The process of developing a new multisport attraction and restaurant just south of the Don Hattan auto dealership took another step forward.
At its Aug. 15 meeting, the Derby Planning Commission approved a zone change request from R-1, or single family residential, to B-3, or general business. The move now goes on to the City Council for its approval, which generally follows the recommendations, unless there is strenuous objection.
No one spoke out against the change at the commission’s meeting.
There are a number of further steps to go through, but officials working on the deal are pleased with the process.
“We’re super excited. It’s going to be awesome,” said Maren Worley after the approval.
Worley is an attorney with the Kansas City, Mo.-based law firm of Polsinelli who is representing the Derby Destination Development LCC, the entity heading up pro-jects in the special tax STAR bond district, of which this would be a part.
She appeared at the meeting to address any possible questions or issues, but the explanations to the commission from City Planner Justin Givens handled that.
However, Worley said she or others will be back in Derby with more plans, but isn’t sure when that will be.
“This is one step of an overall larger process,” she said.
The attraction has a working name of Sport Zone.
Planner: Rock Road designed for growth
It would include a sit-down restaurant with alcohol service that is unlike others in the area. Such a business was originally called for by the state’s rules within the STAR bond area.
As proposed, Sport Zone would include indoor and outdoor courts, outdoor sand courts and game areas. It would deal with a variety of sports, such as badminton, paddleball, sand volleyball and others. Officials say it would provide a resource for training, team practice, games and events.
The parcel is 11.6 acres although Worley said it may not use all of the land. It also will likely be placed closer to Rock Road than the back side of the property.
A street called Amber Ridge has been platted on the east side of the properties to the north and south of the Sport Zone lot.
Sport Zone will fit into the development that is present in the area, Worley said.
Along with Don Hattan, that stretch of Rock has seen a new Fidelity Bank, a Dunkin outlet, an AT&T store and a Wesley Healthcare emergency center on the east side. There is additional development on the west side.
During his presentation, Givens echoed the thought of a new business fitting in.
“Staff does not foresee any detrimental impacts to nearby property if the request is granted,” he said.
Givens pointed out that the property is currently bounded by commercial zoning and Rock Road is a major corridor that has been designed to accommodate vehicle demands for business development, so traffic growth won’t be an issue.
Deed restriction made move necessary
The actual lot has an existing address of 6628 S. Rock Road, which is a Sedgwick County address along that stretch. Last month, the City Council approved a re-quest to annex the land into Derby and, as a bit of history, it is the final parcel be-tween Patriot Avenue and Meadowlark Boulevard on the east side of Rock Road to be added to the city.
The owners gave consent for the annexation and since it adjoins the existing city line, the annexation doesn’t need authorization by the Sedgwick County Commission.
On that lot is a 2,529-square-foot house, built in 1976. The 2019 appraisal on the property is $243,430 and, according to county tax records, the owners are current-ly Deborah and Michael Eilert.
The site plans will reveal if the house stays or will be removed from the property.
Putting the Sport Zone in this location is the result of deed restriction.
Originally, the business was set to be built just east of Field Station: Dinosaurs. But it was found that the property had a restriction that forbid alcohol sales. The restriction couldn’t be waived, so the new site further south on Rock was selected.
Another concept, a youth sports training facility, has been slated for the Sport Zone’s former site. Alcohol would not be served or consumed there, so the re-striction won’t affect it.