On a 5-5 vote, local planning commissioners refused early this morning to approve rezoning for land in North Lawrence that would allow a factory outlet center just off the Kansas Turnpike.
However, the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission decided to defer the item for a month and initiate a different type of zoning that would give commissioners tighter control over the development.
The commission took the action about 1 a.m. today after spending four hours on the proposal for the 150,000-square-foot Tanger Factory Outlet Center.
One of the major hangups was traffic. Price Banks, planning director, pointed out that traffic problems created by the development need to be resolved such as who would pay for a traffic signal and changes required along North Third Street.
He estimated the traffic problems could cost about $250,000 to resolve. He also estimated drainage problems that need to be addressed could cost up to $700,000.
ANOTHER HANGUP was the economic impact the development would have on downtown some commissioners thought it would hurt and some thought it would help.
Following the deferral, Wint Winter Jr., a local attorney representing Stanley K. Tanger & Co., said the North Carolina developer would help pay for improvements at the intersection, but not for a traffic signal.
The only commissioner voting against deferral was Dan Rockhill, who said the mall would erode downtown's strength.
Most commissioners generally approved the plan, but had concerns about unresolved traffic problems at the site. Other worries included a possible negative effect on Lawrence Riverfront Plaza Factory Outlets, Sixth and New Hampshire.
TANGER'S PLANS call for building a factory outlet mall on North Third Street, across the street from the road leading to the east Lawrence interchange on the Kansas Turnpike.
Tanger requested rezoning about 3.67 acres from M-3 (intensive industrial) to C-4 (general commercial) for the center. The property has been used as a lumberyard.
After failing to grant that rezoning on a 5-5 vote, the commission deferred the item until Feb. 24. The commission then voted 9-1, with Rockhill opposed, to initiate rezoning the area to PCD-1 (planned commercial development).
That zoning designation would give commissioners greater control over the development and would enable city officials to restrict what type of businesses could be located at the site.
Steve Tanger, executive vice president of the company, said he was interested in putting in a high-quality center and hoped to make Lawrence even more attractive to shoppers.
WINTER SAID the project would cost between $5 million and $10 million and would have an economic impact of $27.83 million on the community. He said the project would create about 200 jobs. The project also would bring more than $2 million in tax revenue to local units of government, he said.
Winter said the project would help balance the city's economic growth by bringing more commercial development to North Lawrence and could help the city's downtown grow north across the Kansas River.
However, representatives of the Riverfront center and of the Downtown Lawrence organization said the city should progress slowly on the development to ensure it doesn't hurt current retail trade.