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Overland Park planning commission to review revised plan for Deer Creek apartments

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Posted at 7:12 AM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 08:12:34-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The developer proposing to build apartments along Deer Creek Golf Course in Overland Park, Kansas, will present a revised concept to the city’s planning commission Monday afternoon.

Austin Bradley, executive vice president with EPC Real Estate, said the new plan splits the longest of the three proposed apartments buildings in half with a 60-foot wide plaza and staircase which connects the parking lot to the practice putting green.

The change is a direct response to the planning commissioners’ request when they first saw the proposal in December 2021.

“[The gap] is kind of right in the center portion where it will be impactful to those to the east,” Bradley said. “We were intentional about where to place that gap and I think it's really effective. It's a better project now, no doubt about that.”

The original plan called for “Building B” to be about 490 feet long. Now, it’s split into Buildings B1 and B2, which will be 230 and 240 feet long respectively. There are four fewer apartment units in this revised plan.

Some people living directly east of the proposed apartment complex site near West 133rd Street and Metcalf Avenue have rallied against the project, placing signs saying “Stop Deer Creek high density apartments” around the neighborhood.

Jon Schram, who would see the complex from his backyard, said the new proposal is worse than the first. He believes the gap separating Buildings B1 and B2 simply extends the project, making it more than 500 feet wide. He argues with an underground parking garage connecting the two buildings, they shouldn’t be considered two buildings.

“It's tower one and tower two. You have one building,” he said. “It doesn't really accomplish anything. It's still a massive structure that is going to dominate the skyline for the entire side of the neighborhood.”

Bradley maintains building the apartment complex is the only way to save Deer Creek Golf Course. Flooding and erosion along Tomahawk Creek, which runs through the public golf course, have damaged the course.

In a separate plan to be heard before the city another day, EPC will ask for tax breaks on the apartment complex to help generate the necessary revenue to make fixes along the course.

“We're really hopeful we're going to get this thing across because it's going to be a huge, huge asset for the community, that neighborhood, and also the greater city. And It will save a golf course. So we're excited about that,” Bradley said.

Schram said his group plans to counter at Monday’s meeting by offering to buy the course and invest their own private money to complete the necessary repairs without building apartments.

“What I’m hoping happens is they vote it down and then we can have a serious conversation with the owner and maybe take the course private,” Schram said. “I mean there's there's a decent amount of affluence in this neighborhood and a lot of financial and business wherewithal, so I am very confident we could figure out how to make it a profitable golf course if we were given the chance.”

Bradley said the golf course is not for sale.

EPC did find support from some neighborhood residents during December’s meeting.

One woman told KSHB 41 News she likes the plan because saving the golf course also means saving walking trails alongside the creek she can access from her home.

A man who lives on the course said he visited another one of EPC’s apartment complexes, Mission 106 in Leawood, to see what Deer Creek might become and he liked what he saw.

Monday’s planning commission meeting takes place at Overland Park City Hall. It begins at 1:30 p.m., but commissioners will not discuss the Deer Creek agenda item prior to 4 p.m.

The planning commission normally makes recommendations on projects. The city council takes those recommendations into account when giving the final approval or denial of a project.