Lecompton A rezoning request for property on the outskirts of Lecompton has some neighbors worried about what type of business might be built there.
Nearly a dozen people who live within 200 feet of East Fifth Street and Eisenhower Memorial Drive filed a petition with the city opposing a rezoning change from residential to commercial type 2.
"I just don't know what they've got in mind," nearby resident Jim Leslie said. "If they'd come up front and say what they are going to do, that would be a different story."
The property in question is at East Fifth Street and Eisenhower Memorial Drive, which also is known as Douglas County Road 1029. It is just north of Kroeger's Country Meats on the main road into this historic Kansas River town.
"We don't want anything that would devalue our property," said Linda Kroeger, who with her husband, Gary, owns Kroeger's Country Meats. They have signed the petition.
The property that concerns them is owned by Topekan Tom Goodrich. He is selling the property where he grew up and where his mother, Evelyn Goodrich, lived until she died late last year.
Goodrich said he was letting his real estate agent, Tex Harrell, handle the property sale and rezoning request.
The rezoning is sought only for part of the property - a couple of lots along Eisenhower Drive. A house built in the 1860s where Evelyn Goodrich lived is not included in the rezoning area.
"I just need to sell the property and get out of debt," Goodrich said.
A commercial 2 designation would allow a variety of businesses.
"I don't want to see a bar or something like that go in there," said Glenn Corel, who lives with his family to the west on Boone Street.
Corel doesn't live close enough to have signed the petition, but he is close enough to be concerned about increased traffic and other complications some businesses could bring to the neighborhood.
Harrell said he didn't have any clients lined up to buy the property. Rumors he's heard about who might buy the property are untrue, he said. But he thinks it will be more marketable if it is zoned commercial rather than residential.
"Right there along the highway is a good commercial spot," he said.
The rezoning would allow for many commercial possibilities, said Greg Trendel, president of the Lecompton Planning Commission.
"It could be about anything within the space limitations," he said.
The Kroegers and others said the property included in the rezoning request often floods because it is part of a large drainage area.
Earlier this month, the Lecompton City Council directed the planning commission to get measurements for the lots covered by the zoning request and determine how far back a building needed to be from the roads under regulations.
A rezoning request can be approved without knowing what type of business an owner would put on the property, Trendel said.
"That process would come later with the building permit," he said.
Goodrich is the author of several Bleeding Kansas history books, including "Bloody Dawn: The Story of the Lawrence Massacre." He said he understood the neighbors' concerns.
"Lecompton is a historic town. I wish I could remain a philanthropic steward and turn it into a park, but the reality of life is I've got to pay bills," he said.