Archive for Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Industrial park near Lecompton approved

August 6, 2008


City Commissioners debate industrial park proposal

City Commissioners debated late Tuesday night on a proposal for a 155-acre industrial park along the Farmer's Turnpike. Enlarge video

Controversial plans for a new industrial park along Interstate 70 won a key approval late Tuesday evening.

Lawrence city commissioners sided with numerous business leaders who said the 155-acre site just north of the Lecompton interchange on Interstate 70 may represent the city's best opportunity to attract a large employer. The site has easy access to both the Kansas Turnpike and Kansas Highway 10.

"We're in a competition, a fight to prove that Douglas County is a place that wants to grow," Mayor Mike Dever said in support of the project. "We have a competitive advantage with a site that is at the confluence of these two roadways."

Commissioners approved the rezoning for the 155-acre site on a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Boog Highberger voting against it. Commissioners heard more than two hours of public comment, including much from neighbors who said the developers were asking for zoning that would allow for extremely intense industrial uses.

"I think a lot of the homeowners realize this is a good site and probably will be developed, but I would just like a little bit of protection," said Joe Farb, who lives near the site. "Giving a developer basically unlimited freedom to put nearly anything he wants on the property doesn't seem fair and it doesn't seem good for the community."

The development team - led by Lawrence businessmen Duane and Steve Schwada - did agree to prohibit some uses from the site. Those included a truck stop, a slaughterhouse, explosive storage facilities and salvage yards. The developers don't yet have a business identified to locate on the site, but said they are seeking to develop a high-quality project.

When the site could be ready for a business also was an open question Tuesday. Don Fuston, chairman of Rural Water District No. 6, told commissioners the water district would not supply water to the industrial park. He said because the city has taken the step of annexing the property, his district has no legal obligation to provide it with water.

The city has said it does not have the money to extend city water lines to the site, which is several miles outside the city limits.

A majority of commissioners, though, said they were content to leave the water issue up to the developers to resolve with the water district.


Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

Remember when the PLC wanted to create the SE Lawrence Light Industrial Park on K-10 which had plenty of access to infrastructure? This could have saved taxpayers a ton of money.Every real estate exec and the Chamber came out against this idea for a light industrial park on K-10. So it seems the Chamber has put up a few obstacles over the years. Talk about mismanaging the Lawrence future!Instead the real executives executives wanted to build more residential which everyone knows does not pay for itself tax revenue wise but produces huge profits for the real estate community.The neighborhood association put forth an offer to help develop the area which would have been a great asset to the community and the Chamber came out against this idea. In spite of the planning commission issuing a vote of confidence through a unanimous decision suggesting their plan had enough merit to warrant additional time. City Commissioners decision not to accept the proposal leaves a lot to be desired.The chamber is not an organization that is willing to acceptother ideas in spite of their less than desirable results over the past 25 years.

love2eat 9 years, 8 months ago

For the rest of this

termtech215 9 years, 8 months ago

This is just fabulous. It will do SO much for the property values in the area, and really help two already very dangerous intersections (K10 & Farmer's Turnpike and Farmer's Turnpike & 800 E). note sarcasm

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 8 months ago

Reality Check:What do we actually make in this country anymore?I have been helping manufacturers tool up and upgrade their facilities for nearly 30 years. This comment strikes a nerve with me because I have heard it too often.Today, Manufacturing is doing very well in America. They make every kind of device and part you can imagine. We are still capable of kicking "b..t" when our hands are not tied behind our backs.Today, most manufacturers are very busy and wonder why there is so much negativity on the news. Most believe that things will pick up rapidly the day after the election.But sometimes you don't get a fair shake. Manufacturers get hurt when the natural forces of the marketplace are upset. There is SO much talent and creative energy in America. We just have to stop getting in the way. It is amazing to me that manufacturers are still surviving and thriving against the odds. It is a credit to the quality of our people.Lawrence has a poor reputation among the manufacturing community because of poor leadership in the past regarding this vital area of the economy. I don't know why we can have so many educated people and not be unable to move forward on some of these important issues.Rising taxes and disappointing revenues are the future of Lawrence without better roads and industrial parks, cooperation between environmental interests and developer interests. We need an attitude that allows compromise on key issues.When you vote against better roads and industrial parks, you indirectly vote against public transportation, sports facilities for our children, better schools, better roads, a thriving economy, etc. If the leadership in Lawrence allows the wrong kind of business to come into our town, then that is a bad thing so we need to have some control in that regard and I believe this control has to be involved in any industrial park we approve. Our leaders need to make wise choices and not be hasty or pressured by fantastic sales presentations and highly paid consultants. They need to be able to negotiate a deal where Lawrence is the winner, not the loser.If the leaders of Lawrence make the right decisions in that regard, they will begin to rebuild the trust of the community, if not, then the future will not be a happy one.

Michael Capra 9 years, 8 months ago

tell the senator from nebraska that I will thank god that this got approved

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 8 months ago

This is all the more reason to finish the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence is a victim of Reaganomics aka voodoo economics.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

It's called local corporate welfare which no doubt certain plumbers love so long as our tax dollars are following their trucks around....otherwise tax dollars are bad. God does not support corruption.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

Finally after decades of contributing to the this problem some local business leaders admitted:Our city's current budget crunch could easily be tied directly to infrastructure expenses needed to serve new housing developments. The community is way over extended in this regard. If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.But they did not take the wise and fiscally responsible step. They did not call for a moratorium on new housing projects that would allow property values to regain lost value and become rock solid. Instead more and more will be approved thus further decreasing existing values. The foreclosures across the country are increasing even among those who more than qualified for prime home loans. Adding more and more homes to the market further compounds the problem of value depletion.

historynut 9 years, 8 months ago

I was at the meeting last night to oberve and I believe what the residents of this area were asking was, "why such a big hurry to rezone, why such broad industrial zoning of General Industry and what is the plan for this industrial area?" and never really got an answer. General Industry zoning appears to be pretty open ended and an advantage for the developer, one of the biggest issues that has the residents very concerned. The irony is one of the commissioners said development plans will be approved by the Mayor and commisioners and not by administration. He told the residents to rest assured that they would have the opportunity to voice their concerns and provide input on future development plans. The ironic part is that they went to the meeting last night to voice their concens and provide input, but were basically ignored and the developers got their General Industry rezoning. Sounds like the only thing the residents received was lip service. .

somebodynew 9 years, 8 months ago

toe- you may be correct, but not if you live in the area affected as I do. I don't disagree that this is probably a good area for developement due to it's location, but there are problems with this particular issue. One of the main ones is the Schwada's (they refuse to disclose the other investors) will NOT say what they plan to put there and have gotten the most liberal zoning that allows almost everything. If I had some assurance of what was planned for the area, I might be willing to live with it.And while I hate to agree with Bozo on anything, he/she has it correct on this one. Anything that is brought before this commission will get "rubber-stamped".The city has long had a policy about "island annexations", but have ignored it here, even though the guy who is in charge of the water district has said they will NOT provide water to the area since it is now annexed, and the city does not have service there. Just how much are the city residents going to have to pay to extend services to this area - i.e. H2O, police, fire, medical, etc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 8 months ago

Yea, historynut, Chestnut's "demand" that the eventual future development plans come back to the commission so they can hold a meaningless hearing just before they rubberstamp it perfectly demonstrates the disingenuousness of this commission. On both the major issues the other night, the annexation and the sales tax proposals, the hearings were meaningless, as the majorities on each vote had clearly made up their minds long before the meeting-- likely before they even decided run for their commission seats.

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