Archive for Wednesday, January 22, 2003

City weighs options in Commercial Group lawsuit

January 22, 2003

Basehor city officials are undecided of the next step in an impending lawsuit filed by Commercial Group of Topeka against the city.

No formal action was taken during the Basehor City Council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21 on the lawsuit, but a response to the claim has been filed.

In November, Commercial Group of Topeka, owners of a four-acre tract at 155th Street and Crestwood Drive, were denied rezoning.

The company wanted the four-acre tract switched from commercial to residential use so the company could place a low-income senior housing development on the property.

The lawsuit claims the city acted "unreasonably" and "unlawfully" when making its decision and denied the request because nearby residents opposed the development.

Although no action was taken Tuesday, a response filed by the city last week in Leavenworth County District Court denied that resident opposition was the sole reason for denying the rezoning request.

"We deny that the only consideration the council gave to the rezoning request was based upon reaction at the (November) meeting," Basehor city attorney John Thompson said.

In 1978, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that "protests against proposed zoning change(s) may be considered, but protests against uses not proposed are not entitled to great weight."

However, in the same decision, the court upheld the right of a governing body to "prescribe zoning, the right to change zoning and the right to refuse to change zoning."

Commercial Group wants the court to either grant a new hearing with the city or have the city rezone the property previously denied."They don't feel they were given the ample opportunity to speak at the City Council meeting," Thompson said.

During the November hearing, approximately 200 residents showed up at the meeting to voice their disapproval of the development.

The residents also circulated a petition because the development would have negative impacts on their lives property values and community, opponents said.

For now, city officials are weighing their options concerning the case, which are either to reconsider the rezoning request or to settle the case without trial.

In other council news, it appears city officials are closer to settling the debate over which construction company should be granted the bid for the Kansas Highway 24/40 sewer interceptor project.

The interceptor line, a long- planned city project, will run from the Basehor Wastewater Treatment Facility to the highway and connect with developments south of the highway along County Road 2.

The bid for the project was originally awarded to Miles Excavating; however, approval was rescinded and it now appears Wilson Plumbing of Kansas City is in line for the job.

A work session has been scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, to discuss the project with Wilson Plumbing, city officials said.

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