Several western Lawrence residents complained Wednesday night to the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission that the value of their new homes would drop substantially if an apartment complex goes up in their neighborhood.
However, the commission refused the residents' request to recommend downzoning of property owned by developer William Lemesany, saying it would be unfair to Lemesany, whose site plan for a 52-unit apartment complex already has been approved.
The project, located in the five-acre Leannamar Subdivision, is between Wimbledon Drive and Clinton Parkway, west of Inverness Drive.
The downzoning request now returns to the Lawrence City Commission, which will hear the matter July 14.
AFTER SPENDING about three hours on the issue, Planning Commissioner Dan Rockhill criticized the city commission for referring the matter to the planning commission, calling it "chicken politics."
"They should have known better," Rockhill said, expressing the planning commission's belief that rezoning someone's land cannot be done without the owner's consent.
The planning commission voted 8-1, with Commissioner Norbert Grosdidier opposed, to deny the request to downzone the property from RM-1 (multifamily residence) to RM-D (residence-duplex), RS-2 (single-family residence) or RS-1 (single-family residence).
The neighbors told the planning commission they purchased their new homes with the understanding their neighborhood would consist of homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range.
They said they did not realize the zoning for their own property allowed multifamily homes. And they said that since Lemesany announced his plans to put in apartments, the sale of lots in their neighborhood has come to a standstill and they have been told their property will devalue.
GROSDIDIER said he thought the neighbors had a legitimate complaint because they bought their homes with the idea they would be in a single-family neighborhood.
However, the majority of the commissioners said downzoning Lemesany's land would be unfair to Lemesany because the zoning had been in place since 1980. They said Lemesany should not be penalized because the neighbors didn't know what their property was zoned when they bought their homes.
Meanwhile, on a unanimous vote, the commission approved a request from the neighbors to downzone their own property from from RM-D (residence-duplex), RM-1 (multifamily residence) and RO-1 (residence-office) to RS-2 (single-family residence).
The commission also elected Commissioner Jean Milstead to chair the commission for the upcoming year and Commissioner Bobbie Flory as vice chairman.
Milstead, who had been vice chairman, presented the former chairman, John Wulfkuhle, with a gavel to honor his tenure.
IN OTHER action the commission:
Unanimously approved the final plat of Parkway Place No. 2, a 12-lot planned residential development of about 11 acres. The property is at the southwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Kasold Drive, immediately west of Parkway Place No. 2. It was submitted by Landplan Engineering for property owners Jack and Martha L. Rose.
Unanimously approved the final plat for Parkway Place No. 2, a two-lot planned residential-office development containing about five acres. The property is between Clinton Parkway and 24th Street, on the west side of Kasold Drive. It was submitted by Landplan Engineering for property owners Jack and Martha L. Rose.
Unanimously approved the final plat of Pinnacle West No. 6, a 21-lot residential subdivision containing about 6.5 acres. It is on the north side of Harvard Road, west of Westland Drive. It was submitted by Landplan Engineering for property owner Robert L. Stephens, president of Pinnacle Inc.
Unanimously approved the final plat of Pioneer Ridge West No. 7, a 41-lot residential subdivision containing nearly 14 acres. The property is south of Harvard Road, east of Moundridge Drive. It was submitted by Landplan Engineering for Robert L. Stephens, president, Pinnacle Inc., property owner of record.
UNANIMOUSLY approved the final plat of Parkway West, a 62-lot subdivision for single-family and multifamily residential uses. The plat contains about 62 acres. The property is on the east side of Wakarusa Drive (extended), south of Clinton Parkway. It was submitted by Landplan Engineering for property owners Michael D. and Sharon K. Stultz.
Unanimously approved the final plat of Robin's Addition No. 2, a 14-lot residential plat containing about 5.5 acres. The property is on the east side of Township Road 1100E (Folks Road) north and south of Trail Road. It was submitted by Landplan Engineering for Karlin L. Capps, president, Terravest Construction Co., property owner.
Approved on a voice vote the final plat of Wal-Mart Addition No. 1, a one-lot commercial subdivision containing about 18 acres. The property is on the southeast corner of 33rd and Iowa streets. It was submitted by Landplan Engineering for Jud W. Heflin, vice president, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., property owner.
Unanimously approved a request to vacate the right of way that provides access to 26th Street from Iowa and realign a frontage road that runs on the east side of Iowa in that area. The action is part of plans for an Applebee's restaurant and a strip shopping center in the 2500 block of Iowa.
Approved on a voice vote the final plat of Hopkins Addition, a replat of lots 2 through 8, block 2, Southridge Addition No. 3, and a vacated frontage road easement. This two-lot commericial subdivision contains nearly four acres. It is on the northeast corner of 26th and Iowa streets, where the shopping center and Applebee's will be constructed. It was submitted by Landplan Engineering for Robert R. & Jane S. Hopkins; John G. Wylie, president of Taco Grande Inc., and C. Humbert Tinsman, chairman of the Bank of Kansas-Lawrence, property owners.
UNANIMOUSLY approved a request from Douglas County Public Works to declare certain portions of roads in Grant, Kanwaka, Wakarusa and Willow Springs townships as "minimum maintenance roads."
Unanimously approved a request to rezone part of a 10.6-acre tract from RS-1 (single-family residence) to RS-2 (single-family residence). The property has been used as a landfill by Dunbar & Sons, and is on the west side of Michigan Street, directly north of the Kansas Turnpike overpass. It was requested by Landplan Engineering on behalf of Charles H. and Loretta N. Dunbar, property owners. The commission deferred action on rezoning part of the property RM-1 (multifamily residence), after hearing from Francis and Marion Denton, whose land is surrounded by the property. The Dentons said they opposed the rezoning because the developers' plans call for putting too many homes in the area. They said they were concerned about buildings higher than two stories being constructed on the property south of their home.
UNANIMOUSLY approved a text amendment to the county zoning regulations regarding parking spaces for people with disabilities. The amendment would require a note on site plans that they comply with federal Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. The amendment was initiated by the planning commission on May 27.
Unanimously approved deferring a public hearing to consider a use permitted upon review request for the century-old home at 805 Ohio. Historic Inns L.C., wants to restore the Italianate home and open it as an inn. The corporation's plans call for 10 to 12 bedrooms and a 38-seat restaurant.
Unanimously approved text amendments that would add the definitions of "bed and breakfast establishment" and "transient guest" to the city's zoning ordinance.
Unanimously approved the definition of "boarding house" in the city's zoning ordinance.
Unanimously approved initiating a text amendment to the city and county subdivision regulations to require a six-foot minimum width for sidewalks along arterial streets.
Unanimously approved initiating a text amendment to the city zoning ordinance to amend the requirements for certain uses when located in commercial or industrial zoning districts.