Archive for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lawrence City Commission approves Farmers Turnpike rezoning east of Lecompton interchange

January 26, 2011


The effort to convert the Farmers Turnpike area into a new industrial and business zone for the community continued Tuesday night at Lawrence City Hall.

The fight from neighbors appears to be continuing as well.

City commissioners at their weekly meeting agreed to rezone 51 acres of property about one mile east of the Lecompton interchange on the Kansas Turnpike to allow for heavy industrial uses in the future.

Commissioners approved the rezoning on a 4-1 vote over the objection of several neighbors who said the 20 to 40 homes in the general area would be negatively impacted by the zoning. Commissioner Aron Cromwell voted against rezoning.

But city commissioners made it clear they felt the Farmers Turnpike area northwest of Lawrence was destined to change.

“There is a glowing point here,” Commissioner Lance Johnson said. “It is K-10 and I-70. This is where they come together, and it is the best location in Douglas County and the city of Lawrence to do this type of development. I’m sorry it affects the 40 or so residents, but I don’t know how it can make more sense than to put it right here.”

A development group led by Duane and Steve Schwada sought the rezoning for the southwest corner of the Farmers Turnpike and E 1000 Road. The group doesn’t yet have a tenant for the site but is seeking the city’s heaviest industrial zoning for the property to market it to a variety of businesses that want to be located along the I-70 corridor.

Neighbors told commissioners they were open to a compromise. Ron Schneider, an attorney for the neighborhood group, said area residents could live with the property being rezoned to a less intense industrial zoning category.

But a majority of commissioners balked at the idea because they said it would create too much uncertainty about what type of industrial uses would be allowed at the site.

Neighbors afterwards said they were disappointed in the city’s decision and will consider filing a legal appeal in Douglas County District Court. Several of the neighbors were part of a group that previously filed a lawsuit related to 155 acres of industrial property directly north of the Lecompton interchange, which remains under appeal.

“The quickest way to move forward on this project was to reach a compromise with the neighbors, and the city just wasn’t willing to do that,” said Dave Ross, president of the Scenic Riverway Community Association.

Tuesday’s rezoning request was the third in about the last year to add industrial zoning to the area near the Lecompton interchange. In addition to the 51-acre and the 155-acre sites, a site just west of the Lecompton interchange recently was rezoned for a project to build a major new warehouse for Berry Plastics. That project has received less opposition from neighbors, but it also asked for less intense industrial zoning than the other two sites.


deec 7 years, 3 months ago

The commission could just follow Wyco's lead and take the residents' property via eminent domain.

somebodynew 7 years, 3 months ago

deec - at this point I would just about welcome that. But instead I will wave to the 50-100 semi drivers per day that go to and from the largest building in Douglas County, that suddenly all the taxpayers in the county have to provide money to (the Berry plastics project) while they enjoy 10 years of tax abatements (for 11 jobs).

sr80 7 years, 2 months ago

this project hasn't even started and you are counting semi's.why don't you make a turnoff on your property & maybe a coffee shop. something along those lines.truckers make good money and spend when they get something good.just a thought.whew!!!! now i need a nap.

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 3 months ago

It was a voluntary annexation, so eminent domain wasn't an issue.

deec 7 years, 3 months ago

The people in Wyco who lived in Delaware acres were not voluntarily annexed either. Nascar and Ne Furniture wanted their land, so Wyco took it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

“There is a glowing point here,” Commissioner Lance Johnson said. “It is K-10 and I-70. This is where they come together, and it is the best location in Douglas County and the city of Lawrence to do this type of development. I’m sorry it affects the 40 or so residents, but I don’t know how it can make more sense than to put it right here.”

As Lance digs his way out of the hole he's dug himself, he's going to need the help of those who will gain the most from this rezoning.

coderob 7 years, 3 months ago

The intersection of K-10 and I-70 doesn't seem like all that strategic of a site right now unless you're banking against the wetland people. Otherwise, I'd think that any location with a connection to I-70 would do the job.

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 3 months ago

Like all the industrial land in N Lawrence?

ralphralph 7 years, 3 months ago

Is there any long-term, comprehensive land-use plan in effect? Or is this a parcel-by-parcel, ad hoc substitute for planning? (real questions)

coderob 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm not sure what the city has on its books, but this decision is part of a larger national picture where freight is moving from rail to trucking, which makes areas next to interstates very attractive.

hooligan01 7 years, 3 months ago

I thought the "glowing point" for Lawrence and Douglas county was the East Hills Business Park? Or have they final decided that that place is destined to be nothing.

conservative 7 years, 3 months ago

Regardless on if k10 goess through the wetlands the site makes sense. Use 70 to go east or west, and use 10 to 59 (already built) to go south. For companies that do a lot of shipping the location is a great one.

pizzapete 7 years, 3 months ago

Where exactly is this Farmer's Turnpike? I always thought it was the area in North Lawrence near the Tee Pee Junction? I didn't know K10 and 70 had a connection. Please give me a landmark or something to nail down what is being discussed here.

hail2oldku 7 years, 3 months ago

It is on the northwest side of town. The LeCompton interchange is the I-70 K10 intersection and the farmer's turnpike is the road that parallels I-70 (Kansas Turnpike) to the north.

Think yellow water tower to the north of I-70.

pizzapete 7 years, 3 months ago

Thanks hail2oldku, but I still have no idea what you're talking about. Is this were 23rd street branches off near Clinton pond? Is there a business or something of signifigance you could mention as a landmark? A water tower doesn't work as a landmark for someone totally lost like me. How might someone get there from say Downtown Larry?

bad_dog 7 years, 3 months ago

6th street west to K-10. North on K-10 past I-70 to the stop sign. Turn left and head west.

anonyname 7 years, 3 months ago

If you take 23rd/Clinton all the way to its western end, the highway you'll find is K-10. Take that a few miles north and you'll be at the K-10/Turnpike interchange and the water tower hail mentioned.

pizzapete 7 years, 3 months ago

anonyname, that I understand, thanks. I've heard a lot about this from some old timers as a drag strip, but could never nail down where they were talking about. thanks again.

sr80 7 years, 2 months ago

anonyname gave you the west my directions come from the east.heading west.

sr80 7 years, 2 months ago

i was going to be mean to you but i won't. on the west side of hallmark is n.iowa, just head north as far as you can go and there she be heading west for maybe 10-15 miles.

sr80 7 years, 2 months ago

this the last time i ever help with info.not even a sirree

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

Is annexation expanding our tax base or our tax bills?

There is one consequence that usually goes unmentioned - annexation is draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

Annexation is the result of over five decades of subsidies paid for by the American taxpayer. These range from the obvious to the obscure and include big projects-like the billions we spend on new roads as well as smaller ones-like the tax-breaks that encourage businesses to move to the edge of town. We've subsidized annexation at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of developers and the local real estate industry.

How we subsidize annexation:

* building new and wider roads
* building schools on the fringe
* extending sewer and water lines to new developments
* extending emergency services to the fringe
* direct pay-outs to developers

Is annexation expanding our tax base or our tax biils?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

Is Annexation Expanding Our tax base or our tax bills?

How do we subsidize annexation? Through an array of state, local and federal programs-and through incentives built into the develop-ment process itself. The biggest federal contribution to annexation is the billions of dollars spent on building new roads. This massive network of roads has done more than speed us from point A to point B - it has reshaped the landscape by opening up rural areas to suburban development and it has reshaped our society by making the car king. Travel by car has become not just another option-in too many places, it has become the only option.

Other programs are also encouraging annexation. For years we have subsidized construction in flood plains while making it far too easy to destroy critical wetlands. This encourages the destruction of open spaces.

The growth of suburban annexation is also the product of decisions at the state and local levels. The corporate enticement game-played by everyone from governor to county supervisor-encourages commercial development all over the outskirts. Over the past few decades, corporations have become increasingly skilled at playing one community against another in an effort to wrest greater perks from state and local governments.

Big-box retailers and isolated business parks are unwittingly subsidized by our own tax dollars which brings on over built communities and economic displacement instead of economic growth.

Subsidies are also built into the development/annexation process itself. Most new development costs more to build and service than the taxes or fees it generates.

When a new residential or commercial development is built outside of an existing community, roads, sewer systems and water lines have to be built. As the development expands, it requires schools and emergency services. Where does the money for all this come from? In most cases, neither the developers nor the new residents pay their full, fair share - it is the rest of us who make up the difference.

The bottom line is that new development is costing us money.

Instead of expanding our tax base we are expanding our tax bills!

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