Archive for Friday, August 11, 2000

Resident tries to halt ‘leap-frog sprawl’

August 11, 2000

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One Lawrence resident, originally incensed by the planning commission's approval of the American Eagle project in the East Hills Business Park, is rounding up county residents to oppose a new development.

Melinda Henderson began circulating a petition Thursday to urge the commission to deny the rezoning request of "The Lakes," a planned residential subdivision near Eudora.

"My concern with this is the planning staff, in their staff report, has recommended denial of rezoning, because it doesn't comply with Horizon 2020," she said.

Developers hope to change the 25-lot project northeast of the intersection of North 1000 Road and East 1900 Road from agricultural district to suburban home residential.

Henderson, a smart-growth proponent, thinks the commission has approved rezoning for developments in the past, over the recommendation of its staff. She hopes her open petition will persuade the commission to reject the proposal.

"The property is not in the urban growth area, and it is not contiguous to a platted subdivision," Henderson said. "Horizon 2020 is very specific, in that it tries to encourage growth in an orderly fashion."

Characterizing "The Lakes" as leap-frog sprawl, Henderson hopes her petition will encourage the efforts of a formal petition by neighbors of the site.

She also said the utilities and infrastructure needed for such a neighborhood are not in place and would cost county residents to install.

Owners of the surrounding property can file a formal protest petition with the commission as well.

Henderson has been following the actions of the planning commission since the American Eagle Outfitters project first appeared on its agenda.

The Eagle project, which had its share of critics, includes a $45 million, 402,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center slated for the East Hills Business Park.

"Everything happens at the planning commission," she said. "If you aren't paying attention to what happens then you lose your opportunity (to speak). You miss the public hearing, and the votes are taken. People were asleep at the wheel with that."

The planning commission will consider "The Lakes" rezoning request at its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Henderson can be reached via e-mail at melin@sunflower.com

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