Archive for Thursday, November 13, 2003

Field of Dreams goes before Planning Commission

November 13, 2003

Officials from the Basehor Athletic Association said they hope cooler heads will prevail. But, just in case, they planned to take between 200 to 300 supporters with them to a Leavenworth County Planning Commission meeting Wednesday evening.

Planning commissioners, weighing complaints that the facility has failed to follow requirements about the use of ball field lights, were scheduled to decide whether to remove the planned unit development zoning from the Field of Dreams complex located north of Basehor, just off Fairmount Road.

Results of the hearing were not immediately available as of press time.

The Field of Dreams is a 34-acre athletic facility, which includes seven softballs/baseball fields and four football fields. It hosts recreational and competitive league tournaments throughout the year and is sponsored through the athletic association, a non-profit organization.

Baseball and softball teams from Basehor-Linwood High School also use the facility for home games.

Should the nine-member Planning Commission vote to remove the field's rezoning, it would be a perilous blow to to the Field of Dreams. If the planned unit development zoning is stripped the land housing the ball fields would revert ot its previous land zoning, rural residential.

The Field of Dreams could not operate as an athletic facility under rural residential zoning, Leavenworth County Planning and Zoning director John Zoellner said.

"They couldn't operate as a ball field," Zoellner said.

County officials contend the Field of Dreams has failed to follow conditions in its planned unit development agreement by using the ball field lights before 5 a.m. and after 11 p.m.

"They don't want to follow the conditions set in the agreement," Zoellner said.

Field of Dreams director Jeremy McDowell said the athletic complex has received but one complaint from a nearby resident in the last several months pertaining to the lights and that situation is believed to be resolved.

The lights are rarely used before 5 a.m. and when they are, it's to prepare for athletic tournaments which usually begin at 8 a.m. that same morning, McDowell said.

When lights are left on past 11 p.m. it's only until 11:30 p.m. at the latest and that's because games are running late, the director added.

McDowell said the athletic association plans to cooperate with county officials in resolving any problems at the ball fields. The athletic association did not take legal representation with them to the hearing and will leave attorneys out of the situation if possible.

The decision of the Planning Commission will be forwarded to the Leavenworth County Commission for final action.

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