Drama flares as OP commission OKs Incred-A-Bowl redevelopment plans

Plans to remake the long-closed Incred-A-Bowl bowling alley and entertainment center in southern Overland Park are moving ahead but not without some controversy.

During an unusually tense meeting on Monday that featured multiple outbursts — including one that resulted in the Incred-A-Bowl property owner being ejected from the meeting — the Overland Park Planning Commission ultimately recommended approval of the plan.

The vote ended up being 9-1 on a proposed rezoning, a 10-year special use permit with some caveats and a revised preliminary development plan for the wider Trail Winds shopping center on 151st Street.

Commissioner Matt Masilionis was the dissenting vote. Commissioner Rob Krewson was absent from the meeting.

Incred-A-Bowl closed years ago

The property at 8500 W. 151st St. was first zoned for a bowling alley in the late 1970s. Eventually, Incred-A-Bowl Family Fun Center took over the property in 1997.

After that business closed in 2015, NMS LLC — which is owned by Paramjeet Sabharwal — acquired the building.

The following year, Overland Park approved a special use permit and a site plan for Sabharwal’s proposal to convert the site into a hospital and medical office building, but those plans never materialized.

The 65,000 square-foot building sat vacant until the gym and supplement store Beastified opened in 2023.

Now, the plan is to renovate the existing building and turn it into a complex with dining, retail, a gym and event space that could hold up to 1,100 people.

This latest proposal from Sabharwal also comes with some proposed modifications to traffic flow on the site, just east of Antioch Road.

Neighbors are at odds with the property owner

In the years since the bowling alley closed, neighbors have complained about what they see as the increasing disrepair of the site and an adjacent property to the north also owned by Sabharwal that is undeveloped but has been identified as potential medical offices.

Additionally, Sabharwal owes back property taxes on the former Incred-A-Bowl site.

Some of the neighbors’ complaints and the conflict surrounding them spilled into public comments shared during the planning commission meeting Monday, with residents complaining about large potholes, piles of what appear to be excavated materials and other issues on the site.

“[The owner’s] property is not only still dilapidated at best, it has gotten much worse,” Kristi Uenishi, a neighbor who lives off of 150th Street, said. She added that she doubted the new plans to remake the site would ever come to fruition.

Members of the audience at the planning commission meeting were, at times, vocally upset, shouting and making visible gestures throughout the meeting.

Commissioners, too, expressed some discomfort with the state of the property, with Masilionis voicing the firmest opposition. It was his comments — that he later apologized for — that led to Sabharwal’s own response from the audience that prompted his removal from the meeting.

Property owner, commissioner bicker during meeting

Toward the end of the discussion for the special use permit — one of the three items related to the Incred-A-Bowl project on the commission agenda Monday — and after neighbors had spoken during public comments, Sabharwal was called up to the podium to speak after he started shouting from the audience.

After his remarks defending the project and insinuating some of the problems at the site are out of his control, he was asked to wrap up his comments. Then, the issue returned to the commissioners to continue discussion.

At that time, Commissioner Masilionis again spoke against the project and expressed his concerns about the developer.

“I’m not sure what kind of doctor you are, but I’m assuming you don’t leave the OR and …” he began but was unable to complete his sentence after Sabharwal stood up from the audience and shouted back.

“Please do not comment on that, absolutely not,” Sabharwal shouted, setting off some commotion in the meeting. “He’s talking about my profession.”

“I apologize, I’m not trying to be derogatory,” Masilionis responded.

“Please do not behave that way,” Sabharwal yelled again.

City staff told Sabharwal he needed to leave the meeting.

“I’m not trying to be derogatory. I’m saying,” Masilionis said before Sabharwal interrupted him.

“Yes you are,” Sabharwal said.

City staff then told Sabharwal that they would call the police if he did not leave the meeting, to which he said, “yes, you please call the police, I’ll have him arrested.”

“I don’t need to say anymore,” Masilionis said.

For the next several minutes, Sabharwal could be heard arguing with city staff in the hallway outside of the meeting, though about what exactly is unclear.

Later on, Masilionis said he would “like to formally apologize if there was any offense taken or incurred from my comments.”

At one point, Commissioner Holly Streeter-Schaefer also chided the audience in attendance at the meeting for acting out, correcting them for what she saw as broadly disrespectful behavior.

“We need to have some semblance of decorum up here and in these proceedings,” she said.

Commissioners mostly hopeful about redevelopment

Despite the tensions that flared during the meeting, the majority of the commission remained hopeful that the Incred-A-Bowl redevelopment plans would work out as proposed and that something better than a mostly-vacant building would be realized at the site.

“There is a proposal here coming up for a significant investment in the building itself with new operations, and I think this is one way to get this site cleaned up and in good condition,” Commissioner Thomas Robinett said.

The redevelopment plans for the former Incred-A-Bowl in Overland Park.
The redevelopment plans for the former Incred-A-Bowl in Overland Park. Image via Overland Park planning documents.

Chair Kip Strauss expressed similar sentiments.

“I think having this occupied is better than unoccupied,” he said. “I’d like to see it move forward and be a successful development.”

Plus, many commissioners noted that concerns about property taxes and past code issues on a site are not part of the formula planning commissions are meant to use in deciding their recommendations for developments and redevelopments.

That being said, as a means of ensuring that there’s a swift timeline, the planning commission recommended approval of the 10-year special use permit with a stipulation that construction must start within one year of the city council’s approval.

In the case where construction had not begun by that date, the special use permit for the site would be revoked, prohibiting the property from being used as an event center.

Next steps for Incred-A-Bowl property

  • The rezoning from carryover county to city classification, site plan and special use permit head to the Overland Park City Council for consideration next.
  • They are all scheduled for the Aug. 5 meeting.
  • If the city council approves the project as recommended, the project would have one year from that date to commence construction or otherwise have the special-use permit revoked.

Looking back: The old Incred-A-Bowl building is getting its first tenant

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