Future Development: Issues and Opportunities

Future Development: Issues and Opportunities
Posted on 03/24/2022

Looking closely at the next 25 of years in development, you’ll find both heady challenges and exciting chances to make Lenexa an even more welcoming, high-quality community.

Our project team recently wrapped up an Existing Conditions Report that will form a solid foundation for Lenexa’s new Comprehensive Plan. Based on extensive research into Lenexa’s current land use and infrastructure and diverse feedback received through focus groups and surveys in fall 2021, the report outlines a number of issues and opportunities in four key categories for Lenexa to consider as we create the new Comprehensive Plan. We’ve summarized that list here, but you can view the full Existing Conditions Report here.

Land Use and Development

There is significant agricultural and undeveloped land in western Lenexa, and the City will examine growth strategies that preserve sensitive lands and discourage leap-frog/premature development.

We’ll also look at ways to provide a balance between new commercial development and future residential uses to ensure sufficient access to goods and services.

Lenexa also has opportunities to diversify housing choices and create equitable, attainable living options while maintaining the city’s high quality of life and development standards. Changes to development standards/guidelines could strengthen the “neighborhood feel” and walkability of residential areas. 

In established areas, we’ll examine opportunities to promote reinvestment and maximize development potential while preserving existing neighborhood character.

There are opportunities to expand the City’s office and industrial base by reinvesting in existing business parks and identifying future growth areas. As redevelopment occurs, we’ll look for ways to enhance the function and aesthetic of established commercial corridors and promote attractive amenities for employees.

There is significant potential to further establish City Center as the heart of Lenexa and a central community destination.

There is also a need to set a clear direction for Old Town, taking into consideration the desires of existing residents, tourism and business redevelopment opportunities and the recommendations of the “A New Look at Old Town” plan.

Central Green stream

Community Facilities and Infrastructure

Lenexa may consider future opportunities for larger stormwater retention, detention or treatment in some City parks or open space to help enhance water quality and reduce quantity stress on some of the fully built out areas of the region. We should also continue annual neighborhood improvement projects to replace or rehabilitate stormwater infrastructure in older subdivisions, which often don’t meet today’s stormwater detention or water quality standards.

Stormwater facilities and utilities will need to expand as development needs create demand. Since Lenexa doesn’t own other utility systems, we’ll need to coordinate with utility providers to ensure services meet future needs. With continued growth, we’ll need to routinely measure levels of service, response times and facility capacities to support existing and future residents.

Lenexa will also need to work with local school districts on future needs for school expansions or new facilities.  

There are limitations to development in the far west area of Lenexa – sanitary sewer connections in this area are expected to be difficult or costly, which may limit zoning to low density residential development. 

Lenexa may consider new ways to encourage the use of renewable energy sources, including adjustments to development standards and grant program partnerships.

Biking on park trail

Transportation and Mobility

As Lenexa expands to the west, these areas may require alternative routes for north-south and east-west travel. Plans should consider all modes of transportation on any new roadways, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities and sidewalk connectivity to improve connections between neighborhoods, shopping areas and employment centers. 

Strategies to improve crossing safety and connectivity at arterials and collectors that have barriers for pedestrian and cyclists will be considered across the city. Lenexa should also continue to implement the complete streets approach to street design. 

There is an opportunity to work with RideKC to improve Lenexa’s 60 transit stops to enhance rider experience and increase ridership with amenities like benches or shelters. 

In business centers, we’ll need to consider ways to improve equitable and multimodal connections to jobs and better balance ease of access for freight vehicles and the safety of vulnerable road users. Future truck routes to serve new commercial, office and industrial areas to ensure safe, efficient truck traffic will need to be examined.

In every area of transportation planning, the City will need to keep in mind shifts in preferences, such as electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, ride share and other emerging options.

Girl riding scooter through park with woman

Parks, Open Space and Recreation

As Lenexa grows, we’ll need to acquire land for future parks to ensure equitable distribution and access across the city and examine ways to conserve open space. 

Lenexa has an opportunity to examine development regulations to identify strategies that increase the inclusion of parks and recreational facilities with new development. Parks can also be strategically located in or near neighborhood nodes to form activity centers and enhance a sense of community. 

We’ll need to maintain, improve and modernize existing parks and recreation facilities as Lenexa grows to enhance user experience.

There is also opportunity to promote greater inclusion of parks, outdoor amenities, gathering spaces or programmed open spaces in industrial, commercial and office areas, which may lack public parks and green spaces for employees.

The Parks Master Plan will be updated after work on the City’s Comprehensive Plan wraps up.

Published March 24, 2022