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Archive for Thursday, October 28, 1993

PLANNERS AWAIT PUBLIC VERDICT

October 28, 1993

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The latest step n the Horizon 2020 planning process is a list of land-use ideas, mailed to all 450 participants and asking for their opinions.

A draft of Lawrence's next comprehensive land-use plan is up for public comment, and planners say they're ready.

"We left some things in there that we didn't necessarily agree with because we wanted the public to be able to comment on it," said Jean Milstead, chair of the Horizon 2020 steering committee.

The "Strawman Plan," developed by a planning consultant after five months of public committee work, will lead to new land-use principles to guide planning in Lawrence and Douglas County's unincorporated areas through the year 2020.

The final Horizon 2020 plan isn't due until March 1995, she said, but a public hearing Nov. 10 will help the process turn the corner.

"It's taking the ideas and putting them down in writing for the community to look at, to see if they'll buy into them," Milstead said. "These are ideas about things people want accomplished, and now we have to find ways to do that."

So far, the results of 10 citizen task groups have led to several recommendations for the 32-page plan, including:

  • Develop conference facilities at Clinton State Park.
  • Encourage public transportation, neighborhood-level planning and development of joint recreational facilities by the city, county and school board.
  • Manage growth, rather than limit it.
  • Attract business through promotion of Lawrence as a balanced community, not a bedroom one.
  • Call for a vocational-technical training center.

"It really is a positive document," Milstead said.

Even so, planners and government officials don't expect the plan to sail through untouched. There still are several areas of contention, Milstead said, such as neighborhoods wanting cul-de-sacs to hinder traffic, while transportation planners encourage a grid system for smooth movement.

"What we have to do is find principles that can take a lot of the politicalness out of the process," Milstead said.

During a study session Wednesday, County Commissioner Mark Buhler thanked members of the steering committee for "taking the beating" during the two-year-old public-input process, then asked for additional information about dissenting views.

"We're going to get criticized -- whether it's the steering committee or the governing body -- for the process no matter what the result is," Buhler said. "I'm just trying to look at as much stuff as I possibly can."

About 450 copies of the plan were mailed Wednesday and today to residents involved in the Horizon 2020 process, said Sheila Stogsdill, a city-county planner. Others may examine the document at several libraries and copying businesses in the county.

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