Archive for Thursday, October 20, 2005

New motto says it all

Growing Together’ sums up effort behind new Basehor comprehensive plan

October 20, 2005

A citywide trail system linking various parks together. A downtown district -- complete with a new City Hall, civic center and county annex -- bustling with businesses and residences. Signs and structures, all unique, serving as gateways to the city.

Even a new motto, "Building Basehor -- Growing Together."

Those are just a few of the highlights in a preliminary draft of the city's comprehensive plan, which was presented to the City Council Monday night by representatives of Shafer, Kline and Warren. The firm was hired by the city to overhaul and update its comprehensive plan, which hadn't seen a major revision since the early 1990s.

A comprehensive plan is essentially a master guide for cities to use for development and planning purposes.

Firm representatives, emphasizing that the rough draft presented Monday night agrees with wishes of the community, laid out an ambitious comprehensive plan covering areas such as the city's physical image, streets and transportation, parks and recreation, infrastructure, downtown, education, public safety and future annexation.

For the past several months, Shafer, Kline and Warren representatives have met with community members to outline the new plan.

"There are a lot of different actors in this," said Mike Duffy. He added, "They really drove the ideas of what was done. ... We've tried to be as true to those meetings as we can."

In addition to developing a comprehensive plan, the committee was pledged with "prioritizing (needs) for the next 10 to 12 years."

Some elements of the plan delve further into the future than just the next decade.

With its current city limits, Basehor encompasses an approximate 3.2 square mile area and its population is roughly 2,400 residents. The firm, backed by the committee, recommends the city define it's future growth area by extending boundaries to County Road 8 to the north, Interstate 70 to the south, Kansas Highway 7 to the east and Stranger Creek to the west.

By using a formula of 1,500 people per square mile -- the standard for most suburban areas -- the city's population would be approximately 70,000 residents, or, as Duffy pointed out, the equivalent of Lee's Summit.

"That's substantially larger than what we have now," Duffy said.

"This isn't something that's going to happen in a 10, 15 or 20 year time frame ... but we need to start planning now," he added.

Listed below are other sections of the preliminary comprehensive plan, along with the goals outlined in each section, and steps to meet those objectives:

Physical image

Goal: posses an appealing and unique physical image

  • Install Basehor signs at major entrances.
  • Create unique signs and structures.
  • Use the Falcon Lakes residential area and golf course as a draw.
  • Require more traditional type developments that have personality and unique character.
  • Make downtown a destination point with a town center feel.

Streets/transportation

Goal: establish an efficient transportation system capable of supporting the community's growing population while keeping maintenance costs at a minimum.

  • Require developers to build streets to the appropriate level as specified on the major streets plan.
  • Review proposed developments and streets in terms of compactness and connectedness to increase maintenance efficiency.
  • Conduct a sidewalk survey and prioritize areas of improvements.
  • Review transportation plans in relation to the parks plan and ensure pedestrian and bicycle connections.

Parks and recreation

Goal: develop a park system that meet the recreational needs of citizens.

  • Use old railroad right of way to install a trail.
  • Consider requiring developers to dedicate land for trails.
  • Convert old lagoons into soccer fields and basketball courts.
  • Build playing fields at the high school.
  • Annex the 40 acres of Field of Dreams and create additional parks there.
  • Have a community garden.

Infrastructure

Goal: provide the community with an integrated and efficient infrastructure system.

  • Require any short term development to have a plan that would allow sewer lines to be easily converted to a gravity flow system.
  • Examine the feasibility of constructing a new plant in the Wolf Creek basin.
  • Explore the possibility of partnering with Bonner Springs and other municipalities to construct a Wolf Creek plant.

Downtown

Goal: establish a vibrant and diversified downtown that provides a central gathering place for the community.

  • Locate downtown at or near the Mussett property.
  • Incorporate green space and public areas in the design.
  • Require wider sidewalks in the downtown area.
  • Locate City Hall, a county annex and community or civic center downtown. Also, determine the feasibility of placing police and fire facilities downtown.

Education

Goal: have a school system that meets the needs of the community while exceeding state requirements.

  • Educate the community on the importance of education.
  • Create a brochure showing the figures of the school district compared to surrounding districts.
  • Dedicate land for schools in future development areas.
  • Implement an excise tax on development to be utilized for educational purposes.
  • Develop a strategic plan that identifies locations for new schools.

Public safety

Goals: provide life and safety services that meet the needs of the citizens efficiently and effectively.

  • Employ additional police and full-time firefighters and paramedics.
  • Construct a new fire station and a police station with a jail.
  • Educate the public on the importance of neighborhood watch.

City officials expect a final draft of the comprehensive plan to be presented to them by December. Garcia said formal adoption of the new policy could take place as early as January.

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