Southmoor Gardens Neighborhood Association

Letter to Overland Park Council

Posted in: Southmoor Gardens
Dear Council Members,

As a member of Southmoor Gardens Neighborhood preservation group in opposition to the rezoning of the NE Corner of 71st and Metcalf from R-1 single family to RP-3 planned garden apartments, my committee has been charged with exploring options for use that do not require rezoning. Our main guideline has been to find a use that benefits the City of Overland Park and preserves the historical roots and character of the neighborhood of Southmoor Gardens by meeting the guidelines established for neighborhoods in the Overland Park Master Plan. We have discovered what we think is a wonderful solution to the unique difficulties facing the usage of this particular 2.1 acres of our neighborhood.

Jim Cox, Director of Parks and Forestry, responded to our request for information regarding the City?’s 2005 amended Master Plan which promotes the building of parks in neighborhoods north of 95th Street though the acquisition of properties within the individually established neighborhoods. Jim described the program, directed us to the Crestview Park, as an example of this policy, and explained that our Ward 1 councilmen would need to request that Community Development Committee explore this option. Jim Cox said that we could inform our council members, Dave Janson and Terry Happerscheier, that he would be supportive of a park on this parcel of land. Dave Janson tells me that he and Terry will make this request at the conclusion of the rezoning process.

In addition to exploring the site as parkland, we researched the historical significance of Southmoor Gardens neighborhood hoping to find some historical value to this site. There are a number of State Champion Trees on this parcel which the law requires be saved. The Overland Park Historical Society was consulted and they have records which show that Wm B. Strang, Jr., pioneer in community development, purchased our 160 acre parcel for the development of large lot home site. He established deed restrictions (out buildings of 80 sq. feet or more) to ?“encourage?” indoor plumbing yet allow for other out buildings. The house on the corner with its detached garage (out building) is one of the original houses in this Strang development and this out building may very well be the last representation of the early history of our original area large lot suburban development. As we understand it, the deed restrictions are still in effect. Southmoor Garden is swiftly approaching 100 years as an established neighborhood and a good case could be made that this is the original suburb of Overland Park, worthy of preservation in the historical sense. The overall feeling of the neighbors when petitioned was that they are not in favor of the rezoning request and they would support a park where the original house and out buildings would preserved.

By the purchase of this property for a neighborhood park, preserving its rare trees and historical housing, the City of Overland Park, will continue to be on the cutting edge of community building and neighborhood preservation. Remaining true to the Master Plan creates unsurpassed quality of life for the residents of Overland Park. The goal of the Southmoor Gardens Neighborhood Preservation group, that we remain true our historical roots and character, will be met. This solution will make the city of Overland Park and Southmoor Gardens partners in neighborhood preservation.


Linda Hanson (homeowner)

By Linda Hanson
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