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Public engagement changes status quo in Overland Park

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Dec 02, 2022

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Residents and leaders in Overland Park, Kansas, have noticed changes in how the city council approaches development projects.

“There was a time Overland Park would roll out the red carpet in front of any and each developer,” said Dr. Faris Farassati, a city council member since 2017.

This year, the council denied a proposal for an apartment complex at the Deer Creek Golf Course. It also denied townhouses in green space behind the former Incred-A-Bowl complex.

The council requested changes from other developers. One change led to a substantial reduction for a proposal at the Ranch Mart South Shopping Center near 95th Street and Mission Road.

Developers threw out their original plans for 190 apartment units in January 2021, and presented plans last month for six smaller buildings totaling 19 rental units.

“I think the credit about the change you see right now, I think the majority of it goes to to the people,” Farassati said. “Now they are involved, now they are engaged, they show up in the city hall and express their views very strongly. So I think the landscape changed.”

Farassati said residents also elected council members who challenge the status quo.

“I think it’s an awesome thing for the city council to be educated on that, because the homeowners in Overland Park need to know they can rely on the city council to enforce the rules,” Jon Schram said.

Schram was part of a group spearheading opposition to Deer Creek apartment complex near 133rd Street and Metcalf Avenue.

“I have noticed the projects are getting a lot more questions now,” Schram said.

The next project getting questions is one at 135th Street and Antioch Road.

In August, council members asked Ryan Companies to change the proposal for the southwest corner of the intersection. Nearby residents had placed signs protesting the apartments along Antioch Road.

Monday, the developer will present its redesigned plans to the city council. The new plan reduces the number of apartment units from 446 to 413, it adds more parking spaces and moves a vehicular entrance/exit to accommodate safety and traffic concerns.

The council will review the proposal at 7:30 p.m. Monday during its meeting at city hall.