A Douglas County commissioner today proposed an alternative plan for the South Lawrence Trafficway right of way and setback requirements after concerns were raised about the cost of acquiring additional right of way.
Commissioner Mike Amyx proposed that only the land needed for the trafficway's right of way and a hiking and biking trail be purchased. The trail would be located on the inside of the trafficway, the side closest to Lawrence's city limits as the trafficway loops around the city. Amyx's plan also stayed with a 50-foot setback requirement for green space along the 14.1-mile trafficway.
Amyx asked for a 50-foot corridor for the trail, which he narrowed to 25 feet in areas where the trafficway's right of way needs exceeded 400 feet.
Amyx's plan differed from a plan offered by Lawrence City Commissioner Bob Schumm last week. Schumm's plan called for 50-foot easements on both sides of the trafficway where the right of way is 350 feet or less. Where the trafficway's right of way is 400 feet wide, a 25-foot easement would be needed. No easement would be needed where the right of way was 450 feet or wider.
Reading from a prepared statement, Amyx said property along the south side of the trafficway from east of the 31st and Haskell intersection to Clinton State Park was already utilized, in the flood plain or in a public or semi-public domain.
"I ask myself, why do we need to acquire additional easements or right of ways to create a separation between the (trafficway) and land already developed or which will remain open in character as a matter of course?" he said. "As for the remainder of the south and west sides of the trafficway, there are zoning and planning commitments which clearly state an intent to maintain agriculture uses for the future."
Questions remain about how the city and county will pay for their share of the biking and hiking trail's development. The city and county have applied for a $2 million federal grant to develop the trail, but the local governments must pay for 20 percent of the grant, or $400,000.
Commissioner Louie McElhaney warned that financing the additional $400,000 locally for the trails could be difficult.
Amyx said the city and county need to reach an agreement on who is responsible for land purchase, construction and long-term maintenance of the trail.
IN OTHER business: commissioners:
Approved a private road request for Christopher Lesser for a five-acre tract off County Road 442 about a mile east of the Shawnee County line in western Douglas County.
Approved a resolution authorizing 1991 fund transfers to the equipment reserve fund, the special highway fund and the ambulance service capital equipment fund.
Approved the following consent agenda items: commission orders and a bulk chemical purchase for noxious weed control.
Approved March 18 minutes.