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Rural Lecompton retreat complex up for consideration

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Several lingering issues will be back up for discussion at the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission this week. Here’s a look:

• Rural Lecompton resort: Plans by area developers to convert about 60 acres into a corporate retreat and conference center will be considered. The Planning Commission will consider a request to rezone 58.99 acres just northeast of the intersection of North 1800 Road and East 700 Road. The plan has been up for approval several times but has been deferred on multiple occasions because planning staff members have said it was inconsistent with the county’s comprehensive plan. A revision to the comprehensive plan is being prepared that would allow for a corporate retreat at the site.

The property is close enough to Lecompton that the Lecompton Planning Commission also has heard the issue. The Lecompton Planning Commission has recommended denial of the rezoning request because it is afraid the rezoning will open the area up to a wide range of uses in the future. The Lecompton Planning Commission said if conditions could be placed on the zoning to ensure that it couldn’t be used for nonretreat type uses, that it likely would be in favor of the project.

The development group has said the project would include a conference center, reception area, restaurant, bar, a swimming pool, commercial riding stable and hunting and shooting areas. Lodging would be provided in cabins clustered throughout the area.

Planning commissioners will discuss the request as part of their meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets. County commissioners ultimately will be responsible for approving the rezoning.

• Also tonight, planning commissioners will consider new regulations to protect environmentally sensitive lands in the county. The regulations generally require developments to go through a special site plan process if they have any floodways, floodplains, streams, or wetlands on their property. Developers also may have to go through a special permit process if there are more than 1,000 square feet of woodlands or 1,000 square feet of prairie remnants on the site. City commissioners previously had considered the regulations, but sent them back to the Planning Commission over concerns that the new regulations were not specific enough. City and county commissioners ultimately will have to approve the regulations before they become final.

• At their 6:30 p.m. meeting on Wednesday at City Hall, planning commissioners will consider an issue related to a proposed annexation of the former Farmland Industries site east of Lawrence.

The Planning Commission is being asked to find that the annexation of the 448 acres of property is compatible with the city and county’s long-range plans.

The Douglas County Commission on July 13 will consider adopting a resolution allowing the annexation to move forward. The City Commission is requesting the annexation because it wants to see the property redeveloped into a business park.

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