Preliminary plans for a new banking and office center along the South Lawrence Trafficway will be up for review tonight by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.
McGrew Holdings, a limited liability corporation, wants to build two office buildings and a bank along the south side of 27th Street, east of Wakarusa Drive.
McGrew's land already is zoned for such uses, but the corporation wants to install a larger sign than otherwise would be allowed. The corporation, therefore, is asking to rezone the 4 acres of property from its current uses -- agricultural and residence-office -- to a planned commercial development.
The PCD zoning would allow installation of a lighted, 72-square-foot monument sign.
Plans call for the office buildings to be built this spring. One would be 16,373 square feet, and the other would be 11,900 square feet.
A 3,000-square-foot bank would be built in the spring of 1998.
Planning staffers do not agree with the rezoning request. Instead, the land should be rezoned for office uses only, they said, because other planned commercial areas approved with use restrictions have later been changed to have no restrictions.
Fred Sherman, a city planner, said it would be appropriate to rezone the property for office uses.
The intersection is not appropriate for more commercial uses, because 10 acres at the northeast corner already are set aside for commercial development, Sherman said.
The city's comprehensive plan, Horizon 2020, calls for neighborhood shopping areas to be limited to 2 to 10 acres at a single intersection.
The property also is located west of Wakarusa View Estates. Homes along the west side of Bluestem Drive would back up to the project's site, which also includes future construction of 14 duplex units.
Several neighbors have written letters of protest to city planners.
Sarab Stuart, 2705 Bluestem, said the project would harm the community for several reasons: reduced aesthetics, increased traffic, new safety risks for neighborhood children and reduced resale values.
Stuart, who works for Stephens Real Estate, doesn't mind the possibility of living next to offices or multifamily development. But commercial zoning is another matter.
"To change the zoning in an `after the fact' manner would be a disservice to the community you represent," Stuart said, in a letter to planning commissioners.
- Approve a final plat for Vikar Subdivision, a one-lot commercial area covering 1.1 acres on the west side of North Third Street, south of the Tanger Factory Outlet center.
- Approve a preliminary plat for Hallmark Addition, a one-lot commercial area covering 38.4 acres at 101 McDonald Dr.
- Approve a preliminary plat for Yankee Tank View Addition, a one-lot area covering 120 acres that is planned for public facilities along the west side of Wakarusa Drive, north of Wakarusa Court. The city plans to build several public facilities on the land, including 3 acres for a new fire station, 68 acres for an expanded water plant, 32 acres for a park and 15 acres for a satellite public works yard.
- Approve a preliminary plat for Slimmer Addition, a one-lot commercial area covering 0.9 acre along the north side of 23rd Street, about 1,450 feet east of Harper Street. A final plat for the project also would be approved.
- Approve a preliminary plat for Ashley Acres, a two-lot residential area covering 0.3 acre along the south side of West Fourth Street and east of California Street.
- Approve a final plat for Westgate Place, a two-lot commercial area covering 0.9 acre along the south side of West Sixth Street, about 1,000 feet east of Wakarusa Drive.
- Consider a request to amend the city code to allow the use of paving bricks for residential and commercial parking areas.
- Consider a request to amend zoning regulations to include new development standards within a urban-rural fringe area.
- Consider multiple rezoning requests for property north and south of the planned extension of West 15th Street to the South Lawrence Trafficway. The requests: 32.7 acres from agricultural and residential to single-family residential uses; 81.7 acres from agricultural and residential to single-family-estate residential uses; 15.8 acres from agricultural to multifamily residential uses; 5.9 acres from agricultural and multifamily residential to single-family residential; and 27.9 acres from agricultural and residential to planned-residential uses.
- Consider a preliminary development plan for Mt. Blue Planned Industrial District, a two-phased industrial development planned to be north of the new Douglas County Jail. The development would include 138 mini-storage units in phase one, and office and retail uses in phase two. The development would be located at the northeast corner of Franklin Road and East 25th Street.