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Archive for Friday, August 8, 2008

Neighbors fight proposed industrial park

Lecompton group raising money to sue city of Lawrence

Lawrence City commissioners have voted to proceed with plans to annex about 155 acres just north of the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike. Neighbors in the area are now working to raise money to file a lawsuit alleging that the city broke its own laws in approving the rezoning. This view is taken looking south toward the Lecompton interchange from North 1850 Road just west of East 900 Road.

Lawrence City commissioners have voted to proceed with plans to annex about 155 acres just north of the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike. Neighbors in the area are now working to raise money to file a lawsuit alleging that the city broke its own laws in approving the rezoning. This view is taken looking south toward the Lecompton interchange from North 1850 Road just west of East 900 Road.

Another I-70 interchange, the Lawrence-Lecompton exit, is also the center of debate. This one involves a dispute over a proposed industrial park.

August 8, 2008

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The fight over a proposed industrial park along the Farmers Turnpike may not be over yet.

Lawrence City commissioners on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to rezone 155 acres near the Lecompton interchange on Interstate 70. The rezoning clears the way for an industrial park to develop at the site.

But neighbors in the area are now working to raise money to file a lawsuit alleging that the city broke its own laws in approving the rezoning, the leader of the area's neighborhood association said Thursday.

"I don't understand why, evidently, the rules apply to you and me, but they don't apply to the City Commission," said Dave Ross, president of the Scenic Riverway Community Association.

At issue is a portion of the city's development code that seemingly required the city to hold off on rezoning the 155-acre piece of property until a broader sector plan was developed for the entire area near the Farmers Turnpike.

The development code states that a plan "shall be prepared and adopted prior to review" of any rezoning for property that lacks water or sewer service.

The city concedes the 155-acre piece of property has no city water service and no sewer service at all. But Scott McCullough, director of planning and development services for the city, said his office's interpretation was that the provision of the code did not apply in this instance because the developers are not asking for city water or sewer service.

Ross, though, said neighbors believe that is a bad interpretation because no language in the code suggests the provision can be set aside.

He said his group - which has about 145 members - is trying to decide whether it has enough money to file a lawsuit challenging the city's action. The group already has spent about $15,000 on a lawsuit against the county alleging that Douglas County commissioners improperly allowed the annexation of the property to move forward.

Ross believes a hearing on that lawsuit could happen in January. If the neighbors win that lawsuit, it would nullify the city's recent rezoning approval.

A sector plan is being worked on for the area, but it likely will not be approved before November. The sector plan must be approved by both the city and county commissions.

The development group - led by Steve and Duane Schwada - asked for the rezoning to be approved before the sector plan was completed because they did not want the industrial park project delayed for several months.

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

The Scenic Riverway Community Association sector plan was a brilliant opportunity for the CC and the developers to work together with the neighborhood . This plan should be given an opportunity before it was denied.The sector plan is being worked on for the area, but it likely will not be approved before November. The sector plan must be approved by both the city and county commissions. Hopefully developers will decide to open up and realize the neighborhood is on their side.

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c_dubya 5 years, 11 months ago

"Either that or it really won't be a job creating venture which means it was approved in the same way we went to Iraq, on false premises."Seriously? Do all of your conversations go this way? "I was told the pizza came with pepperoni and onions but, much like the Iraq war, you mis-led me and delivered me beef and onion pizza. I demand you be impeached from your managerial position!"You must be a real blast to hang around with.

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PetMaster5 5 years, 11 months ago

so, this is right by the scenic river road...the SCENIC river road! WHERE THE HELL IS MIKE WILDGEN!?

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geniusmannumber1 5 years, 11 months ago

Ah, yes:Industrial Park: How dare the city break its own zoning rules just because a developer asks them to? Wal-Mart: How dare the city follow its own zoning rules just because a developer asks them to?

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historynut 5 years, 11 months ago

This 155 acres surroundered by rural homes and will be contained to an isolated 155 acres industrial site. It will not scale for growth and you never know, they might be looking in your backyard in the furture for an industrial site. If the city commission is really serious about drawing more industry (and jobs) to Lawrence they need to come up with a long term plan with the capacity for future growth. A plan that includes proper infrastructure, utilities, roadways and highway access. Yeah, I know this property is a couple hundred yards away from I-70, but that doesn't make it the proper place for an idustrial site.As fast as this thing is moving, it's starting to smell fishy.

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Alexander Neighbors 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes and our family we will continue to fight it

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WWoftheW 5 years, 11 months ago

I find it interesting that the sector plan that is for 4000 acres is ignored becuase an applicant doesn't want something.Is shall no longer mandatory if an applicant says so.Are all sector plans, neighborhood plans controlled by a developer?

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historynut 5 years, 11 months ago

Good comment TGar and thanks for your support.

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TGar 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't think Scott McCullough understands the development code very well, or is being instructed to ignore certain sections, such as this one:Sec. 20-1303 (g) Review and Decision-Making CriteriaIn reviewing and making decisions on proposed zoning map amendments (which is technical language for re-zoning), review and decision-making bodies SHALL consider AT LEAST the following factors (emphasis mine):(4) Plans for the area or neighborhood, as reflected in ADOPTED AREA AND/OR SECTOR PLANS including the property or adjoining property.Now, the Planning Commission at their July meeting voted UNANIMOUSLY to give all parties three months to come up with a sector plan that would be acceptable for everyone. The city commission blew that off. In fact, I distinctly heard Dever say "what's three months". And remember, THIS is the city commission that promised they'd learned their lesson about "process" and "transparency" from the Deciphera incident.I think it's abominable that the city commission can so be so hypocritical about "process", especially when it affects so many people who do not live inside the city limits and had no opportunity to vote for any of them. I don't live out there, but I will surely contribute to their cause.

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