Sunflower Area Plan Update

Grassy field and paved trail with water towers behind it

The Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant Conceptual Land Use Plan (Sunflower Area Plan) was adopted in 1998 in response to the U.S. government’s planned disposal of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant property. The plan addresses the area southwest of the City of De Soto, including the former ammunition plant.

The plan was viewed as an opportunity to exercise some control over the disposal and to establish policies and guidelines for redevelopment of the Sunflower site. Following the City of De Soto’s recent annexation of the site, Johnson County is reviewing the plan for potential updates.

Background on the Sunflower Plant

Water towers and sign that says "Safety"

The former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant is located near K-10 Highway in De Soto. Following operations by the U.S. Army for several decades, the plant closed and has since undergone a redevelopment process. Below is a timeline of the Sunflower plant’s closure:

  • 1992: Sunflower plant closes.
  • 1998: Sunflower plant is declared an excess of the Army’s needs.
  • 2004: Johnson County created the Sunflower Community Redevelopment Authority, which assisted with redevelopment of the Sunflower plant.
  • 2005: Army transfers the plant property to a private developer, Sunflower Redevelopment, LLC and enters into an agreement with the developer and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to clean up the plant.
  • 2022: City of De Soto annexes approximately 9,000 acres of land within the plant property for development of an electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility and future development area.

Please note that the 9,000 acres encompassing the former army ammunition plant is no longer a part of the Sunflower Area Plan, because it has been annexed and is now located within the City of De Soto. Upon annexation, the City of De Soto became responsible for planning and approving uses within this area.

Purpose of the Area Plan Update

By the end of 2022, 24 years after adoption of the Sunflower Area Plan, the City of De Soto had annexed just over one-third of the plan’s study area. This equates to roughly 16 square miles out of the 44-square-mile planning area.

Given the scale of this annexation, it is necessary to review and – if advisable – update the Sunflower Area Plan. The goal of the update is to determine the appropriate future land uses of the remaining land within the unincorporated county, following the City of De Soto’s recent annexations.

1998 Future Land Use Map with Current De Soto City Limits

Planning Commission Subcommittee

As a first step in the update process, the Planning Commission has formed a subcommittee of its members to review this remaining unincorporated area of the Sunflower Area Plan. The committee will recommend any necessary plan changes to the Planning Commission. The following is a summary of the subcommittee’s anticipated topics and meetings.

Subcommittee Work Plan

1

Phase 1

Introduction of the goals and purpose of the plan update. (Oct. 28, 2022)

2

Phase 2

Gather information about the area to guide the county’s decision on the best land uses for the future in the remaining unincorporated area.

  • Oct. 28, 2022  Initial meeting
  • Dec. 5, 2022 – Bus tour of the Sunflower area with the subcommittee
  • Dec. 9, 2022– Presentations from City of De Soto and Johnson County Public Works staff
  • Jan. 6, 2023 – Continue gathering information with presentations from Johnson County Wastewater, Environmental, and Park and Recreation staff
3

Phase 3

Subcommittee discussion of the information received, draft subcommittee recommendations for the plan update and plan for public involvement.

  • Feb 10, 2023  Discuss and draft recommendations, plan public involvement strategy
  • March 21, 2023 – Host public informational workshop
4

Phase 4

Send final Subcommittee recommendation to Planning Commission for review and discussion at the March 28, 2023, Planning Commission meeting.

Planning Commission’s Role

Rural land with field, trees and farmhouse

The Planning Commission will receive and consider the subcommittee’s final recommendations regarding the Sunflower Area Plan. Possible actions by the Planning Commission include:

  • accepting and revising the subcommittee recommendations
  • holding a public hearing to receive comments from the public
  • sending the Planning Commission’s recommended plan updates to the Board of County Commissioners

The Board of County Commissioners makes the final decision for all amendments to the county’s comprehensive plan, including the Sunflower Area Plan.

Planning Commission Action

On May 23, 2023, the Planning Commission held a public hearing to consider proposed amendments to the Johnson County Rural Comprehensive Plan relating to future land use updates and changes regarding the Policy Area Map and the County’s Area Plans, including the 1998 Sunflower Area Plan.

The Planning Commission recommended approval of the amendments and forwarded its recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners.

Board of County Commissioners Action

The Board of County Commissioners approved the Planning Commission's recommendations at its meeting on June 22, 2023.

Share Your Comments

You can share comments to the Planning Department by phone at 913-715-2200 or email to planner@jocogov.org.

Meetings and Materials

Below you can view documents distributed to the subcommittee and available at public meetings, as well as recordings of the meetings.

The county strives to make these documents accessible for people with disabilities. If you experience any difficulty accessing the content included in these documents, please contact accessibility@jocogov.org for assistance.

Subcommittee Meetings and Materials

Planning Commission Meetings and Materials

Board of County Commissioners Meeting and Materials