Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2001

Couple struggles to open business

City and developer in a dispute over development

May 31, 2001

A struggle between Basehor city officials and a local developer has led one business to consider opening without the proper authorization from the city.

The city and developer David Scott have been going back and forth about the submission of proper plans for streets, water and other amenities that would allow businesses in Scott's development to open.

Until those plans are finalized, however, the city will not approve any businesses or any of the buildings at the development located on 147th Street.

John and Gail Innis, owners of the All About Dreams Gymnastics studio said they are considering opening the studio without the consent of city officials because they have few options left.

"I don't have a choice, I have to pay my house payment," Gail said. "They have backed me into a corner and I am almost bankrupt because of it."

Gail said she chose to open the gymnastics studio to help her daughter, who is an accomplished gymnast. While opening the business to hopeful gymnasts and trying to make a profit, the studio would also have been open to the public for indoor walking, free of charge, she said.

While the discord between the two sides is costing the Innis' their business, Gail said she feels like she is caught in something that is not her fault.

"We feel like the city of Basehor is using us a pawn between them and David Scott," Gail said. "We had nothing to do with this. We are here, ready to open. We have to open."

The gymnastics studio already has coaches and students ready to join, Gail said.

For the couple, it is no longer a matter of being given permission, it's a matter of being able to provide for their family.

"I have to be able to put food on my table," Gail said.

The conflict that has arisen between the developer and the Basehor City Council stems from a lack of approved street plans for Scott's development, Highview Industrial Park. The gymnastics studio in question is located inside one of Scott's buildings.

Because of the lack of finalized street plans, the building has no water running to it and, therefore, cannot be given a business license.

Lois Fulkerson, manager of Consolidated Rural Water No. 1, said her company cannot service the Innis' building until the developer gives the water company city approved street plans.

"We would love to supply the building with water," Fulkerson said. "We want to see them open as much as anyone else, but without the street plans we can't."

According to Fulkerson, once the water company has the finalized plans, the company then submits them to the engineer who would begin work on designing water lines for the building. There is no way of knowing how long that might take, Fulkerson said.

According to city officials, Scott has submitted street plans to the city, but has not submitted a drainage plan. The street plans will not be reviewed until those drainage plans have been submitted, City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper said.

It is the contention of city officials that the lack of plans by Scott is the reason for the slow progress of the development. Both city and consolidated water officials have said they have had previous problems in dealing with Scott.

While the lack of water for the building is a concern for the Innis couple, Gail said she has figured a way around the water problem, at least temporarily.

In an interview on Tuesday, Gail said the business is going to use a portable water tank that will service the two toilets in the building. The portable tank will not be used for drinking water. Gail said she is going to bring in purified water for drinking and since there are no shower facilities on the premises, the tank should cover the water shortage until the two sides can sort the problems out.

According to Gail, the couple has previously asked the water company to grant them the temporary water, but was turned down because it was deemed a health hazard per Kansas Department of Health regulations. After the meeting with the water company, Gail said she contacted the KDHE's Topeka office, which advised that a temporary water solution would not be a health hazard as long as was connected properly.

The couple is determined to open their business and has retained the services of an attorney to help should there be problems along the way.

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