After facing intense opposition from neighbors, a proposed banking and office center along the South Lawrence Trafficway is headed back to the drawing board.
McGrew Holdings, headed by John McGrew, agreed to postpone consideration of plans for two office buildings and a bank branch on four acres along the south side of 27th Street, east of Wakarusa Drive.
Lawrence-Douglas County planning commissioners had been asked to approve the project's preliminary development plan and related rezoning Wednesday night. McGrew wanted to rezone the land -- currently set aside for residential and office uses -- for commercial uses.
More than two dozen residents of adjacent homes attended Wednesday's meeting to voice disapproval. Commissioners already had a petition signed by 39 neighbors opposing the plan.
Tom Moore, a Lawrence police officer who lives at 2704 Bluestem Ct., said commercial zoning could lead to increased traffic and safety problems. Others feared lower property values.
Professional offices and a bank would be fine, Moore said, but not anything commercial.
"If we put a Kwik Shop or that sort of thing in there ... that would potentially just be a stop-and-rob for people outside of the city," Moore said, noting the land's proximity to the trafficway.
Herb Kupec, 2729 Bluestem Dr., pointed out that McGrew had placed covenants on nearby homes' land and even forced buyers to sign a document acknowledging the office and residential zoning next door.
The document said nothing about commercial zoning, Kupec said.
Mike Keeney, who represented McGrew at the meeting, said the rezoning request was intended to permit installation a lighted 72-square-foot monument sign on site. Otherwise, signs would be limited to 2 square feet.
Keeney had offered to limit commercial uses on the property to offices and a bank, but city staffers said that wouldn't be a good idea because conditions could be changed too easily.
Keeney then asked to defer the matter until next month.
Also Wednesday, commissioners unanimously opposed recommended changes to the joint subdivision regulations that would place new controls on development in the 8.5-square-mile area located between Leary Road and Wells Overlook Road, as laid out in Horizon 2020.