Commissioners fail to approve developments
Two controversial housing developments in southern Leavenworth County hit a roadblock last week when they failed to meet the full approval of county commissioners.
The Leavenworth County Commission voted 2-1 in favor of both proposals, but needed unanimous approval because of legal protests filed by two property owners adjacent to the developments.
The three commission members passed on one of the proposals in September. They sent it back to the planning commission for review after several people came to a meeting in protest.
The proposal sought rezoning of 80 acres at 158th Street and Metro Avenue for a 192-home development.
Albert Hoelting, the owner and proposed developer of the land, had already redrawn the plan to address complaints from the September meeting. Among the changes he proposed were dropping the addition from 192 homes down to about 160, and increasing lot sizes on the 158th Street side to conform more to existing houses.
The Planning Commission took up the proposal amid protest at a meeting Nov. 15. Commissioners approved the rezoning 5-4, with special restrictions that would have put the plan at less than 110 homes.
The other rezoning proposal of 40 acres near 158th Street and U.S. 24/40 also met with defeat last week.
Commissioner Wayne Eldridge voted against the larger proposal and Commissioner Donald Navinsky cast a dissenting vote against the smaller development.
More than 20 residents showed up to oppose Hoelting's development, which he planned to build with his brothers, Mark and Tim Hoelting of Shawnee.
Hugh McGough, who had been an outspoken opponent of the development at previous meetings, told the County Commission the development didn't fit the rural environment.
"We don't have the roads and lagoons to support such a development," he said.
McGough said the commission needed to develop a plan to deal with the pending growth because presently, southern Leavenworth County's infrastructure could not handle dense populations.
Hoelting said his development had provisions to meet all the neighbors concerns. As he did at the Planning Commission meeting, Hoelting said he couldn't develop the land with only a hundred homes.
With the original plan, he could develop the infrastructure, he said.
Hoelting also estimated the houses would bring in $400,000 in property taxes per year.
While he had hoped to build homes in the $180,000 price range, he said such restrictions could cause the minimum price to soar to $250,000.
Hoelting had requested the area be rezoned from Rural Residential, requiring 2.5-acre tracts, to a Planned Unit Development District. Hoelting's reworked proposal was downsized to 160 homes, lots of 7/8ths of an acre on homes adjacent to current developments, and other alterations.
The smaller development also drew criticism from those in attendance, with residents sighting traffic problems within neighborhoods, lack of building codes and over crowding in schools.