Archive for Thursday, August 26, 2004

Basehor council renews support for senior housing project

August 26, 2004

After more than a year since first introducing the project to city officials, developers of the Falcon Lakes residential area and golf course are ready to resume plans to build a 48-unit affordable housing development for senior citizens.

On Monday night, Falcon Lakes developers requested and received a letter from the Basehor City Council supporting the project, which first appeared before the city in September of last year. The City Council approved the project, 3-2, Monday night with members Iris Dysart and Bill Hooker voting against the proposal.

The city approved the letter of support last year but had to renew support Monday night because the resolution supporting the project had expired.

The developers' plans to once again pursue the senior housing project comes to the chagrin of some Falcon Lakes residents living in single-family homes inside the development. Although it's been several months since it was initially discussed, some residents contend developers have not informed residents of the project.

"We as the residents of Falcon Lakes have not ever been alerted to this," said resident Barbara Cefari, adding that residents feel the project is "being slipped in the back door."

"I just think there are a lot of issues we're being hit with," she added.

Another Falcon Lakes resident, Russell Jacobson, asked City Council members to delay voting on the project until residents have a chance to discuss points of contention with developers. He added that the "affordable housing" tag on the project scares residents into believing the project will be a detriment to property values and the overall development.

"We're asking to be a teammate with you in this process," Jacobsen said.

"We want to make this a win-win situation."

The support letter approved Monday night, as it was a year ago, is not a carte blanche approval of the development, but a legal requirement developers are required to complete to proceed with plans to apply for housing tax credit with the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing. The support letter does not circumvent the planning process all proposed developments are required to go through before beginning construction, city officials reiterated.

"This doesn't rubber stamp anything," City Council member Keith Sifford said. "Don't feel like this is a done deal."

Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer said many of the issues existing residents object to should be addressed to the project developer and not with the city at this point.

"They are a long ways off," Scherer said.

Dysart, who also objected to the project a year ago, renewed her opposition Monday night saying that the affordable housing project doesn't fit the upscale standard the remaining areas of Falcon Lakes has set.

"I'm shocked that (they) want to put this in there," Dysart said.

City Council member John Bonee said he didn't believe the developers would place a downtrodden project inside the exist ing Falcon Lakes area. He said the city has benefited from the judgment of Falcon Lakes thus far and should continue to do so until proven otherwise.

"Why in his right mind would do anything to hamper one sale in his multi-million dollar development?" Bonee said.

"It would be fatal for him to do anything but a top notch development."

Developers said the 48 units would house residents that meet low-income requirements but can live independently. Developers also told Falcon Lakes residents at the Monday meeting that they would schedule time in the near future to discuss any differences opponents might have with the project.

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