A recent townhouse development effort was unanimously denied by the Shawnee Planning Commission after residents from the Country Club Heights Addition voiced their opposition to the plan.

A recent townhouse development effort was unanimously denied by the Shawnee Planning Commission after residents from the Country Club Heights Addition voiced their opposition to the plan.

The two-acre site located on East Highland — just east of Bryan Street — is being eyed for the planned construction of 16 townhouses on the two lots on the south end of Country Club Heights.

At a public hearing, the 19th Hole Planned Unit Development (PUD) was presented to the board, much to the dismay of many in City Hall's gallery.

“The 19th Hole development is in general conformance with the City’s Comprehensive Plan,” Community Development Director Justin DeBruin said, “which designates this area for residential use. The requested rezone would allow for higher density than the existing R1 zoning district. However, land adjacent and to the south of this subject property is currently zoned R3, allowing for high-density multi-family residential use.”

Area neighbors were unhappy with the attempt to change the look of the addition.

It was shared with the board the existence of a covenant agreement that are in conflict with the proposed use. Many covenant partners signed letters of protest.

The agreement — signed Aug. 18, 1977, and created by trustees N.W. Baptist III, William L. Ford and Sim K. Sims — states all lots would be used as single-family residential lots.

“No single family residence shall be erected or placed on any site of less than one lot. But may be erected on a site consisting of more than one lot,” the certified agreement reads.

DeBruin said the city doesn't enforce covenants.

“Covenants primarily are used for increases in standards above what the city would typically require,” he said.

“However, in this case, these covenants do affect the use of this particular land — and how we go about deciding whether it can be used for that particular use,” he said. “With that in mind, that, and the fact that for 60 days none of the items were addressed, staff cannot recommend approval on this case.”

All review should cease until the covenant is resolved and the issues that have been presented can be amended, he said.

Country Club Heights resident Jeff Diamond — one of the original 16 lot owners — said the lot owners last month held a meeting to discuss the issue.

Everyone was in agreement that they were not in favor of the PUD plan, he said.

“We're all against the idea,” he said.

Resident David Bock said anyone driving by can see the intent of the subdivision.

“It's obvious; they are big homes on big lots; that's what's intended and that's what's there,” he said.

Citing the city's Zoning Code, Bock noted the city's intent that residential neighborhoods to be developed and preserved against intrusions by incongruous land uses.

“If you allow two pieces of property to be divided up into 16 small homes, is that harmonious with the Country Club Heights Addition?” he asked.

“What would possess all of us who are unanimous in this to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to build super nice homes and pay a lot of taxes, if somebody can come in and buy two lots, chop them up and put 16 small homes in there?” he asked.

Developer Steve Landes, of LandRun Group, the reason these two lots are different, is they are located on that frontage off a major arterial.

“We think we have two options: One, contact our personal attorneys and — once we've replatted this — see if it affects the covenants; I never heard back from them,” Landes said.

Another option, he said, would be to modernize and amend the covenants.

“We are willing to negotiate,” he said. “I would really like to meet with (the property owners) and try to figure out how to modify this.”

Planning Commissioner David Bergsten then addressed the gallery, asking if the land owners would be willing to meet with Landes.

“If the board was to defer this item, would you be willing to sit down and have a discussion?” Bergsten asked.

The immediate response was, “It would be a waste of time.” When asked, others confirmed their agreement with the statement.

If denied, the owner cannot attempt to rezone the property for six months and would have to start the process over from scratch, he said.

The item will go before Shawnee City Commissioners March 19.