Archive for Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Access denied: Falcon Lakes looks toward

Barricaded access road equals slower business for Falcon Lakes

April 16, 2003

With a significant financial interest in the area, Falcon Lakes developers hoped a $1.25 million access road from Kansas Highway 7 would provide visibility needed to gain a return on their investment.

However, that visibility is limited due to a Kansas Department of Transportation decision to shut down access from the highway to the development.

The department mandated the access road -- Falcon Lakes Drive --barricaded and closed off in January.

Falcon Lakes officials said the decision has adversely affected the development.

"I would say yes," said Dean Ralston, general manager for the Falcon Lakes development, north of Leavenworth Road on Kansas Highway 7. "There's a perception value there. When people see that barricaded, they may think we're closed.

"I think that whole road being closed affects sales," Ralston added.

The Falcon Lakes development features a highly regarded, 18-hole public golf course and 30 to 35 homes, which are under construction.

Six or seven families currently call Falcon Lakes home. Future plans for the development entail building as many as 600 homes and adding a golf course clubhouse and restaurant (see related story, page 8A).

The state's decision to close the development's primary access road leaves just two points of entrance from the highway -- Hollingsworth and Donahoo roads -- neither of which are as attractive as Falcon Lakes Drive.

State transportation officials and Basehor city officials met with Kansas secretary of transportation Deb Miller Friday, April 11 to discuss the access road as well as the Kansas Highway 7 thoroughfare.

The meeting was scheduled to discuss the future of Kansas Highway 7, which Basehor officials consider vital to the city's long-term future.

"We're involved because of the concerns KDOT has to make K-7 a highway or freeway," Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer said. "The Falcon Lakes drive is a concern and issue because its part of the big picture.

"We're involved because K-7 is a vital thoroughfare for the future of Basehor," he added.

State officials were not available for comment concerning this story.

However, according to city officials, the department considers access into Falcon Lakes a safety concern.

Scherer said the department lists three possibilities for the access road, and they are:

  • Opening the access road to a right turn in, right turn out only.
  • Not changing anything and leaving the road completely closed off.
  • Opening access to the development without restriction.

The third option, however, "does not look favorable" and the state appears to be pursuing the "right in, right out," option, Scherer said.

Basehor city officials are scheduled to meet with Falcon Lakes representatives next week to discuss the access road.

The state recently completed a traffic study of the Kansas Highway 7 corridor ranging from Olathe to Lansing.

According to the study, the department is projecting as many as 39,500 cars traveling the section of highway per day by the year 2023.

Currently, approximately 19,400 cars per day use the corridor.

Future state plans entail maintaining K-7 as a freeway by minimizing either interchanges or traffic signals and making them no closer than one mile, city officials said.

Scherer said the issue concerning the Falcon Lakes access point could be concluded following the next week's meeting

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