The county has hired another attorney, Dan Watkins, to represent them in their effort to restore the access road.
Douglas County commissioners are upset that their county counselor kept them in the dark about an access road he was working to get removed, and the county has hired a different attorney to represent them in the matter.
County Counselor Wint Winter Jr. was involved in negotiations with the state that led to the removal of frontage road access to 23rd Street just east of Harper.
That access road was used by businesses along the frontage road, including Don's Steak House, and led to a southeast entrance to the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Winter was involved as one of the vice presidents of Peoples Bank, which has opened a branch in a new convenience store on the northeast corner of 23rd and Harper.
County Commissioner Charles Jones said Winter should have alerted the commissioners about the access change because of the fairgrounds entrance.
"But he also should have talked to some of the neighbors," Jones said. "The fact he works for us is really rather secondary to the way this whole thing was handled."
All three commissioners expressed anger during Wednesday's commission meeting that none of the property owners who use the frontage road were notified that the access was being changed until it was torn out Aug. 6. The city normally alerts any property owners within 200 feet.
The property owners were farther away than that but still deserved to be called, Jones said.
"It was pretty obvious there were going to be impacts on a number of people who used that access road," he said.
Because 23rd Street doubles as Kansas Highway 10, the Kansas Department of Transportation was responsible for approving the change. It also was approved by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission as part of the Peoples Bank and adjoining 10 Marketplace developments.
The plan called for the removal of the frontage road access to accommodate two parking lot entrances for the developments.
Doug Compton, one of the developers of 10 Marketplace, said he did exactly what KDOT asked.
"We want to be a good neighbor," Compton said. "We didn't do anything intentionally."
Winter was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.
The county has hired another attorney, Dan Watkins, to represent them in their effort to restore the road.
"Obviously we'd like to see it resolved on a cooperative basis," Jones said. "If it takes litigation, that's why we hired an attorney."
Jones said he didn't know if the situation would affect Winter's employment with the county.
"We haven't heard the whole story yet," Jones said. "I haven't talked to Wint directly."
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