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Thursday, Aug. 09, 2012

Olathe City Council OKs townhomes in buffer area

Special to The Olathe News

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Despite protest from unhappy neighbors, the Olathe City Council this week approved 32 townhomes to be built near the Homestead Woods subdivision.

At its meeting Tuesday evening, the governing body voted in favor of amending a stipulation that had originally prevented the Bleakley development company from building the townhomes in the 230-foot buffer between Homestead Apartments and the single-family neighborhood.

Back in 1998, the company had planned to build the townhomes along with the apartment complex, but faced protest from residents. To meet the residents halfway, developers built only the apartment complex, not the townhomes. That same year, the company sent a letter to the city council stating that no townhomes would be built in the 230-foot buffer space. That led the council to create a stipulation preventing development from occurring there.

Several residents from the Homestead Woods subdivision, which is situated in both Olathe and Lenexa, are upset the company is breaking its promise from 14 years ago.

Olathe resident Brian Howard told the council that many current residents of Homestead Woods purchased their homes based on the belief that the green space would remain just that. He was worried the proposed townhomes would make the area seem overdeveloped.

Another resident, Roger Finkemeier, was concerned that property values in Homestead Woods would drop if the townhomes were built.

But most of the governing body believed the project was well-suited for the area.

Councilman Jim Randall said he felt the townhomes would be a proper transition from the apartment complex to the single-family neighborhood.

The only councilmember in opposition, Marge Vogt, said that while she also felt the project was suitable, she mostly felt uncomfortable giving the company permission to break the commitment it had made to residents in 1998.

The motion passed on a 6-1 vote.

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