City and county commissioners were considering Wednesday morning whether Lawrence should grow to the southeast in the next few years.
The meeting was held because the city's growth is outpacing the it's ability to treat sewage.
A new $46 million upgrade at the city's Kansas River plant boosted wastewater treatment capacity from 9 million gallons a day to 12.5 million gallons a day was supposed to take the city through 2020. Instead, it will reach capacity when the city population reaches 100,000 in 2011. A new plant on the Wakarusa River won't go online until that year at the earliest.
As a result, officials have mulled putting the brakes on building permits to save sewer space for potential new businesses that would generate tax revenues. But that scenario is opposed by developers, who hired consultants to come up with methods to boost the area's sewage treatment services until the new plant is built.
"We need something in the interim, until that Wakarusa Plant comes online," said Lance Johnson of The Peridian Group.
The study session was held at City Hall, before a packed crowd of developers, utility officials, planning commissioners and activists.