Archive for Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Basehor to reconsider Commercial Group housing development

Rezoning consideration could prevent lawsuit

January 29, 2003

The Basehor City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday, Jan. 28 to take its first steps toward resolving an impending lawsuit against the city.

Commercial Group of Topeka is suing the city in Leavenworth County District Court.

The company hopes the court will either grant a new rezoning hearing or rezone a four-acre tract of land at 155th Street and Crestwood Drive.

In November, amid resident opposition, the Basehor City Council denied rezoning submitted by Commercial Group for the property.

The land is slated for commercial use, but Commercial Group wanted the land rezoned for residential use.

The lawsuit claims the city acted "unreasonably" and "unlawfully" when denying the rezoning request.

However, action taken by city officials Tuesday night could prevent the lawsuit from ever seeing the inside of a courtroom.

During an executive session, City Council members approved informing Commercial Group of the city's zoning reconsideration process.

"Anyone has the right to file for reconsideration," Basehor city attorney John Thompson said. "They file for reconsideration and the rezoning would start with the Planning Commission and then go through the appropriate channels."

Thompson said the city hopes Commercial Group will drop the lawsuit once the company is informed of the rezoning appellate process.

"The City Council feels more comfortable following the rules," Thompson said.

Talks between the two sides regarding the reconsideration were expected to begin Wednesday, however, as of press time, Commercial Group had not made a decision on the impending litigation.

Commercial Group wants to place a low-income senior housing development on the property.

However, approximately 200 nearby residents opposed the development at the November hearing.

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

Lester Johnson, a spokesman for the residents, said opponents would again rally in opposition of Commercial Group's plans.

"Yeah, I'm sure we're all still opposed to it," Johnson said. "The thing that gets me is that they purchased that property as though it was a done deal. It's bad business on their part. They thought they were in like flinn.

"And now they blame the city for being turned down. It doesn't make sense and it's bad business."

Resident opposition to a different Basehor development was also a discussion item for the City Council Tuesday night.

City Council members unanimously validated a protest petition submitted by residents opposed to the Pinehurst development.

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

Validating the protest petition means there must now be a three-quarters vote, instead of the normal majority vote, to approve the rezoning of Pinehurst.

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