Archive for Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Planning Commission ties on Pinehurst vote

January 8, 2003

Marred by what could be construed as having an unannounced and questionable executive session and hampered by residential opposition, the Basehor Planning Commission tied in a vote, when acting on the public hearing for the Pinehurst development.

The vote was 3-3 and because of the tie, no recommendation will come from the Planning Commission when the issue goes before the Basehor City Council.

Planning Commission members Jason Logsdon, Rick Hogue and George Smith voted against the development; chairman Ron Owen, John Matthews and Ferna Moser were in favor.

Pinehurst is a 95- to 97- acre residential, commercial and retail area located south of Kansas Highway 24/40.

After hearing arguments for and against the development, Planning Commission members spoke amongst themselves and with Pinehurst land planner Pete Opperman for approximately 15 minutes.

The vote came shortly thereafter.

Bill Schulte, director of Leavenworth Area Development, spoke in favor of Pinehurst.

"This is a well laid out development, the residential is well utilized and the commercial is well situated," Schulte said. "I think the benefit of this will be sizable to the community. I think it's going to be a positive impact to the city of Basehor."

Representatives of the Basehor United Methodist Church, which is located near Pinehurst, also said they were in favor of the area.

"We welcome planned business and residential areas," Pastor Wayne Castle said. "Everything we've seen about this program we're very favorable toward."

But for all the praise hoisted on Pinehurst, there was at least that much opposition from neighboring property owners -- residents of Briarwood and Cedar Lakes primarily -- at the Tuesday night meeting.

The residents' argument against Pinehurst stems from multi-family housing inside the development. Pinehurst has areas slated for 248 apartment units, and 120 four-plexes.

Wanda Strange, a Cedar Lakes resident, called the apartments "transient houses" and said they would not be good for students or the school system.

The apartments also wouldn't pay in taxes for the services that came with them, stemming from police calls for things like drug use, Strange said.

"I don't think it's good for Basehor," Strange said.

"I see a lot of development. I keep thinking what's good for Basehor is commercial. Commercial is drawn to people who have money."

Fred Farris, who also lives in Cedar Lakes, is a Lenexa police officer. He said his experience is apartments usually bring high crime rates.

"The argument is these apartments are nice apartments and not have problems as everybody else," Farris said. "That's not the reality.

"There's a reason people move to neighborhoods and it's not because it has nice apartments with swell swimming pools," he added.

Typically, the city of Basehor and its residents haven't looked favorably on proposals for multi-family housing or apartments.

Smith said he was worried about the number of multi-family proposals coming before the city.

"We've had several plans brought before us recently and residents of the area seem to be opposed to multi-family at any turn," Smith said. "I see and applaud that. I see a need for some multi-family, but I am very much concerned the majority of what we're seeing is multi-family.

"I'm afraid if we develop too much multi-family that's the kind of town we're going to become."

A city staff report indicated that the density requirements for parts of the development do not conform with the city's comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance.

However, city officials recommended approving the development with the condition that a parking study be done to determine if building sizes should be adjusted for adequate parking.

The Pinehurst issue will next appear before the City Council in February, where action could be taken.

City officials said there is a statutory 14-day protest period currently in effect for the Pinehurst development.

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