Archive for Thursday, December 12, 2002

Historic listing gains backing

December 12, 2002

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Douglas County commissioners may be losing the battle over regulatory restrictions slated for a pre-Civil War battlefield, but they hope to win the legislative war.

Wednesday night, commissioners voted 2-1 to support an effort to add Black Jack Battlefield to the National Register of Historic Places. Pro-slavery and abolitionist forces exchanged fire on the site in 1856, providing an early spark for the Civil War.

But commissioners, spurred by objections from angry residents who own property along the 20-acre site, also targeted a state law that would add a layer of regulatory review to proposed projects near the battlefield east of Baldwin.

They intend to ask Kansas legislators to change the law, either to give area governments more authority or to loosen restrictions that can threaten, delay or even stop proposed developments nearby.

âÂÂI donâÂÂt hear any objection to the Black Jack Park, to its significance or to its value, and that it should be preserved,â Commissioner Bob Johnson said. âÂÂI support that, but IâÂÂm not at all comfortable with the environs, and IâÂÂd like to see the law change on that.âÂÂ

The law requires that any project requiring a government permit Ãi¿½" such as razing a house, building an office building or rezoning a field to make way for a housing subdivision Ãi¿½" on property within 1,000 feet of a recognized landmark must be reviewed by the stateâÂÂs historic preservation officer.

Commissioners also:

⢠Agreed to trim the annual cost-of-living increase for county employees from 3 percent to 2 percent.

⢠Agreed to finance $6,000 of the $15,000 bill for sponsoring a Heritage Summit in Lawrence.

⢠Agreed to retain the countyâÂÂs current fireworks regulations at least until August.

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