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Archive for Wednesday, March 11, 2009

City keeps airport proposal on radar

Plans for a local company to build a small-scale aircraft manufacturing plant at the Lawrence Municipal Airport are still alive.

March 11, 2009

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Plans to bring a high-paying aircraft design company to the Lawrence Municipal Airport remained alive Tuesday after city commissioners learned more about the company.

Commissioners at their weekly meeting unanimously agreed to study the feasibility of extending water and sewer service to the airport so that Lawrence-based DAR Corp. could build a new facility there.

“The Lawrence airport is our first choice,” said Willem Anemaat, president of DAR Corp. “But what we want to do today is impossible because of the lack of sewer service.”

Commissioners were told that previous estimates indicated it would cost about $1.9 million to extend sewer service to the airport, which is about one mile north of North Lawrence. Staff members are estimating it will cost about $600,000 to boost water service to the airport.

But Anemaat, who confirmed his plans to the Journal-World last week, gave commissioners new details about the size of his project. He said his company, which employs 12 people currently, would grow to 25 employees next year, if the deal were approved. He is estimating that the company would grow to 65 employees after five years. Almost all the new employees would be engineers, with average salaries of about $80,000 per year.

Anemaat said the company is in the final stages of securing a contract to design several general aviation aircraft. He said that deal should be finalized by June.

The new facility would design and build prototype, or “proof of concept,” aircraft for companies that are interested in mass-producing the aircraft.

DAR, which has offices on Wakarusa Drive, has been in Lawrence since 1991, but currently doesn’t have enough space to build full-size aircraft.

Aviation and economic development leaders urged commissioners to study ways to extend water and sewer service to the airport.

“This has the potential to have the single greatest impact on the airport since its founding in 1929,” said Bob Newton, a member of the city’s Aviation Advisory Board. “We have lost out on business development opportunities in the past because of this lack of utility service.”

Commissioners did not discuss how they would potentially pay for any extension of service to the airport. The future feasibility study is expected to come up with firm cost estimates for commissioners to consider.

The city gave staff members approval to advertise for the study. Commissioners should be in a position to pick an engineering firm to conduct the feasibility study in early April.

Commissioners are focusing the study on ways to provide water and sewer service to the airport property itself, and not to land that surrounds the airport.

A Lawrence-development group has proposed building a business park on the property surrounding the airport, but those plans have been met with stiff opposition by neighbors.

Comments

holland 5 years, 1 month ago

Every business at the airport already has its own water and septic sewer system. Last year the City developed a big water well as part of the fire protection system for the all metal hangars. Finish the road the leads to no where South of town before building sewer and water that leads to nowhere for the Hunter and his latest airplane Dream Plane. I want my money back from down payment he accepted before the City underwrites another hangar for these people.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 1 month ago

Break up the airport's runway & use the material to build sidewalks in East Lawrence.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

" I believe you fit that description."

You know, your expansion on your straw man/ad hominem argument does change its nature one iota.

"For you to believe zoning gives you the experience and wisdom to plan for all others just proves my point."

And this straw man argument isn't any better.

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missouri_street 5 years, 1 month ago

Bozo, my statement was offered as a reaction to many posts you make on these boards where you proclaim what is 'right' or 'wrong' for others who are more affected by these decisions than you. You are like Merrill. I find this propensity to be common in those raised in, and never lived apart from, the "KU/Lawrence bubble." I believe you fit that description.

Sure, zoning is countywide. What I was suggesting is that physical proximity is relevant to measuring the value of opinions and impact. For you to impose your development values and land use opinions upon Scootterich and land proximate to him, is the same to me as if Scootterich was advocating for Wal-Mart zoning across the street from you. And it is not for you to measure how Scootterich is going to be negatively affected. It is up to him. That is the precise point.

For you to believe zoning gives you the experience and wisdom to plan for all others just proves my point. In that mode, you flush the value of "neighborhood values" that you chose to advocate when it suits your argument.

In short, hypocrisy.

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flyin_squirrel 5 years, 1 month ago

So what if this company goes out of business after a few years, at least we have grown the services at our airport. If we quit taking any risks as a city, we will never increase our tax revenues (unless we raise property taxes). We lose out on so much revenue because our airport doesn't offer the services of most other small town airports.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

"Spoken just like the spoiled “I-know-your-business-better-than-you-know-your-business” university child that Bozo is."

Is there a point to this statement, aside from expressing your core irrationality?

"People who are most proximate to land use issues ARE most affected."

How is Scootterxich going to be negatively affected if the farmland in his neighborhood remains farmland? And why do his views trump those of the other neighbors, the majority of whom appear to oppose this development?

And BTW, major revisions in land use and zoning are countywide decisions, not just Scootterxich's.

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missouri_street 5 years, 1 month ago

Bozo: "Unfortunately for you, lots of people in this county have every right to an opinion. Deal with it.


Spoken just like the spoiled "I-know-your-business-better-than-you-know-your-business" university child that Bozo is.

Bozo, what about "neighborhood" rights and views that you and others proclaim all the time. People who are most proximate to land use issues ARE most affected.

Deal with it.

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missouri_street 5 years, 1 month ago

Scootterxich: "Stay out of my backyard. if you live near “250 yards” of the development you can have an opinion if not butt out."


Ain't it the truth, Scooterxich.

Just like the people who want to rename Missouri St in an effort to 1) dis a sports rival -- the State of Missouri, and 2) honor a coach who likes to dis a sports rival -- the State of Missouri.

Let them rename their OWN street and deal with the confusion and irritation.

I say pay attention to those most directly affected on this airport business. The neighbors and the business itself.

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wheatridge 5 years, 1 month ago

Corporate jets in the hands of business executives is very risky in the present political climate. Ask any of the aviation businesses in Kansas. Gulfstreams should only be used by the speaker of the house and her subordinates who serve in the Air Force.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

"if you live near “250 yards” of the development you can have an opinion if not butt out."

Unfortunately for you, lots of people in this county have every right to an opinion. Deal with it.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

Clearly, this proposed business has a fairly high amount of risk associated with it. If it didn't, they could easily come up with the money to provide the sewer and water services they require without, apparently, expecting Lawrence taxpayers to provide that subsidy to them.

So the decision for city commissioners should be based on risk assessment and what the probable return on investment would be. Unfortunately, Lawrence historically has only based such decisions on whether well-connected developers will make money on the project in the short-term, regardless of the long-term effects on the taxpayers.

If this company fails, what happens to the city's investment? Would it really be worth it if instead of 65 jobs paying $80,000 a year, the infrastructure instead supports 20 jobs at $20,000 a year?

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scootterxlch 5 years, 1 month ago

I am a neighbor of the airport and the loudest voices on the industrial park were "others" not neighbors. and the councilman lives farther away than you might think. Stay out of my backyard. if you live near "250 yards" of the development you can have an opinion if not butt out.

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 1 month ago

It will be hilarious to watch Lawrence screw this up. "Neighbors" like Richard Heckler - who hates North Lawrence - will complain about the project, cut-and-paste endless stories and get out his tiny "grass roots" people to whine about the whole thing until the guy decides (like others) that the business climate in Lawrence is terrible. Then he'll decide to do this project in a city that would welcome him and Lawrence will - yet again - lose out on high paying jobs.

The ignorance has already started:

"Jayhawker07 (Anonymous) says… “The Lawrence airport is our first choice,” said Willem Anemaat. So what was his second choice? None I bet."

Take a look at a map of Kansas and Kansas City. There are quite a few cities with large, underutilized airports that would love to have this guy develop his business there. Five other choices immediately spring to mind: Johnson County Executive, New Century, Wheeler, Salina and anywhere around Wichita.

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Bud Stagg 5 years, 1 month ago

Jayhawker, His second choice is about 100 other cities that are ready to help him come there. I don't see them asking for the city to pay for it, just build it and they will pay their taxes to pay the city back.

Did the developer who built your house or office foot the bill for the utilities? That is what Cities are for, for the good of all the citizens. Otherwise everyone would still have septic tanks and wells, with dirt roads and trash piles behind their house.

This is exactly the kind of developement this city needs, commercial. They pay higher property taxes and employ more people who pay more taxes.

We have driven most businesses away in favor of residential developement which pays the least in fees and taxes.

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Jayhawker07 5 years, 1 month ago

Fishy is right!

That sure is a lot of interest. Why don't they (the developers) split the cost with all the other businesses that want to move to the airport area. They come across as they will stand to make millions by developing that area. I am done with the hand outs, the bail outs, the TIFS. If it is such a great idea, get a loan from the bank or invest your own money or get investors. If you can't do it that way, it must not be as solid of an investment as they preach.

“The Lawrence airport is our first choice,” said Willem Anemaat. So what was his second choice? None I bet.

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2fat4u 5 years, 1 month ago

Maybe you could put in a Quik Trip right there at the 24/40 intersection by where the TeePee is. That would be so so nice. Bring on the developers. And while you're at it, put another Dillons, or better yet a WalMart in where the current Tanger Mall is. That place is a complete waste of space. North Lawrence needs a WalMart.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

"What “neighbors” complained"

One of them is now a county commissioner.

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DGL 5 years, 1 month ago

What "neighbors" complained about the business park next to the airport--the shady hourly motel?

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2fat4u 5 years, 1 month ago

Maybe in ten years someone might see fit to put a damn grocery store in North Lawrence.

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OonlyBonly 5 years, 1 month ago

"A Lawrence-development group has proposed building a business park on the property surrounding the airport, but those plans have been met with stiff opposition by neighbors." Let's add "and others" to this comment. Then proceed by commenting that now the City has a way to bring water and sewer to the Airport without the developer having to worry about the tremendous cost. Something fishy about all this for some reason.

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