A request to open up more space for industrial development northwest of Lawrence is headed to Douglas County commissioners for review.
Lawrence city commissioners agreed Tuesday night to ask county commissioners to review the request, which seeks to annex 67 acres of property into the city of Lawrence. The property cannot be annexed until county commissioners determine that the annexation would not harm or hinder the proper development of the area.
“This is just the first step,” said Mike Amyx, a city commissioner who has served previously as a county commissioner.
All of the discussions and deliberations are coming at the request of Steve Rothwell and members of his family, who want to market their property — wedged between the Kansas Turnpike and the Farmer’s Turnpike, about a half mile east of the Kansas Turnpike’s Lecompton Interchange — for industrial development.
Having watched Topeka land plans for a new $250 million manufacturing plant for Snickers bars and M&M candies — and the more than 200 jobs the project calls for to start — Rothwell wants to get his property ready for whatever might come Lawrence’s way.
“It could be a manufacturing plant,” he said, after Tuesday’s meeting. “It could be a warehouse. … Eventually, the area’s going to take off.”
The property is adjacent to property to the east that previously has been annexed and zoned for industrial development. Along the north side of the Farmer’s Turnpike, to the west, also is property annexed and zoned for industrial development.
Both of those properties, however, are not contiguous to the rest of the city of Lawrence, and therefore are considered “islands” in zoning terms.
The Rothwell property would add acreage to those properties available for industrial development.
“Basically, it’s a larger island,” Amyx said.