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Archive for Friday, September 14, 2001

County doubtful about proposal

September 14, 2001

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Douglas County commissioners seemed skeptical Wednesday of proposed regulations to restrict floodplain development.

Commission Chairman Bob Johnson said he favored some delay in the proposals.

"It seems to me the more notice people have, the better," he said. That way, "people can talk about what they want to do with their property."

But Lawrence city commissioners, meeting jointly with the county Wednesday, said the proposals seemed to be what they were seeking.

"What we're seeing here addresses a lot of the concerns we've raised the three years I've been here," Commissioner David Dunfield said.

The regulations would prevent creation of new subdivisions on existing lots within floodplains. They would also restrict the size of development on those lots.

Planning Director Linda Finger said the regulations wouldn't hurt people who have made plans for their land.

"If you're platted and zoned," she said, "you should be able to do what you already planned to do."

For lots that haven't been platted, a narrow range of uses would be allowed in floodplains: open space, permeable surface parking areas, golf courses, towers and some agricultural structures.

Finger said the county granted 21 building permits for floodplain development between 1990 and 2000.

"That may not be true of the next 10 years," Johnson said.

Some revisions to city and county floodplain regulations are required by November, Finger said, or else the community will lose its eligibility for federal flood insurance.

Bryan Dyer, a city planner, warned against the city and county adopting dissimilar regulations. It could cause problems as the city grows, he said.

"Especially in the Urban Growth Area," he said, "if there's difference between city and county regulations, that's going to make for trouble."

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