Flood plain and road-access concerns prompted Douglas County commissioners Wednesday to back off approving the rezoning for a rural subdivision south of Lawrence.
Instead, commissioners voted to table rezoning for Shank Hill East, a 10-lot development on the east side of U.S. Highway 59 just south of Berg Acres, about 2 miles south of Lawrence.
Commissioners said rezoning approval will not be given until property owner Carl McElwee provides a different access road. McElwee's developer, The Peridian Group, had planned on extending East 1311 Road to serve the subdivision.
"I can't support using the roadway that's in there," Commission Chairman Tom Taul said. "I don't think it was intended not to be used as a farm road by the property owners. I think it puts a burden on them and a burden on the (Wakarusa) Township."
Wakarusa Trustee Dwane Schaake said the township eventually would be responsible for the road's maintenance.
"Carl (McElwee), I'm not opposed to your development, but I don't want it at the township's expense," he said.
Mike Keeney, a Peridian Group representative, said he and McElwee originally wanted to extend County Road 694 for a second access. However, Keeney said the property needed for the road is owned by Jere McElhaney, who refused to sell.
In addition, commissioners said the proposed lots must be out of the 100-year flood plain before the rezoning is approved. At minimum, houses built in a flood plain would have to be 1 foot above the base flood elevation, which is the projected floodwater level.
"There's no guarantee they won't flood," said Linda Finger, Planning Department director.
Home owners also would be required to have flood insurance.
Finger said the planning staff soon may ask the commission to prohibit all developments in the flood plain.
Commissioners said they could support rezoning the property if McElwee met the two conditions. Fewer than 10 houses might be built because more land would be needed for a new road and to meet flood plain requirements.