Douglas County Commission to consider two land use requests north of Lawrence

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo

The Douglas County Courthouse is pictured in September 2018.

A rural landowner wants to turn a former motel property into a facility for agricultural equipment sales and repairs, and a septic company wants to continue using a property near the North Lawrence neighborhood for truck storage.

The Douglas County Commission on Wednesday will consider the two rural land use requests, one that planning staff recommended for approval and another that planning staff recommended for denial.

According to planning documents, Pine Family Investments LC has requested a site plan for equipment sales and services at 1493 U.S. Highway 40, which is just north of Lawrence city limits.

The plan calls for demolishing two current structures on the property and repurposing others for an office and a covered display facility. The plan also calls for the construction of a 4,800-square-foot building to be used for the sale, maintenance and repair of agricultural equipment. Planning staff recommended the project for approval.

As the Journal-World reported in August, the property currently houses the now-closed Airport Motel. Brian Pine, who owns land adjacent to the former motel, closed it after purchasing the property. He said at the time he planned to use the property for other purposes.

“With our ground surrounding the property, it was an opportunity to add to our property, but it also was an opportunity to just clean it up a little bit,” Pine said at the time.

Elsewhere, Honey Bee Septic has requested a three-year extension of its conditional use permit for truck storage at 1462 North 1700 Road, despite receiving a similar permit at a separate property.

The extension request is for property located just outside the city limits surrounding the North Lawrence neighborhood, located northeast of the North Fourth Street and North Street intersection. In March 2020, the commissioners signed off on the permit with a one-year time limit.

However, planning staff noted at the time that the company’s commercial and industrial use on the property does not conform to the area’s future land use outlined in the Northeast Sector Plan, which shows the area to be used for residential or open space purposes. Planning staff recommended the extension request for denial.

Additionally, in July the commissioners approved the company’s conditional use permit at a different location south of Lawrence, near the northeast corner of North 1100 Road and East 1600 Road. Planning staff noted that permit was presented to the county as “a permanent location for the business.”

In other business, the commissioners will consider approving a five-year update to the Douglas and Jefferson Counties Regional Solid Waste Management Plan. The plan, which was originally established in 1996, is required by state law and must be updated every five years.

The commissioners will also meet for a work session to discuss the county’s prevention-related initiatives in the field of behavioral health.

The County Commission will convene at 4 p.m. for its work session and at 5:30 p.m. for its regular business meeting. The meeting will be open to the walk-in public at the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., but a link for the public to watch live online is available on the county’s website, Residents may also call in and listen by phone by dialing 1-312-626-6799 and entering meeting ID 946 6317 8923.

Full audio from the meeting will continue to be posted on the county’s website, as usual. The meeting’s full agenda may also be found on the county’s website.

Contact Dylan Lysen

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