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Friday, Nov. 22, 2013

Wheatley Hills development fails at City Council

The Olathe News

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The Olathe City Council this week rejected a proposed development that would have brought 246 homes and commercial property, such as restaurants, drive-through banks, and office buildings to 143rd Street and Pflumm Road.

The council voted 7-0 against the commercial development in the project, called Wheatley Hills. Members voted 4-3 to approve the residential aspect, but that part failed, too, since a protest petition meant six votes were required for approval.

Residents from four surrounding neighborhoods were worried the development would bring traffic trouble, hurt storm water flow, increase criminal activity and pose a risk for pilots at Johnson County Executive Airport, which lies less than a mile away.

More than 100 residents attended the meeting Tuesday, with many standing crowded in the back.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the democratic process,” Joe McMillian, an Olathe resident who lives near the site, said after the vote. “It worked here the way that it should. I’m thankful the mayor and city council listened to the concerns of the residents and took the appropriate action.”

Bill Nigro, who lives in Overland Park across the street from the site, also left happy. “It gives me a lot of faith in Olathe,” Nigro said.

A representative for the developer could not be reached after the meeting.

The Olathe Planning Commission last month recommended that the City Council approve residential development south and east of 143rd Street and Pflumm Road, but reject the project’s proposed light commercial zoning. The commission said the commercial aspect didn’t fit with the city’s comprehensive plan, which calls for only residential zoning in the area.

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