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.
Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt hear any objection to the Black Jack Park, to its significance or to its value, and that it should be preserved,Ã¢ÂÂ Commissioner Bob Johnson said. Ã¢ÂÂI support that, but IÃ¢ÂÂm not at all comfortable with the environs, and IÃ¢ÂÂd like to see the law change on that.Ã¢ÂÂ
The law requires that any project requiring a government permit ÃiÂ¿Â½" such as razing a house, building an office building or rezoning a field to make way for a housing subdivision ÃiÂ¿Â½" on property within 1,000 feet of a recognized landmark must be reviewed by the stateÃ¢ÂÂs historic preservation officer.
Ã¢ÂÂ¢ Agreed to trim the annual cost-of-living increase for county employees from 3 percent to 2 percent.
Ã¢ÂÂ¢ Agreed to finance $6,000 of the $15,000 bill for sponsoring a Heritage Summit in Lawrence.
Ã¢ÂÂ¢ Agreed to retain the countyÃ¢ÂÂs current fireworks regulations at least until August.