Archive for Thursday, October 16, 2003

Basehor City Council reaffirms highway stance

October 16, 2003

Just an hour before, solving the traffic situation along Kansas Highway 7 and the Falcon Lakes development became even more critical when the Basehor City Council approved a senior housing project during its meeting Monday, Oct. 13.

An hour later, when discussion shifted to developments along K-7, Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer asked the City Council for a consensus on what the city would like to see happen near Falcon Lakes.

"Do we want Falcon Lakes Parkway or will we take what we can get?" Scherer asked City Council members.

Their reply? "I think we should hold our ground," City Council president Julian Espinoza said, summing up the majority opinion of the governing body.

Holding their ground means fighting for the re-opening of Falcon Lakes Parkway, a $1.4 million access road, built and paid for by the Falcon Lakes developers, and barricaded nearly two years ago by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

After initially approving construction of Falcon Lakes Parkway, the department of transportation ordered the road closed because they viewed it as a safety hazard and because it didn't fit KDOT's future concept of K-7. Previously, the department of transportation wanted to keep traffic flowing along the highway by using interchanges with limited access points.

It's a concept that's being re-evaluated by the department of transportation.

In preparation for a meeting Wednesday morning at Bonner Springs City Hall concerning the K-7 corridor, the mayor asked for a consensus view of the City Council regarding the best solution to K-7. The mayor represented the city during the meeting.

Four projects are in some stage of development at or near the Falcon Lakes project along the highway. They are Falcon Lakes, the senior housing project, the Zarda Center and Hollingsworth Estates.

Access to these projects is limited; from the highway, Hollingsworth and Donohoo roads are the sole entrance points into the area. Neither are as viable an option as Falcon Lakes Parkway and both roads would need drastic upgrades to ensure safety and relieve congestion, city officials said.

Re-opening Falcon Lakes Parkway is the most practical solution to the traffic problem, city officials said Monday night.

Should the city not receive permission for access to Falcon Lakes Parkway, at least one development could drop its project and pull away from the city, the mayor said.

Tom Zarda, developer of the Zarda Center, an 80-acre area slated for commercial and business use, told city officials his company won't pursue the project without access to Falcon Lakes Parkway, Scherer said.

"If he doesn't have access to K-7, he's done," Scherer said. "He's walking away.

"He won't even use the word Hollingsworth and Donohoo."

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