The governing bodies of both the city of Lawrence and Douglas County approved a resolution this week to begin the process of reviewing and amending their comprehensive development plan known as Horizon 2020.
Douglas County commissioners gave their approval Wednesday afternoon. That followed similar action the night before by Lawrence city commissioners.
While the document may seem technical and arcane to most outside observers, it has a direct bearing on virtually every kind of development that takes place in the city and the unincorporated parts of Douglas County.
That includes such issues as limiting where new commercial or industrial development can take place and what areas will be reserved for residential growth; guiding the designation of bicycle lanes on public roads; and establishing guidelines for protecting the environment and natural resources in the region.
Scott McCullough, director of the Planning and Development office, which serves both local governments, said that while the document has undergone several changes and amendments since it was first adopted in the mid-1990s, the time has come for a more complete review.
That's because there have been two federal censuses since Horizon 2020 was first approved, and there have been changes in the demographic makeup of the county as well as economic and development trends.
The extension of the South Lawrence Trafficway to connect with Kansas Highway 10 on the east side of Lawrence is also expected to have a major impact on land use patterns on the south side of the city.
The resolution calls for setting up a 10-member steering committee that would be co-chaired by one city commissioner and one county commissioner.
The city on Tuesday named Vice Mayor Mike Amyx to be its representative because he is scheduled to serve as mayor during most of the review process. County commissioners, however, have not yet named their representative.
The process, which is expected to take until April 2015, will involve public hearings to identify issues to be addressed; prioritizing those issues and drafting potential amendments to the plan; and, finally, producing the draft of a new or amended plan.
McCullough said there will be no need to hire a consultant to guide the process, and that the Planning and Development office should be able to do the staff work in house.
In other business Wednesday, county commissioners:
• Met for about 50 minutes in executive session with county counselor Evan Ice and Zoning and Codes director Linda Finger to discuss legal matters deemed confidential under attorney-client privilege. No action was taken afterward.
• Approved a temporary business permit for Donna Wingert to operate a retail business selling dried fruits and nuts at her residence at 693 E. 1250 Road.
• Adopted a resolution supporting the county's participation in a nine-county Mitigation Planning Process being conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
• Passed a resolution recognizing National 4-H Week.
• And recognized Jillian Rodrigue of the county's Emergency Management Department who received the Kansas Emergency Management Professional of the Year award.