City planners OK rezoning for duplexes
After continued public debate and committee discussion, the Eudora Planning Commission decided to recommend rezoning a portion of land near K-10 Highway, south of the stalled Whispering Meadows subdivision. Commission members Rod Moyer and Duane Gentleman voted against the plan.
The commission recommended rezoning 19 lots for multi-family units, leaving 12 single family units. At last month's meeting the developers asked for 34 multifamily lots and 10 single-family lots. In addition to reducing the number of townhomes in the development, the developers also retracted a request to reduce the minimum lot size, which is why the plan now includes fewer homes.
Planning commission chairman Kurt von Achen called the commission's decision a reasonable compromise between the developers and residents of the surrounding neighborhood, many of whom objected to adding multi-family homes.
"I'm not as much of a duplex-basher as the rest of you," von Achen said. "I think that there's a need for this type of home."
The commission also approved recommending to the city council the development's plan, which calls for certain stipulations that must be met: The developers must limit construction to 10 single family homes and eight town homes in the first year, complete the Whispering Meadows water retention area, which the development will use, installation of utility lines must be worked out with the city, and ensuring the project goes as planned.
During an open hearing, residents of nearby neighborhoods voiced their dissatisfaction with the addition of multifamily homes, citing additional traffic and property values as main objections.
Neighbors told the commission about duplex-dwellers who constantly park their cars on the street and the high density of traffic.
Although neighbors complained the new development wouldn't have enough access to main roads in Eudora, forcing traffic through residential streets, Lance Johnson of the engineering planning firm Peridian Group, which represents the developer, said 14th street will be an outlet someday, even if it isn't completed yet. Moreover, the townhomes include 2 car garages.
Decreasing property values concerned homeowners in the neighborhood who feared the addition of multifamily units would cause their property values to drop. For Vernon Haid, who passed around a petition against the development that gathered more than 60 names, the town homes would detract from the type of neighborhood he looked for, comparing their spread to that of cancer.
"That's why most of us moved here from Kansas City, Topeka and Lawrence because we wanted to get away from the condominiums and apartments," he said.
The multifamily units differ from apartments, Johnson said, because they will be sold rather than rented. Unlike duplexes, which are sold as a whole and then rented out, each side of the town homes will be sold separately.
Developer James Hoover, Jr., said the 1,300 to 1,500 square foot homes, some of which would have basements, would sell for about $125,000, making them "upscale" townhomes.
Campbell said he thought upscale homes would sell along the highway based on "nice" homes near the highway in suburban Kansas City, and Moyer said he noticed a similar phenomenon east of De Soto.
"There's some pretty nice homes that sit off K-10," he said. "Will single family homes sell? I don't know. They sure do there."
The planning commission's recommendations will go before the city council Nov. 26.