Archive for Thursday, April 29, 2004

City warms to pyramid zoning

April 29, 2004

The Basehor City Council reached a consensus this week to move forward with its previous model for zoning classifications. City Council members, however, did not approve pyramid zoning Monday night, opting instead to allow city attorney John Thompson to research legal aspects of the new classification before approving an ordinance.

Essentially, pyramid zoning allows for more mixed use developments. The classification, formerly used by Basehor city planners in regulating development, would prevent developments from going above the zoning classification they've been approved for but does allow them the ability to develop in the classifications below.

City Council member John Bonee and Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer, both of whom are local developers and proponents of pyramid zoning, said they are pushing the proposal because new businesses will ignore Basehor without something in place to allow flexibility. Both were quick to point out pyramid zoning doesn't give developers carte blanche and that builders would still face checks and balances from city officials, planners and the City Council.

Planning Commissioner George Smith weighed in briefly on the proposed zoning Monday night. He said new commercial design standards, approved by the city earlier this year, would help ensure developments are built to standards.

And, Smith, Bonee and Scherer said, the new zoning classification would allow the blend of commercial and residential uses the city wants for its revitalized downtown district along vacant areas near 155th Street. The city is currently formulating a plan to create a downtown district, which is considered a long-term project but vital to the city's future development.

After discussion Monday night, most members of the City Council seemed intent to approve pyramid zoning. However, city attorney John Thompson asked the City Council delay its decision so he could research the legality of approving the new designation; Thompson said a public hearing could be required by law approving the zoning.

A timetable for when pyramid zoning will appear next before the City Council has not been determined.

In other news, the City Council:

  • Approved, 5-0, an ordinance adopting heavy commercial sewer classification and rates.
  • Approved, 5-0, a letter of support for a grant funding police and court computer software.
  • Tabled, 4-1, a $4,600 payment to Leavenworth Area Development for 2005 membership dues.
  • Approved scheduling a work session with members of the Fairmount Township Fire Department to discuss renovations to a joint City Hall-Fire Station parking lot. The work session is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 6 at the fire station.

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