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Proposed south Olathe mixed single-family, townhome and business development advances

The planned Hilltop Farms development could have about 200 single-family homes, 100 townhome units in triplexes and 17 commercial lots.

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HilltopFarmsRendering

A mixed-use development plan for roughly 157 acres in south Olathe, which will include single-family homes, townhomes and some commercial space, has cleared a procedural hurdle. That paves the way for new housing and business spaces at 175th Street and Mur-Len Road. 

PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT SCOPE 

Previously, the Olathe Planning Commission voted unanimously to move forward with a rezoning request and a preliminary site development plan for the Hilltop Farms project. The site, recently annexed into the city of Olathe with this housing and business development in mind, held the county rural categorization — which is a carryover from its days in unincorporated Johnson County — and has been historically used for agriculture. 

In the end, the fully realized Hilltop Farms development would feature about 200 single-family homes, 100 townhome units in triplexes, 17 commercial lots and a neighborhood amenity area that includes a pool and athletic facilities. Residential and commercial parts of the project will be divided by 173rd Street and built out in a few phases. 

Throughout the public hearing processes and voting, no one signed up to speak for or against the development. There was, however, some discussion among City Council members about growing traffic pressure in the area as south Olathe is built out and proper buffering between the commercial and residential properties in a way that is aesthetically appealing. Past discussions in front of the Planning Commission saw similar points raised, as well as flooding concerns from the Coffee Creek basin. The rezoning and associated site development plan were ultimately approved unanimously among the present council members on Tuesday. 

LOOKING AHEAD 

On behalf of the developer, Inspired Homes, Harold Phelps, with Phelps Engineering Inc., told the Planning Commission in May that the plan is to get the ball rolling with the single-family homes first, then move onto the townhome style homes.  

Details about what will become of the planned commercial buildings in the development aren’t set in stone yet, and future approvals related to that portion of the project are likely to come back before the commission and the council as they take shape in the future. That being said, attached stipulations state that things like pawn shops, hospitals and other high-intensity types of business ventures would be prohibited in this case, senior planner Jessica Schuller has said, due to compatibility concerns with the housing side of the project. No specific tenants for the spaces were discussed. 

Phelps indicated it could be awhile before the commercial development is built. 

“The commercial area obviously is a function of demand, and the demand isn’t out there right now on 175th Street,” he said in the past. 

Currently, the property in question is surrounded by residential development and undeveloped land, all intended for mixed-use residential and commercial type uses in the city’s long-term land use plans. Also to the west is a vacant property owned by the Spring Hill school district, which could become a multi-building school campus down the line. 

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