Archive for Thursday, May 8, 2003

Industrial park moves forward

May 8, 2003

The fate of a proposed industrial park seemed certain -- local residents and Basehor Planning Commission members agreed Basehor could do without heavy industrial businesses.

However, despite pleas from the public, the Planning Commission and developers of the Wolf Creek Industrial Park reached an agreement Tuesday, May 6, which would allow the development to pursue light industrial businesses.

Planning Commission members unanimously approved a rezoning request for the development, from rural residential to commercial and light industrial uses during the Tuesday hearing.

A preliminary plat of the development also received approval.

The development sits on a 95.3 acre site at 150th Street and Kansas Highway 24/40. Developer Steve Miles submitted plans to city officials proposing commercial and heavy industrial uses.

Nearby property owners showed up in droves to oppose the development.

They alleged the Miles development has illegally burned materials, altered Wolf Creek without a permit and been a detriment to their quality of life, among numerous other complaints concerning the development.

"When he burns, it looks like an atomic bomb went off over there and it may burn all weekend" said Joe Nick, Sr., who lives across the highway from the development.

"We don't need heavy industrial," said Joe Brandenburg. "Once you open it to heavy industry you open it to explosives, chemicals, and once you open it, you don't close it."

Opponents also said negative impacts of the development far outweigh any tax benefit the industrial park would bring to the city.

"Basehor survived before he came," said Nick, " and Basehor will survive after he leaves."

"I can't believe the blanket blank check we're writing for the industrial park," said Tammy Potts, representing her mother, a nearby property owner. "With all the beautiful development coming down State Avenue, there's no reason we need to give away part of the city."

For a time, it appeared the Planning Commission and development opponents were of one mind when considering Wolf Creek's proposal for heavy industrial businesses. The heavy industrial businesses would have fronted 24/40, under the proposal.

"I think coming into Basehor, that's not something we want people to see," Planning Commission chairman Ron Owen said.

"It's a real big reach to go from residential to heavy industrial," Planning Commission member Steve Cole said. "It's just a real far reach."

After some negotiation, Miles agreed to forgo the heavy industrial fronting the highway. Under an agreement, the development will pursue commercial business to the north and light industrial business to the south of the development.

Opponents were not pleased with the decision.

"I think your community has a problem with any industrial, guys," said Richard White, a resident of Briarwood, a residential area south of the Miles property.

Wolf Creek did have some supporters at the meeting.

Leavenworth Area Development director Bill Schulte said an industrial park offers high property taxes for cities than do residential areas. The development will also create jobs for city residents, he argued.

"This project is about generating tax base and revenue into the city," Schulte said. "This property will generate property taxes at 25 percent. Residential doesn't bring that much."

The Planning Commission is a recommending board only. Before the Wolf Creek development can move forward, it must first receive final approval from the Basehor City Council.

There has been no timetable set for that hearing, city officials said.

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