Freedom Landing could be on the verge of finally being “free” to move forward.



Held up for two plus years in a wangling of paperwork, legalities, redesign and other considerations and suggestions, the 15-lot mixed use project may take another step toward construction at next week’s City Council meeting in Independence.

Freedom Landing could be on the verge of finally being “free” to move forward.

Held up for two plus years in a wangling of paperwork, legalities, redesign and other considerations and suggestions, the 15-lot mixed use project may take another step toward construction at next week’s City Council meeting in Independence.

Located north of R.D. Mize Road between Necessary Road and the future Little Blue Parkway, the project proposes a mixture of apartments, a north and south commercial area, and an office/retail area near the center of the property.

“I need an office up at City Hall,” quipped Joel Riggs, vice president of Gardner, Kan.-based Peridian Group Inc., the project’s applicant. The property’s owner is the Olathe, Kan.-based Bell Development Inc. “Since 2007, we have been working extremely diligently with (the city).”

Riggs said in a presentation to the City Council the developer has committed to adopt design guidelines for a uniform appearance of the entire project that fits into the Southeast Overlay District, create an owner’s association, provide an ongoing maintenance mechanism such as a community improvement district, limit public traffic access to the apartments and adopt a nationally recognized standard for leasing.

“It is our belief that this project meets your comprehensive plan,” Riggs told the Council.

In February, the Independence Planning Commission approved an application to rezone an 80-acre piece of land from single-family residential to planned general commercial and moderate-density residential for the project known as Freedom Landing South, while also approving an application to rezone a 3.5-acre piece of land known as Freedom Landing North from single-family residential to limited planned neighborhood commercial.

“This project has evolved over the last two years,” said Jennifer Clark, community development director in Independence, adding the final site plans calls for an additional 4 acres of neighborhoods for the north portion, an additional 7 acres of limited office/retail space north of the apartments and reduce residential units from 510 to 312, a 39 percent overall reduction. “Since 2007, the project has undergone a variety of changes.”

On Monday, the City Council will hear the first reading of ordinances associated with the Planning Commission recommendations, but a valid protest petition has been submitted against the application for the Freedom Landing South portion of the project. That ordinance must be approved by the council with a super majority vote, meaning five votes are needed instead of the normal four.  “I’ve never been across a project, quite like this,” Riggs said. “Ultimately, it boils down to what is the highest and best use of this space. We think it is best that we move forward with this project.”