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April 27, 2018 4:30 PM, EDT

Kansas City-Area Warehouse District Gets OK for Expansion

NorthPoint Development

A fast-growing industrial park in southern Johnson County, Kan., will get even bigger, jumping from north of Interstate 35 to south of the freeway.

The Edgerton City Council on April 26 voted 3-0 to approve the rezoning of about 256 acres at the northwest corner of 207th Street and Waverly Road from rural residential land to industrial warehouse district zoning for Logistics Park Kansas City.

The logistics park already is a 1,700-acre booming rail intermodal and warehouse district north of Interstate 35 that is transforming the tiny community of Edgerton. The district includes hubs for Amazon.com, Jet.com, UPS Inc. and other major distribution centers.

RELATED: In the age of Amazon, warehouses are smart investments

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.

The City Council in December voted to annex 17 properties totaling about 575 acres near Homestead Lane/ 207th Street, south of the interstate.

The rezoning April 26 paves the way for what’s called “Project Mustang” in that newly annexed area. City officials have said they can’t yet confirm what that project is. But speculation focuses on a press release from Kubota Tractor, which said the Texas-based company is planning an $87 million expansion of its facility at Logistics Park, with 2 million more square feet of warehouse and sales office space.

Developers said the existing park did not have enough space for that level of new building, so the district is getting even bigger.

RELATED: New warehouses needed to meet e-commerce demands, CBRE study shows

Several residents urged the council to reject the rezoning, saying it violates Edgerton’s comprehensive plan, which calls for rural residential south of I-35. They said residents have been blindsided by the rapid land annexation and expansion of Logistics Park Kansas City for what still is an undisclosed business deal.

“It’s not fair to the citizens,” said Pat Peer, who has lived south of I-35 in rural Johnson County for 43 years.

She said the acquisition of hundreds of acres of land and preparation for the rezoning appeared to be a “secret deal.”

Jennifer Whitlow, whose family moved from Gardner last year to 11 acres that will border the industrial property, said the public wasn’t kept informed as land was being quietly acquired for the warehouse expansion.

“None of us were made aware,” she said.

Mayor Don Roberts strenuously denied the rezoning involved a “secret” deal and said the city has followed Kansas’ statutory requirements for notifying citizens about the rezoning consideration by the city planning commission and city council.

RELATED: Real estate prices soaring for warehouses near ports, intermodal ramps

He acknowledged the comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated since 2010 but said that legally it doesn’t have to be. He said he listens to citizen concerns and takes them to heart.

Edgerton leaders originally thought it would take 15 to 20 years for Logistics Park to get 7 million square feet. Instead it’s achieved 11 million square feet in just 4½ years.

Roberts said the $1 billion investment in the warehouse district has been a huge boost to the community and is helping to set the stage for Edgerton’s future success.

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