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Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lawrence moves to annex land near Lecompton

Audience members turn their attention to Lawrence resident Elizabeth Hatchett as she offers her opposition to a requested annexation of rural property along the Farmers Turnpike for industrial development. Hatchett spoke at Tuesday's City Commission meeting at City Hall.

Audience members turn their attention to Lawrence resident Elizabeth Hatchett as she offers her opposition to a requested annexation of rural property along the Farmers Turnpike for industrial development. Hatchett spoke at Tuesday's City Commission meeting at City Hall.

June 18, 2008

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Annexation cause of concern

A new industrial park northwest of Lawrence is at the center of controversy. 6News reporter Jesse Fray is live in the News Center to explain concerns coming from nearby neighbors. Enlarge video

City commissioners are being asked by developers to annex about 155 acres just north of the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike. This view is taken looking south toward the Lecompton interchange from North 1850 Road just west of East 900 Road.

City commissioners are being asked by developers to annex about 155 acres just north of the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike. This view is taken looking south toward the Lecompton interchange from North 1850 Road just west of East 900 Road.

City commissioners moved ahead on plans for a new industrial park near the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike, saying it was a key piece of ground to attracting new jobs to the city.

"I care about this land," Mayor Mike Dever told a full City Commission room. "But sometimes you have to give up something to gain something. To gain a reputation where we can be a place where jobs can grow and develop, we have to have locations to offer."

On a 4-1 vote, commissioners gave preliminary approval to annexing approximately 155 acres of property just north of the Lecompton interchange on Interstate 70.

Commissioners heard more than an hour's worth of public comment from both opponents and supporters of the annexation, which is the first step in turning the property into a business park.

Opponents - which included a neighborhood group near the site - argued that the city was opening itself up to a costly extension of city water and sewer service to the site, which is about 1.5 miles outside the city limits.

"I think under the city's financial circumstances, it is ludicrous to expend such funds," said Ron Schneider, a Lawrence attorney who is representing the neighborhood group.

But the development group - which includes Lawrence businessmen Duane and Steve Schwada - assured the city that they were not asking for an extension of water and sewer service to the site. Commissioners also were told by City Manager David Corliss that the city could require the developers to pay for the extension of water and sewer service to the site when it becomes necessary.

"No public money is being asked for and none is being granted," City Commissioner Rob Chestnut said. "That is the understanding I'm moving forward with."

The neighborhood group, though, is fighting the annexation on a separate front as well. Schneider said he will file a lawsuit in Douglas County District Court today contending that Douglas County commissioners erred earlier this year when it found the island annexation did not impede the growth of any other city in the county.

City Commissioner Boog Highberger was the lone commissioner to vote against the annexation. He said the request was premature, in part, because an area plan had not yet been completed for the property. Highberger also said he believed the developers were trying to circumvent the development process by bringing the annexation request to the city.

In 2004, the group had tried to obtain industrial zoning from the county commission but failed to win unanimous approval from the county commission. The issue needed unanimous approval from the County Commission because residents filed a protest petition. Earlier this year, a similar request was filed with the county but it has been on hold after it appeared the project may lack the necessary votes at the County Commission.

City commissioners on Tuesday did agree to place specific wording in the annexation ordinance making it clear that the city wouldn't be obligated to extend city water and sewer service to the site.

Developers have said they believe they can find users for the site - such as a distribution center or warehouse - that would not need city water and sewer service. The developers also have said they're prepared to have an on-site water storage system to accommodate a fire sprinkler system.

Comments

Michael Capra 6 years, 6 months ago

look its rundle and ermiling doing the secret hand shake has she joined the rundle bundle gang to bankrupt the city.Again

scott3460 6 years, 6 months ago

Another idiotic decision by a group of development mad idiots. Lawrence & the surrounding area used to be such a nice place. Ruined slowly by surely by the hordes of idiots.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 6 months ago

Impact Fees Excise taxes Impact Fees Excise TaxesThe largest growth that has taken place in the last 25 years has been residential yet the city still cannot or refuses to maintain older residential neighborhoods/ infrastructure. Obviously this expanded tax dollar liability beyond what the new expanded tax base could produce in terms of new tax dollars. A bloated residential base is not a situation taxpayers can afford.If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive Lawrence would not be in a budget crunch. Quite the contrary. Lawrence would be rolling in the dough.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.Impact Fees&Excise taxes - Impact Fees&Excise Taxesmust be implemented if any possibility for sensible growth decisions is to take place.

Michael Capra 6 years, 6 months ago

Schwada blvd ..nice ring to it dont you think merrill

imagold 6 years, 6 months ago

Sing along with Joni: They paved paradise to put up a parking lot. Oooh, dah, dah, dah, dah. This makes me sad...again. Sad for nature. Sad for wide open spaces. Sad that our kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids are, someday in the near future, going to have to look at photos and be told what a pasture was.

commuter 6 years, 6 months ago

Merrill until you pay an impact fee for property, i won't listen. You sound like a broken record. FYI. The empty space at East Hills is empty because of access to I-70.Merrill say to to drugs and GRA. Both are bad.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 6 months ago

Speculation is how economic displacement develops instead of economic growth."City commissioners moved ahead on plans for a new industrial park near the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike, saying it was a key piece of ground to attracting new jobs to the city."How do they know?How can they know based on NOT knowing what type business will locate to that land?*How does anyone know there is a demand for more warehouse space in Lawrence,Kansas.Decisions based on speculation is unacceptable and fiscally irresponsible. "Developers have said they believe they can find users for the site"Pure speculation. Developers THINK warehouse space will be in demand because of that large train yard currently under construction south of here. There are tons of warehouses planned for that train yard that are not 25-30 miles away.There is a NEW 10 year old 600,000 sq ft warehouse in East Hills Business Park that was built based on speculation. Never been used. I believe the building owner is our illustrious Chamber of Commerce. Why does the Chamber own the building? Where did the money come from? How does the Chamber afford the property taxes.Big empty buildings cost taxpayers money because tax dollar spending(budget) is based on square footage of job space(tax revenue) whether jobs/sales(tax revenue) exist or not.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 6 months ago

It is ludicrous for citizen taxpayers to believe this will not cost them money.Annexation in and of itself demands city law enforcement and fire department services right off the top.Annexation in and of itself increases the cost of community services. Citizen taxpayers know there will be demands for more: water and sewer lines streets and repairshousespublic schools fire stations law enforcement manpowersidewalks snow removal bike trails and cross walks Traffic signals Traffic calming developers requesting more tax dollar assistance(new infrastructure) for theirwarehouses and retail strip malls.*In general increases the cost of community services to all taxpayers.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

"....Douglas County commissioners erred earlier this year when it found the island annexation did not impede the growth of any other city in the county."Following that thinking, is it then possible for the citizens of Lawrence to file suit against Rundle, Highberger & Schauner for actually destroying the growth of Lawrence, depleting our general fund for folly, thus causing great harm to the reputation of this city, not to mention skyrocketing property taxes?

BigPrune 6 years, 6 months ago

Pave paradise? There ain't no paradise out there.

OnlyTheOne 6 years, 6 months ago

"Services? We don't need no steenking services." We'll just put in an open lagoon (I love the smell of an open lagoon in the morning) or individual septic systems and drop wells to suck the aquifer dry so we can keep our business lawns and shrubs beautiful while you farmer's and property owner's see your wells run dry.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 6 months ago

What is it that Hawkperched has against dogs?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

"imagold you are free to purchase any type of pasture/land you would like. Do it for your grandkids!"The Schwada's bought pasture land, too. That doesn't mean they should be guaranteed the right to use it for whatever purpose they can buy a commission to approve for them.

dandelion 6 years, 6 months ago

RealityCNo lie. They're shipping everything out to other countries. It's probably a ploy to get annexed, then they are going to build more stupid strip malls. Just what we need, more strip malls.

Baille 6 years, 6 months ago

You vote for those who promote cancerous growth, you get cancerous growth. We have areas zoned industrial that are underutilized. No need to add more. And who wants to bet the Schwadas come back next year and ask for city services? This ain't good for Lawrence.

commuter 6 years, 6 months ago

Probally not but I would try to figure out a way to buy the property from them. Maybe that makes me different from most people on this board.dandelion- I am confused. If the Farmland site is contaminated, what prospective developer would want to buy it without millions and millions of tax subsidies? Have you had any experience with land that it contaminated? I worked on project that was less contaminated than the Farmland site about 8 years ago. It costs over 5 million for just the clean up, this does not account for acquisition, building costs, soil testing, architect fees, legal fees, etc. JackRipper- based on your comments, I am guessing you do not own a business? I am also guessing you do not have a mangerial role in a business? If so, i would be extremely shocked. Just because there is an empty building at East Hills Business Park, there should be no more commercial building? If so, there should be no more residential building, right? Who owns East Hills Business Park?

cantbelievemyeyes 6 years, 6 months ago

Once again, buy the land yourself and put a giant vegetable stand there if you want one.You are complaining about everything being built 'way over there', but I bet you will be the first in line if there is some sort of factory that wants to be put there so that they can build it 'over here'.It sounds like you live around there, so why didn't you buy it when it was up for sale?

OnAir 6 years, 6 months ago

I would suggest that everyone travel down to Ottawa and view the American Eagle facility that was not good enough for Lawrence. Don't take anyone's word for what it is. Go and drive by.

cantbelievemyeyes 6 years, 6 months ago

First off, if I buy land should I be able to get the city to annex it to do whatever I want? Considering there are others living out there shouldn't they have some rights about their land? If I buy property next to your house is it ok if I buy city votes so I can put in dance hall?If the city approves it, yes. No one is asking to build a dance hall but you are saying that these people have no rights about the land that they own. If I don't like what my neighbors are doing legally, I will move. As you said, there are other houses for sale.So the only place new jobs can be created is land that the city doesn't even control? That is why annexation is being requested.....Hello??Well, well, so the fact that first the bypass is pushed through and look there is one of the major developers with land right there needing instant development opporunitiesYou are making a lot of insinuations. I would like to see the proof. I don't know how the bypass came to be put in, but when they built it 10 or so years ago, I for one was thrilled to have an easier, faster way to get around. I see no sinister plans as I drive on it and I doubt all the others who enjoy getting off the road faster and burning less fuel see it as well.

cantbelievemyeyes 6 years, 6 months ago

Why don't all of you people who want to tell everyone else what to do with their land, band together and buy the land yourselves?? How is making new jobs for people a bad thing? With gas prices the way they are it would be nice to have a few jobs in Lawrence instead of having to commute out of town to work.This site, being next to the turnpike exit/entrance makes much more sense than the Farmland site. Much easier to get a distribution center there. Developers look at that and at whether there is land available before saying yes we want to build our plant there. People will NOT have to wait to go home to "pee". If you read the article it says the developers will will pay for it themselves when the need arrives, that they will not ask the city to do so.

commuter 6 years, 6 months ago

Somebodynew- Just because you personally don't have the money to buy the property, you can always start an investment club to pool your money. I know a few people who probally would be interested Merrill, Boog, Rundle, Kirk McClure, and Schauner, oh wait I forgot that group of people wouldn't use their money to buy any property, they would rather complain about the use of property or try to change the rules halfway through the game. As for city annexing the property, maybe annexing the property it would make it easier to help bring any potential business to the location. How many employers want to move to a county location instead of inside city limits? Also, the city could help with some incentives.Maybe I have worked for companies, ones that pay taxes- KU and not for profits, and unions normally do not pay taxes, the cost to relocate is tremendous. Even expanding or creating a new warehouse is costly.My last employer mover 10 miles from one building to another, it costs over $100,000 and we collectively spent over 500 hours over a 10 month time frame to help ensure the move was a success. Funny thing, we moved inside the same city. Most people of this board, including merrill, have and will never be a part of a business that grows and needs more additional space.

cantbelievemyeyes 6 years, 6 months ago

Try driving by the Target distribution center in Topeka sometime. It is quiet, beautifully landscaped and it is bringing in a LOT of jobs and revenue for the city.

somebodynew 6 years, 6 months ago

dandelion - I appreciate a serious question and will try to answer as best as my limited knowledge will allow.The ONLY reason they want this annexed is because they have tried 2-3 times to get the County Commission to re-zone the land, and the county has said no, that the zoning they want (the one that allows almost anything industrial) doesn't fit. They also refuse to say just what exactly they want to put in there. With the zoning they are asking for almost anything can be put in, including a truck stop (which is one of the rumors). And to "cantbelievemyeyes" - I do admit I live near the area, just so there is no guessing. Why didn't I buy the land myself - - Well I don't know about you, but I don't have the Swada money or an investment group to buy more than my house. This land also sold at an auction several years back and wasn't listed in a typical sale format.And for those who are thinking that I should have checked things before I moved - I did (1994) and was told repeatedly the City would probably never cross the Turnpike. It still hasn't unless this is approved. I believed the area would remain rural and farm/residential when I built.This group is just trying to "end run" the County because they have more "pull" with the City to get the zoning they want.

dandelion 6 years, 6 months ago

This is a serious question, because I'm confused about some facts here. If they aren't asking the city to put in sewer and water, then why annex them? Won't the county allow them to put in an industrial park? What is the value of being annexed? I'm not being flip here, and I don't have enough facts to know if I would favor this or not. I really don't understand the purpose of this annexation.

dandelion 6 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the answers. It seems that eyesore Farmland would make a better industrial park. What else would you put in there. I don't think I would like to live there, so a housing complex or apartments would be dumb. If they would bring jobs with real pay and not just more retail, it might be ok, but I think there would have to be some iron clad guarantee.commuter - if someone wanted to put in a car lot and mechanic shop next door to you, would you mind? I mean it's their property.

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