A rezoning request that would allow a boat storage facility to be built near Clinton Lake and the South Lawrence Trafficway was approved in a split vote by Douglas County commissioners Wednesday night.
Commissioners Bob Johnson and Jere McElhaney voted in favor of rezoning 6.18 acres from suburban residential to limited commercial at the site, at East 900 Road and north of the closed Clinton Cove convenience store area.
The request had been made by property owner Robert Voth and Windover Community of Lawrence, LLC. Currently there is no development on that acreage.
Commissioner Charles Jones voted against the rezoning, saying it was premature because there has been no site plan developed for the general area. He questioned whether a boat storage facility could meet commercial development size requirements under Horizon 2020, the city-county planning document. He said he thought the city-county planning staff reinterpreted the words of Horizon 2020 in recommending the rezoning.
Jones said he thought a conditional use permit was more appropriate than a rezoning because it would be specific and have no implications for neighboring properties.
"It's a better, cheaper way to get to the same end," he said. "I'm disappointed in staff's interpretation."
Johnson, however, said he thought the area was better served by commercial use rather than residential. "I just have every reason to believe its not a bad thing to do."
McElhaney also said he thought the area was a better fit as a commercial-retail area.
In July a majority of the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of the request, also saying it was premature because there was no "compelling need" for additional commercial acreage in the area and there would be a significant impact to property owners.
Johnson noted that the Planning Commission didn't dispute whether the rezoning fit with Horizon 2020. He also said property owners to the north and south of the Voth site had not complained to the county about the proposal.