To the editor:
After the planning commission meeting of May 22, it is obvious our democratic form of local government is broken. I am speaking of the plan to develop the southwest corner of Folks Road (15-plus acres) into high-density housing and offices.
While some members of the planning commission listened to the evidence and asked intelligent questions, the group as a whole followed its normal habit of supporting developers. At least one commissioner pointed out that by approving high-density housing in this area the commission was ignoring the guidelines set down by the Kansas Supreme Court on zoning. The commission as a group ignored this point.
At least one commissioner pointed out that by allowing high-density housing in the area they were going against Horizon 2020. The commission ignored this point. Virtually every homeowner within a 4-6-block radius is opposed to the high-density zoning for this area and wants single-family homes for the south 1/2 to 2/3 of the area. This is well in excess of 100 homeowners. Only one person is for high-density, the developer. But the commission listened to the one.
Recently the planning commission has come under fire for not doing its job well. If its job is to ignore input from the majority of the public and to ignore guidelines established by the Kansas Supreme Court and favor developers, then the criticism is wrong. However, if their job is to listen to the public and apply legal guidelines for zoning, then the planning commission is performing abysmally.