Feb. 23, 2019

Mallory Herrmann

The proposed Artisan Point apartment complex failed to be approved by the city council this week. With a unanimous vote against the preliminary development plan, the council ended consideration of the multi-family residential development near SE Blackwell Road and SE Blue Parkway.

The project was first considered by the planning commission in October, but the property in question was currently zoned for agriculture use without any recommended land use in the city’s comprehensive plan. That kicked off a series of meetings involving the developer, residents, the city council, the planning commission and city staff on what uses would be appropriate for the area – and whether it would be the right spot for Case & Associate’s 282-unit complex.

The developer faced questions from the beginning about their characterization of the apartments as “luxury” units. Planning commissioners, city councilmembers and residents questioned the use of open breezeways instead of enclosed corridors, the lack of elevators in the three-story buildings and the quality of materials used, such as a Formica product for countertops.

By the time the project came back to the planning commission in January, the developer had ceased using the word “luxury” to describe the apartments because people kept getting “hung up” on that.

Initially proposed as a two-phase 584-unit complex, the preliminary development plan was condensed to 282 units in a single-phase development. The complex would have been a mix of two- and three-story buildings with one- and two-bedroom units, to be rented starting at $1,000 per month.

Several residents continued voicing opposition to the project, citing its proximity to Highland Park Elementary, the potential for increased school overcrowding and traffic issues and the quality of the development. Some also said that the quality of the project had been thrown into stark contrast when compared with the Summit Orchards project, which was presented to the council earlier in the evening.

The city council also voiced their concerns: many voiced their disappointment in the features and amenities, particularly when compared to the rent price-points, and the high-profile location of the site as a gateway into the city.

Mayor Bill Baird said he appreciated that residents had worked with the developer throughout the last several months, leading to compromises with Case & Associates on the size of the project. He added that he was disappointed that the developer hadn’t made any adjustments to the features or amenities in order to be more in line with the quality that the community wanted.

“I just feel like you came up a little short on this one,” Baird said.

When Mr. Case asked the council to point to which ordinances exactly that the preliminary development plan hadn’t met, Baird said that the unified development ordinance (UDO) should be considered the bare minimum for what is expected of developers coming into Lee’s Summit.

All councilmembers were present at the Feb. 19 meeting.