Archive for Thursday, April 3, 2008

Vital intersection’s future key to 95th Street land use plan

April 3, 2008

The intersection of 95th Street and Kill Creek Road continued to be the starting point and unifying force of future land use planning for De Soto's southern fringe.

In the second scheduled workshop to help develop a 95th Street Land Use Corridor Plan, 19 95th Street corridor residents, stakeholders, city staffers and members of the De Soto City Council and De Soto Planning Commission refined future land use maps last Thursday for the area south of De Soto and east of Lexington Avenue. Splitting into three groups, those attending worked with four preliminary maps developed at a March 4 meeting.

At the earlier workshop, all efforts to plot future land use in the corridor started at the intersection of 95th Street and Kill Creek Road. Although the maps differed in how much acreage surrounding the intersection should be commercial, all four maps that emerged from the exercise colored the intersection in red, designating commercial zoning.

From that starting point, most of the maps surrounded the intersection with various amounts of mixed-use development or business park uses with park land, residential and agricultural uses farther to the east and west.

But even as the planning continued one key piece of information concerning the intersection remained unknown, and that is its future alignment. The current square four-corner intersection could be re-designed as part of Johnson County's seven-year old County Arterial Road Network Plan proposal to eventually construct a north-south arterial road along a Kill Creek Road/Homestead Road alignment. The concept would shift the north-south roadway somewhere near 95th Street a quarter mile to the west from Kill Creek Road to an alignment corresponding with Homestead Road.

Last summer, Johnson County Public Works shared a concept design of the intersection with De Soto city engineer Mike Brungardt. That design would have started the western realignment of the north-south corridor just north of 95th Street and realigned 95th Street with an arc to the north to provide a 90 degree squared intersection.

The design wasn't popular with De Soto officials or the owners of property on the northwest corner of the intersection, who had the land rezoned to commercial last year. Ralph Lewis, one of the owners of the property, said at the rezoning the concept would ruin the commercial potential of the property.

Questions about the north-south corridor's eventual alignment and that of the intersection have been a topic of discussion in both land use workshops. Brungardt and De Soto Planning Commissioner Kevin Honomichl have attempted to answer them by stating De Soto needed to develop a rational land use concept to share with the county as a way of influencing those future alignments.

The 95th Street land use planning is occurring as the county is starting what assistant county engineer Brian Pietig termed "preliminary engineering design" to more narrowly define the future course of the north-south arterial.

Despite the release of the intersection made public last summer, the preliminary engineering design being done by Transystems also will define the alignment of the intersection, Pietig said.

"That's what the engineering study is to find - where that should be in the future," he said.

As Brungardt and Honomichl had suggested, De Soto's land use planning would play a part in the intersection's re-alignment, Pietig said.

"Absolutely, they are part of our study team that is working with Transystems," he said.

The preliminary engineering should be competed in June or July, Pietig said.

Brungardt will now work to condense the three maps created last Thursday to two, which will be presented to the planning commission April 22 at a meeting that will include a public hearing.

The city council is scheduled to consider the final land use map May 1.

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