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Archive for Thursday, November 2, 1995

PUGA GOES TO PLANNERS

November 2, 1995

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County officials say nothing is sacred when planning commissioners start to edit their rural development proposal.

A proposal to increase development regulation in rural areas is about to be picked apart and put back together by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.

During a study session Wednesday morning, county commissioners asked planners to evaluate the proposal and make recommendations for any changes.

County commissioners acknowledged that the proposal was initiated to satisfy a city demand for tighter development restrictions in areas most likely to be annexed into the city. City officials want to avoid the expense of taking over rural infrastructure, which typically isn't designed to city standards.

However, county commissioners said planners should feel no pressure because of the side deal and asked them to critique the agreement only for practicality and compliance with planning principles.

``We'd like you to take a look at this and tell us what you think," County Commissioner Jim Chappell said. "If that doesn't hold the (water meter) deal together, then so be it."

He and the other two county commissioners also encouraged planners to redraw the proposed boundaries for a new primary urban growth area outside the Lawrence city limits. All three commissioners believe the proposed PUGA would take in rural areas that aren't likely to be annexed into the city in the near future.

Of particular concern to county commissioners is the PUGA's proposed expansion to take in property south of the Wakarusa River. Although there are several subdivisions in that area that have not been developed to city standards, commissioners believe the city limits won't creep in that direction until a sewer treatment plant is built south of the river.

The city now has no plans to do so, which County Commissioner Mark Buhler said should limit the city's interest in regulating the area.

``If you want Pleasant Grove in the PUGA, then get the sewer pipe out,'' Buhler said. ``If you make the commitment to regulate them, then make the commitment to deliver the service.''

Lawrence Mayor Bob Moody, who helped negotiate the proposal, wasn't at the study session to hear the county officials' comments or to explain the city's position. Moody said he wasn't aware the study session had been scheduled but said most of the issues addressed by the proposal have been up for discussion for several years.

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