Archive for Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Basehor ready to start updating its comprehensive plan

November 24, 2004

Members of the Basehor Planning Commission have completed interviews with prospective firms interested in assisting the city in updating an antiquated comprehensive plan, which last saw a major revision in 1996.

City planner Angela Solberg, who assists with planning and zoning and also advises the planning commission, said the commission will recommend one of the four firms interviewed for the comprehensive plan updates during the Basehor City Council meeting Dec. 13.

Solberg said she did not want to comment on which firm the Planning Commission would recommend until the City Council meeting. However, according to the city's agenda for the December meeting, the Council will decide whether to offer a contract with the firm of Shaffer, Kline and Warren to assist in performing the updates.

The comprehensive plan is essentially a master guide for city's to use for planning and zoning purposes. The firm selected will assist the administration through a process that is expected to take at least one year, Solberg said.

One year of careful planning is a petty price for completing the all-important planning upgrades.

"The key thing is to make sure we grow responsibly, that we have a vision of what we want the city to be," Solberg said. "The big thing is to make sure we do it right."

Part of the lengthy revision process is including input from more people than just those inside the confines of City Hall. Solberg said public meetings will be scheduled to present possible changes and that comments from Basehor residents would be welcome in adjusting the dusty municipal master guide.

"We want to push this plan to the point that the public becomes involved," she said. "We're going to have public meetings. We want to hear what (residents) have to say."

Perhaps the major flaw in the current draft of the comprehensive plan is that it does not take into account a tremendous growth boom in western Wyandotte County, specifically the Village West tourism and entertainment district, located a few scant miles from the city.

In just a few years, an area that once contained approximately 400 acres of farmland has transformed into a district jumping with commercial, retail and entertainment businesses. The area is home to three of the state's biggest tourist destinations: the Kansas Speedway, Cabela's and The Great Wolf Lodge (see related story, this page).

The spillover from Village West has made vacant land in Basehor, as well as other areas in southern Leavenworth County, even more valuable.

"With that growth (at Village West), we need to take advantage and get ahead of the ballgame," Solberg said.

"(The current comprehensive plan) is really old. We've done so much growing since it was revised last that we just need to catch up."

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