Archive for Thursday, January 21, 1993

RURAL RESIDENTS OBJECT TO URBAN GROWTH PLANS

January 21, 1993

Advertisement

Stan Zaremba has a message for his fellow rural residents: "This is happening to you!"

He and several other people pleaded with the Douglas County Commission at Wednesday's meeting to delay action on rural development issues until the community knows what is about to happen.

"We want this explained to us," said Zaremba, who owns property on Route 2.

Commissioners obliged in part, deferring four items.

One of them would remove the exemption that allows rural landowners to build on property 5 acres or larger without platting the land.

The resolution, which alone drew 1 hours of discussion, would require prospective builders to plat any property if it fell within the boundaries of what planners call "Primary Urban Growth Areas," or PUGAs.

ON A MAP, PUGAs look like amoebas, swallowing Lawrence, Eudora and Baldwin. The areas, estimated by one citizen to be a total of 44,000 acres, represent the land onto which cities will encroach by the year 2000, according to a 1991 planning study.

Duane Schwada, 1927 Moodie Rd., said the PUGAs were too big and that landowners were unaware whether their property sat on one.

"Doesn't it seem important to know the area before approving these items?" he said. "It might behoove the commission to contact those people (in PUGAs) and let them know what's happening."

Planner Diane Mullens, who headed the committee that prepared the 1991 study, said the PUGAs had not changed for years and that maps were available to anybody.

"A significant portion of the county is ready to be urbanized," Mullens said.

She said that as urbanization occurred, the county had an obligation to ensure that utilities, streets and services kept up with it.

"IT'S VERY important not to underestimate platting's importance in achieving logical growth," she said.

Bobbie Flory, who served on the study committee, said she opposed drawing out the two-year process any longer.

"I feel pretty strongly that what Diane is here to present tonight is how things should be," she said.

Nevertheless, Commission Chairman Louie McElhaney moved that the county hold a public study session at 1:30 Monday afternoon at the county courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts streets.

One of the session's goals would be to refine PUGA boundaries, he said, "not only for everybody else's piece of mind, but for my own as well."

The motion passed 3-0.

"We're not trying to hoodwink anybody," Commissioner Mark Buhler said.

In Wednesday's meeting, commissioners unanimously deferred until Feb. 3 four items. The items would:

Eliminate the five-year exemption from any property within PUGAs.

Delete the classification "Suburban Growth Area."

Revise the definition of "Rural Area" to exclude land designated as a PUGA.

Revise a zoning regulation, allowing single-family dwellings to be built in agricultural zoning districts.

AT WEDNESDAY'S meeting:

Commissioners unanimously approved three items that will:

Allow septic tank systems in PUGA developments as long as developers agree to attach to sewer lines if they are installed within 1,000 feet of the development. The item allows the commission to approve exemptions.

Require subdividers of PUGA land to connect with the public water system upon plat approval when water lines run within 1,000 feet of the subdivision. The item also allows the commission to approve exemptions.

Require subdivision roads in unincorporated rural areas to meet at least rock road standards.

Commissioners voted 2-1 to deny four items. Buhler dissented on each item. The items would have:

Required subdivisions in unincorporated areas to provide access roads that could be shared by multiple lots.

Increased minimum lot widths in suburban residential districts from 150 feet to 250 feet. However, in the same item, commissioners approved a reduction of minimum lot width to 100 feet for developments with internal streets.

Increased minimum lot widths in agricultural districts from 150 to 250 feet.

Revised how the county defined lot width.

The commission unanimously:

Approved $8,365 worth of additional equipment for the enhanced 911 emergency response system. Items approved were a printer that makes hard copies of communication betweem dispatchers and deaf individuals, software and pagers enabling computer-aided dispatches, and two encoders allowing siren activation at the touch of a button.

Granted a cereal malt beverage license for Clinton Marina Inc.

Approved an agreement with Agler and Gaeddert to conduct the 1992 audit of the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

Approved a 1993 contract with a member of the Juvenile Legal Services Panel.

Approved the 1993 noxious weed control plan.

Approved a bid from M&M Office Supply for a year of county office supplies.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.