Archive for Monday, December 13, 2010

Some in Lawrence community split over use of farm ground north of Kansas River

December 13, 2010, 6:40 p.m. Updated December 13, 2010, 6:43 p.m.


A battle is once again brewing over the future of some prime North Lawrence farm ground.

Annexation on the agenda

Another piece of property northwest of Lawrence will be considered for city annexation.

Lawrence city commissioners at their weekly meeting will consider annexing 51 acres of property along the Farmers Turnpike at the southwest corner of North 1800 Road and East 1000 Road, which is Queens Road extended.

The owners of the property, a group led by the Schwada family, has said it wants the annexation so the property can be marketed to potential industrial businesses. The ground is along Interstate 70 and is just east of the Lecompton Turnpike interchange.

Several neighbors in the area have opposed the request, but it has received a positive recommendation from the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall.

City commissioners tonight will begin consideration of the Northeast Sector Plan, a document that plans future uses for about 10,000 acres of Douglas County ground that is north of the Kansas River.

The plan largely calls for most of the ground that isn’t already developed to remain in agricultural production for the foreseeable future. But about 250 acres of ground just north of Interstate 70 is labeled as suitable for future industrial development.

And that’s where disagreement is sprouting. On one side are area residents who argue the property and its high-class soils are some of the best protection North Lawrence has against flooding problems.

But on the other side are some of the larger farm operators in North Lawrence. A group of property owners who own more than 4,500 acres of farm ground in the North Lawrence area sent letters to Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commissioners asking that the area near the interstate be designated as suitable for industrial uses because it is so near to only one of three turnpike interchanges in the county.

City and county planners have been trying to strike a compromise.

“On balance, we feel like we are preserving most of the agricultural soils in the area because we’re just showing a small amount of property that could be appropriate for industrial uses,” said Dan Warner, a long-range planner for the city and the county.

City commissioners at their meeting today will start to figure out whether a fair balance has been struck. Commissioners originally had planned on holding a full public hearing on the plan at their weekly meeting, but now are saying that will wait until a later date. Instead, commissioners will receive a brief staff presentation and try to set up a joint study session with the Douglas County Commission on the subject.

Both the city and county commissions ultimately will have to consider the plan.

City commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. today at City Hall.


kernal 7 years, 1 month ago

This story is sadly lacking in information. Who are the "large farm operators"? Are they individual farmers. family farms or interstate corporate farmers?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

the larger farm operators in North Lawrence. A group of property owners who own more than 4,500 acres of farm ground in the North Lawrence area = real estate developers

Leaving as farm ground costs you and me nothing ====== until annexed and MORE NEW INFRASTRUCTURE is installed = millions of local big government tax dollars.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 1 month ago

So why don't you buy it? Put your money where your - verbose - virtual mouth is and purchase it. See if running it as a farm "costs you and me nothing" or if there are hidden costs that you simply fail to understand. By the way, Merrill, have you applied to run for city government this year?

LadyJ 7 years, 1 month ago

If the land is developed and causes flooding problems, will the flood insurance rates go up in North Lawrence? Our mill levy is already higher in North Lawrence than other parts of Lawrence. I've wondered about that one, anyone know why?

Janet Lowther 7 years, 1 month ago

North Lawrence is part of a drainage district which has taxing authority.

That's why property tax is a bit higher in north than south of the river: They are paying for drainage ditches, pumping stations and what not.

When the river is in flood stage and running on the levy, water has to be pumped out of North Lawrence.

LadyJ 7 years, 1 month ago

Does that include the underpass that people south of the river drive under to get to I-70?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.