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Archive for Monday, November 5, 2007

County gives green light to green-space preservation plan

Questions linger about financing

November 5, 2007

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A first step for identifying green space preservation projects received approval today from the Douglas County Commission.

The ECO2 Commission is preparing to start an inventory of land that could be reserved as green space. The commission would ask landowners to send in proposals for putting land into the green space program. ECO2 (pronounced echo squared) representatives will meet Tuesday night with the Lawrence City Commission to seek its approval for moving ahead with the project.

The ECO2 Commission was formed several years ago to identify industrial, business and open green space sites in Douglas County. The commission is made up of appointees by the city and county. The commission has since formed two committees to review potential industrial and green space sites.

Landowners interested in submitting a proposal for the green-space project can obtain information online at the Douglas County Web site, www.douglas-county.com, and then click on "ECO2 Commission."

Once land is identified, the city and county might purchase it or it could be purchased as a conservation easement under which the current landowner would continue to maintain it.

"There are a number of options for doing this," ECO2 Commission chairwoman Trudy Rice said.

The deadline for landowners to submit a proposal is Jan. 31.

At this time, however, neither the city nor the county has allocated money for acquiring green space.

In other business, county commissioners are considering adoption of the International Residential Code for the unincorporated areas of the county. The so-called I-Codes would set standards for residential builders to follow. The I-Codes are used by most area communities, said Bobby Flory, executive director of the Lawrence Home Builders Association. The city of Lawrence has approved the codes.

The I-Codes will be reviewed by county zoning director Keith Dabney and the Board of Building Code Appeals to see if amendments will need to be made.

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