Archive for Thursday, January 8, 2004

Planning board still searching for Maples answer

After three months of debate, proposed development no closer to construction

January 8, 2004

After the Basehor Planning Commission debated the merits of the preliminary plat for the Maples subdivision for nearly an hour Tuesday night, George Smith intervened.

Smith, a Planning Commission member, said he understood why the board was having a difficult time reaching a consensus.

"As I see it, we're trying really hard to work around the issue that this is just not a good plan," Smith said.

"Until we get another road in there somewhere, to me, it's a dead issue," he said.

With issues unresolved such as a second access road and traffic study, the Planning Commission decided Tuesday, Jan. 6 to again continue the hearing until a traffic study is completed.

Maples developers must also show collector street road right-of-way for the east side of the property on the next preliminary plat presented, the Planning Commission voted.

The Maples subdivision is a proposed 100 single-family home development seated on 40 acres of ground. Its borders meet those of Pin Oak, a 32-home development just west of Maples.

With no other access road into the Maples development, Poplar Street, a primary road used by Pin Oak residents, would also service Maples.

The Tuesday night hearing was a continuance from a hearing in December 2003.

In December, planning commission members voted to table action until a traffic study could be completed for the intersection of 155th and Poplar streets.

Nearby residents opposed to Maples voiced their concerns to the proposed development Tuesday night. The chief criticism, among numerous others, is that using Poplar Street as an access road for construction and later resident use into Maples would endanger people in Pin Oak.

"I have four children," said Paul Lackner. "There are no sidewalks, no street lights on Poplar.

"It's a dangerous road for more traffic simply for the safety of our children," he added.

Dave Kuebelbeck, another nearby resident, said the development in question hasn't been thought through.

"Where is the long-range planning?" Kuebelbeck said.

"Why do we have to pay the price when the developer has landlocked himself?" he added.

Maples developer Lonnie Phillips defended his proposed development. He told the Planning Commission that Maples would be an upscale project.

"We urge you to approve our subdivision," Phillips said. "It's going to be a nice one. We're not going to put in anything shoddy."

Phillips also said he's trying to gain an easement from the Holy Angels Catholic Church so he can build another access road into his proposed development. Thus far, the two sides have not reached an agreement.

The Planning Commission did not receive a traffic study Tuesday night, much to the chagrin of chairman Ron Owen.

"Did this Planning Commission ask for a traffic study?" Owen said. "I know we as a Planning Commission asked for that and it's not here. The numbers are probably the same but we as a Planning Commission asked for that and we haven't gotten it."

The numbers Owen referred to are from a traffic review, completed at the firm of Jason Logsdon, a Planning Commission member and an engineer. The numbers from the traffic review were to be submitted to the city as a guide in determining the traffic volume Poplar Street could handle.

The traffic review used standards of the American Public Works Association to determine whether Poplar Street could accommodate traffic for another 67 homes.

While a traffic study may yield similar results, the Planning Commission decided it best to have an official document for the record.

A staff report, submitted to the Planning Commission, indicated the proposed Maples development is in compliance with the city's comprehensive and future development plans.

Under Basehor regulations, no guideline enforces two access points into a proposed development. However, the Planning Commission has mandated additional access points before approving developments in previous decisions.

A motion to approve the Maples preliminary plat pending several stipulations failed. The vote tied at 3-3, but Planning Commission member Steve Cole's abstention broke the tie.

An abstention counts as a no vote, city officials said.

The Maples subdivision was introduced to city officials as a possible residential development in October. Originally, the development was to include multi-family housing, but the rezoning proposal was denied by the Planning Commission.

It appears the progress, or lack thereof, of the development to move forward has irritated some Planning Commission members.

"We've been here three months talking about this and as far as I can see, nothing has changed," Planning Commission member Rick Hogue said.

Preliminary plats do not go before the Basehor City Council unless three or more City Council members request it.

In previous stories, it was erroneously reported that the Planning Commission would recommend the City Council approve or deny the development's preliminary plat.

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