Note: This article was originally posted on May 9, 2002. It is a placeholder for more news.
The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County is pursuing the purchase of a parcel of land that would effectively limit and create a buffer zone for an anticipated apartment development adjacent to the Tomahawk Hills Golf Course.
In late March, the Shawnee City Council approved rezoning that would allow development of multi-family housing on 32 acres of wooded land adjacent to Tomahawk Hills Golf Course holes number 14 and 15. That developer did not close on the property by the date specified in his contract, opening an opportunity for another developer.
"We were advised by the seller that there was a window of opportunity," said Johnson County Park and Recreation District Director Michael Meadors. "With another developer, our Foundation is putting together a joint purchase. This would allow for the Foundation to purchase the 12 acres and the developer the remaining acres."
During its April 17 regular meeting, the District's Board concurred with the Foundation's efforts to purchase the 12 acres. It is anticipated closing on the property could take place by late May.
"This could be viewed as a win-win situation," Meadors said. "One, a win by the District and yet a win for the city too, which is looking at expanding multi-family housing in their community. We were able to preserve a valuable buffer between the golf course and the future development."
Despite this, Meadors cautioned that this is all "very preliminary."
"If the Foundation's purchase goes through, that takes 12 acres away from the development process," he said. "There could very well still be apartments in a couple of years up on the hillside, but they won't be adjacent to Tomahawk Golf Course, they'll be set back several hundred feet."
Meadors said the new developer has announced plans to develop between 180 and 240 units, which is about a third less than the original developer. This also reflects the reduction in available land in anticipation of the Foundation's purchase.
The Director said the new developer has also stated his development plans would be less aggressive than those of his predecessor and it is anticipated the land could stand idle for two to three years prior to development.
In addition to serving as a buffer zone, Meadors said, the 12 acres being sought by the Foundation could serve some recreational purposes. The potential for a woodchipped nature trail that would afford great views of the Little Mill Creek Valley has already been discussed.