Mallory Herrmann

The planning commission has amended the Lee’s Summit comprehensive plan after a discussion of a new apartment complex development revealed some land doesn’t have a designated land use. The change indicates the site of the proposed Artisan Point project as medium-density residential, a lower density designation than originally shown in the project’s preliminary development plan.

Certain properties, including the 36-acre Artisan Point site near SE Blackwell Road and Blue Parkway, were annexed by the city since the original plan was adopted in 2005 but never received a designation in line with the city’s long-term development aims.

The Artisan Point preliminary development plan, which was initially considered by the planning commission last fall, would be a two-phase 584-unit complex with a mix of two- and three-story buildings. Units would be a near-even mix of one- and two-bedroom units, with market-rate rents expected to range between $950 and $1,400.

Adjacent to Highland Park Elementary, many area residents voiced concerns about the proximity of high-density housing (and the resulting noise and traffic) so close to the school and the impact on enrollment in a school district already struggling with overcrowding issues.

The land was previously zoned for agricultural use and any development would require a rezoning application. Many neighboring property owners said they were open to development of the land but didn’t feel that high-density and three-story buildings were appropriate for the location.

The planning commission agreed to revisit the comprehensive plan with city staff to create designations for the area, as well as other land that was without a specified use. Still, some of the commissioners felt that more time was needed to consider the amendments.

“By adopting this, even though it’s not set in stone, we are basically saying this is what it should be,” Commissioner John Lovell said. “Adopting this resolution right now is not the right move and we should delay it or at least hold off until more thought and more consideration can be put into it.”

But the commission ultimately voted in favor of adopting the changes.

Commissioner Donnie Funk echoed remarks from both Commission Chairperson Jason Norbury and Bob McKay, director of plan services:

“We are not making a decision on apartments tonight, we are making a decision on land use,” Funk said.

Norbury acknowledged that these use designations do change over time but that these recommendations were based on the professional work of city staff in conjunction with public input from both the Artisan Point public hearing process and separate neighborhood meetings. He said that he trusts the work of staff and the input of the residents in coming to these land use designations.

Commissioners Lovell and Don Gustafson voted against adopting the changes. Commissioner Jake Loveless was absent from the Jan. 10 meeting.