Archive for Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Annexation request passed to county

April 16, 2008

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Annexation request sent to County Commission

A developer's request for annexation of 155 acres into the city of Lawrence is now in the hands of the Douglas County Commission. Enlarge video

A developer's request for annexation of land by the city of Lawrence is in the hands of the Douglas County Commission - at least for now.

Tuesday night, Lawrence City Commission approved a resolution asking the county to decide whether annexation of 159 acres north of the Lecompton Interstate 70 interchange will hinder or prevent growth of the area.

Commissioner Boog Highberger was the only one of the five commissioners who voted against the resolution. He said the wording of the resolution indicates that the city favors annexation and is asking the county for a determination favoring it.

But the resolution's approval doesn't mean city commissioners have decided to annex, City Manager Dave Corliss said. Commissioners still need to authorize the drafting of an ordinance that will cause annexation. Commissioners put that authorization on hold until they find out what the County Commission will do and because they want more information about the development proposal and related issues.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions," City Commissioner Rob Chestnut said. "There are still a lot of details to be worked out. I have some concerns about potential uses."

The annexation proposal came from a development group led by Steve and Duane Schwada and Stonewell Farms LLC. The group wants to develop the site at the northwestern corner of North 1800 Road and East 900 Road into a business park. The property is not adjacent to the city limits and has been described as an "island annexation" request.

More than 30 people showed up at the City Commission meeting, and many of them spoke against annexation. They also cited lack of information about the proposal as well as concerns about adequate water and sewage services at the site.

"The whole intent of this remains hazy to me," said David Smith, who said he was representing a grass-roots action group. "All of this seems like a poor plan, at best premature."

Allowing a business park or light industrial site at the location goes against the city's master development guide known as "2020," said attorney Ron Schneider, who represented the Scenic Riverway Community Association. Approving the annexation would show that the city considers the 2020 document no better than window dressing, he said. He also noted the size of the site proposal.

"I would suggest this is not an island annexation but a continent annexation," Schneider said.

But Beth Johnson, vice president for economic development at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said the city needs to increase its tax base and spoke in favor of annexation. She noted the success of Lawrence's East Hills Business Park, which was an island annexation 20 years ago.

Developers are looking at providing on-site storage of water for fire protection and other needs, said Jane Eldredge, a planning and zoning attorney representing the annexation site's landowners. She encouraged the city to let the county consider the annexation issue.

A decision on the annexation probably won't be made until at least this summer, city officials said.

Comments

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

A warehouse and a truck stop is not what "the neighborhood" want, and they do not want their limited rural water district threatened by this premature development. Annexation brings with it a great many obligations on the part of the City including fire and police protection as well as supplying water. These obligations add costs to the city with few, if any, benefits. Island annexation requires the owner to specify the exact uses. The developer is being less than forthright about the intended uses so that he can exaggerate the benefits (claiming high job producing uses can be attracted) and diffuse objections (denying that it will be a truck stop and a warehouse).This project was denied by the county before bringing it to the city commission. This type of system denies Lawrence,Kansas continuity in growth and the ability to keep taxes in check.

Bud Stagg 7 years, 2 months ago

Without the Tif it probably wouldn't be built. Some taxes are better than no taxes.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

The Chamber kept telling taxpayers building more and more homes was expanding the tax base yet is the cause of rising taxes to support a bedroom community. When the Lawrence special interest groups use the tired old argument "expanding the tax base" red flags need to go up in a big way. These people may not know what they are doing. The decisions are made :without providing definite costs of projects to the public or commissioners without economic impact studies without retail impact studies without environmental impact studies without traffic impact studies without signed contracts from new tenants* without knowing whether or not Lawrence,Kansas is in demand

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"There are a lot of unanswered questions," City Commissioner Rob Chestnut said. "There are still a lot of details to be worked out. I have some concerns about potential uses."Translation-- "We need to give the appearance that the decision wasn't made at the last election-- no development plans will receive any serious scrutiny, and the rubber stamp will rule."

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 2 months ago

The most practical place for an industrial park would be on the South side of Lawrence in close proximity to a completed South Lawrence Trafficway. Having a major industrial park on the North side is probably the worst choice you could make and this is the second time a North side plan has been proposed.

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 2 months ago

It ain't over 'til it's over. It's got to be passed by the county commission, and then it's back to the city commission for final approval.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 2 months ago

I would recommend that our leadership not accept mediocre plans which seem to me a watered down compromise. If we want a world class community we need to be bold enough and strong enough to put world class ideas on the table. Mediocre just doesn't cut it.

jaydubya 7 years, 2 months ago

I just hope we know what we're getting ourselves into before approving this. It sounds like the neighbors are especially upset because of who the developer is (someone who will do the bare minimum, at least that is how they put it). It was said that the neighbors probably wouldn't be protesting this if it were another developer...

Chris Golledge 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't know, but it sounds like the developer wants to get it approved by the city and county by making each think that the other wants it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"It ain't over 'til it's over. It's got to be passed by the county commission, and then it's back to the city commission for final approval."Mere formalities. The decision was made last election.

lunacydetector 7 years, 2 months ago

horizon 2020 was out of date the day it rolled off the presses. it never considered the growth lawrence experienced in the 1990's.when i hear people spouting off about horizon 2020 this and horizon 2020 that, it makes me shudder at their ignorance.

1wetwilly 7 years, 2 months ago

It's been well known and talk about for years that a clique of builders, bankers and real estate firms have run amok in Lawrence for decades. In every part of this small city there are examples of poor city planning, lack of oversight, suspect actions and questionable relationships between and among commissioners, the Chamber and these developer groups. Their motivation has never been for the good of the community, but to collude for personal profit at the cost of the community.

lunacydetector 7 years, 2 months ago

okay mr. willy, you say, "there are examples of poor city planning, lack of oversight, suspect actions and questionable relationships between and among commissioners, the Chamber and these developer groups" start naming names

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"tart naming names"For starters, how about Hack, Dever, Chestnut and Amyx?

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