Archive for Thursday, May 5, 2005

Leader questions Basehor’s readiness for future growth

May 5, 2005

One of the city's most dedicated -- and outspoken -- leaders is unsure whether he wants to keep working in municipal government.

Failures by the Basehor Planning Commission to adequately prepare for area growth, as well as a "lack of commitment" from other planning members, has fueled George Smith's indecision whether to accept a re-appointment to the commission from Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia.

"It really frustrates me," Smith said. "It seems like we just show up and whatever the developer puts in front of us we approve and then go home." He added, "If they're going to continue to blindly approve anything ... there's no reason for me to go up there and beat my head against a wall."

On May 23, Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia will make recommendations to the Basehor City Council regarding appointments to six municipal government positions. Other than Smith's position on the planning board, Garcia said he would recommend each of the roles be filled via re-appointment.

The mayor said he'd like to bring Smith back for another term on the planning commission, but that Smith hasn't yet indicated he wants to return.

"I've contacted everybody and everyone except George has said they wanted to come back," Garcia said.

After adjournment of Tuesday night's planning commission meeting, Smith expressed his frustration to fellow planning board members. During an interview a day earlier, he'd voiced the same dissatisfaction.

"I just don't feel we have the commitment on the part of those people," said Smith, citing among other factors, a recent work session during which planning commission members were scheduled to hear of new city developments.

Only two of seven planning commission members attended the meeting at the outset. A third arrived after being telephoned by a city employee.

Smith said the planning commission has failed on multiple levels to lay the groundwork for the boon in residential and commercial development Basehor is currently seeing. He said those failures include not making progress toward developing a street plan and making no recommendations for revisions to the city's comprehensive plan or subdivision regulations, among a list of others.

"That's just to name a few," Smith said.

Basehor, Smith said, is at an unprecedented period in the city's history. Developments are popping up in all corners and by the time the planning commission gets around to planning for that growth, "we're a week behind," Smith said.

"I just don't think people understand how important this stuff is to the future of Basehor," he added.

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