Road will be used.
As many as 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles could be parked there, according to agenda information.
There was no UG Commission discussion of this permit, which was approved with the Planning Commission recommendations.
Transit routes approved
The commission also approved the creation of a permanent transit route to serve the Amazon fulfilment center, and a new 18th Street transit route from Quindaro Boulevard to Roeland Park. There was no discussion on it.
According to the plan outlined in the agenda, the 106 Quindaro and 114 Amazon routes will be combined, saving about $200,000. The new route would start Oct. 1. The new route eliminates a long layover time at the 47th Street transit stop. A bus stop at Kansas City Kansas Community College would be removed under the plan.
The savings from the Amazon route would be used to start the 18th Street route, scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2019, according to agenda information.
Agricultural zoning issue
Several minutes were spent discussing a resident on South 72nd Street who wanted to keep a storage container on his agriculturally zoned land.
While the UG planning director said containers are not permitted in Kansas City, Kansas, the UG’s attorney said on agriculturally zoned properties, it is not quite as clear. The UG may not be able to regulate them if they are used for agricultural purposes.
The resident, Steven Marbut, said the container was being used for agricultural purposes.
A neighbor, Michael Feitl, opposed the permit for the container.
Commissioner Jane Philbrook favored sending the issue back to the Planning Commission for more work. Commissioner Melissa Bynum agreed, especially because the information provided in her agenda was not complete and did not include minutes from the Planning Commission meeting. Also, she was concerned that the applicant said he had tried to call the UG in advance and ascertain whether putting a container there was allowed.
The vote was 7-2 to send it back to the Planning Commission, with Commissioners Jim Walters and Gayle Townsend voting no.
Police grant application
Major Michael Vivian of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department discussed a grant application for a Strategies for Policing Innovation Program – Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant for $700,000.
The grant is for innovative, data-driven approaches to challenges facing police officers, and is for confronting increases in crime.
Operation Icon zones are neighborhood-based, in 10-block areas, Major Vivian said. The grant funds would be used for overtime for police officers, as well as for equipment for officers, he said.
This program would put added patrols in “hot spot” crime areas, changing every 30 to 60 days.
The commission voted 9-0 to approve sending in the grant application.
Several other issues also were approved at the UG Commission meeting, including an agreement with the Housing Authority to apply for the Choice Neighborhoods Planning and Action Grant for Juniper Gardens; and a one-year agreement to pay Bonner Springs $106,651 to provide street maintenance and $27,329 for emergency services to the unincorporated area of Loring.