Lawrence city commissioners Tuesday night approved a new plan that maps out future industrial sites for Douglas County, although they expressed some reservations about two possible business park locations.
Commissioners unanimously approved an update to the industrial chapter of Horizon 2020, which is the comprehensive plan for city and county growth, but said they wanted more information about business park locations slated for South Iowa Street where U.S. Highway 59 intersects with the South Lawrence Trafficway. There also were questions about a new business park location at the Baldwin Junction where U.S. Highways 59 and 56 intersect.
"It is unclear to me whether this document accomplishes some of what I think it should," said City Commissioner David Schauner.
Schauner said he shared some of the concerns that the League of Women Voters expressed about the sites. The league has argued that the area near the South Lawrence Trafficway could increase the amount of truck traffic that travels through Lawrence on Iowa Street. The league also said it opposed the Highway 56/59 site because it could have a negative impact on the surrounding rural areas.
Schauner also said each of the new business park areas should go through a review process that determines how new office space in the parks may affect downtown's office environment.
Commissioners agreed to approve the plan with the condition that Lawrence-Douglas County Planning commissioners consider adding future language to the plan. Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to receive a presentation on the plan at their meeting tonight.
The plan confirmed sites that already had been recommended by the Lawrence-Douglas County Economic Development Board. Those sites around Lawrence include areas near the Lawrence Municipal Airport, the former Farmland Industries site on the east edge of Lawrence, and vacant property that is south and east of Kansas Highway 10 and O'Connell Road.
City commissioners approved the plan on a 4-0 vote. Commissioner Sue Hack was absent.
In other business, commissioners:
¢ Unanimously approved a request to add flashing beacons and a crossing guard on West 27th Street near Inverness Drive for students traveling to and from Sunflower School. The crossing guard could be in place in January, but it will be three to five months before the flashing beacons are installed.