The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Dec. 9 to approve the preliminary plat for the long-debated Oak Meadow housing subdivision west of Solon.
The development is planned on a 65-acre area south of Highway 382 and west of Polk Avenue, about a mile west of Solon. Rezoning of the property from agricultural to residential was approved in September, and the county’s planning and zoning commission voted to approve the project in November.
Nate Mueller, Johnson County’s assistant director for planning, development and sustainability, recommended the project for approval based on staff review, describing the property as a “tale of two setups” in terms of its natural state.
Plans call for a total of 25 residential lots in the subdivision, with all but one concentrated on the western portion of the property, which has historically been used as a horse riding, boarding and stable facility. The remaining lot will be located in an extensively wooded area in the eastern portion of the property, but will take advantage of an existing clearing, minimizing its impact on the landscape, Mr. Mueller said.
The lots will range from just over an acre to just under two acres in size, Mr. Mueller said, based on density requirements from the county health department, since the subdivision will be served by septic sewers and a shared water well.
Mr. Mueller also stressed that public access to the subdivision will only be allowed via an existing roundabout on Highway 382, due to existing subdivisions to the south and west and the environmentally sensitive land along Polk Avenue on the development’s eastern portion. There will be an access road on the northeast portion of the development, but it will be restricted to emergency vehicle use, he said.
Mr. Mueller also mentioned that the Solon City Council had weighed in on the development in November and expressed several concerns in writing regarding compliance with existing fringe area agreements. The council voted to send a resolution to supervisors, recommending approval of the project subject to several conditions, including a request to require a developer’s agreement and a water test of the well and a development moratorium in the entire two-mile fringe area west of Solon.
He pointed out that the city and county are working on a revamped fringe area agreement to address Solon officials’ concerns, but since there’s been “no indication from the board that you intend to enact a moratorium on development in the northeast part of the county … the board should view this as though the city has not recommended approval of this request.”
Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass said she was pleased that developers had taken care to preserve environmentally sensitive portions of the property.
Josh Taylor of Concise Earth, representing property owner Kevin O’Brien and project developers, thanked the board for their support.
“We recognize this has not been the path of least resistance,” Mr. Taylor said. “It’s been a little bit of a rocky road, and we appreciate your diligence.”
Supervisors will still need to approve a final plat for the project before construction can begin.