Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Condemnation moves forward

April 26, 2007

The push to allow the city to condemn private property to make way for the proposed Towne Center development will continue tonight at a special meeting of the Lansing City Council.

Last week, the council approved a resolution authorizing the condemnation of property needed by developers of the center, which will stretch from 4-H Road to Kay Street along the west side of Main Street. At tonight's meeting, 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 800 First Terrace, council members will be asked to approve an ordinance that basically spells out what was included in the resolution.

It's one in a series of steps the city must follow to condemn land.

"The city must have an ordinance in place for the acquisition of land for condemnation for economic development purposes," said City Administrator Mike Smith.

Developers of the center, which will be anchored by a Lowe's home improvement store, have signed contracts to purchase properties from 21 of 24 homeowners in the area between West Mary and West Kay streets. Agreements are pending on two of the other three properties, said Jess Davis, one of the Towne Center developers.

All of which leaves absentee owner Aaron Bailiff as the lone holdout.

Council member Kenneth Ketchum said he swore he'd never condemn a house, but that was before the Towne Center dilemma. Since so many homeowners have agreed to sell their properties, it must not be a bad idea, he said.

Bailiff, who has hired an attorney to negotiate for him, is "not real cooperative," Davis said.

Mike Smith, city administrator, said Bailiff had been holding on to the house for sentimental reasons, but is also waiting on a higher price before he will sell his parents' home.

Smith said he was hopeful something could be worked out before condemnation takes place, but noted the city needed to stay on task.

"We can stop a condemnation action at anytime all the way up to the day the condemenation is done," he said. "But we've got a timeline to come under for Lowe's and some contractors."

The city also wants to avoid coming under a new state law that goes into effect July 1 that requires legislative approval for property condemnation.

The process the city is in the midst of approving gives it the authority to demolish Bailiff's house if an agreement is not reached by the first of June.

The sentiment of the council and Davis was that the project was moving quickly.

Davis said developers are moving fast, in part, to fit Lowe's goal to begin construction in late summer or early fall in order to open in the spring.

He said talks continued with grocer Hy-Vee about locating in the center. Hy-Vee is talking to the Kansas Department of Transportation about more access points off of Main Street into the center.

Davis and his team are in talks with other prospective tenants for the center. He said developers are looking to "fill in the holes" of retailers and amenities not available in Leavenworth or Lansing. They envision a "high-end project" he said.

In other action last week, the council:

¢ Approved a bid of $22,132 from Guier Fence Co. for security fencing at the City Service Center and to apply the remaining $8,868 set aside in the budget to construct an asphalt drive on the north side of the service center.

¢ Approved minutes from the April 5 council meeting.

¢ Heard Mayor Kenneth Bernard proclaim May 1 as VFW Annual Loyalty Day and April 29-May 5 as Municipal Clerks Week.

¢ Honored Lansing Police Detective Scott Crawford as Employee of the Quarter.

¢ Appointed Lynsey Hammeke, vice president of Lansing Dairy Queen, to represent the business community on the Convention and Tourism Committee for a two-year term.

¢ Reappointed Verlin Tompkins to the Convention and Tourism Committee.

¢ Reappointed Sharon Henke and Marvin McCurdy to the Lansing Planning Commission for a three-year term expiring April 30, 2010.

¢ Reappointed Verlin Tompkins and Mike Suozzo to the Board of Zoning Appeals for another three-year term to expire on April 30, 2010.

¢ Reappointed Gene Young and Sue Robertson to the Lansing Community Library Board for a four-year term ending April 20, 2011.

¢ Received the Treasurer's Report for the quarter ending March 31.

¢ Approved an ordinance amending the Code of the City of Lansing regarding incorporation of the Standard Traffic Ordinance.

¢ Adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance of $4.235 million in temporary notes to finance the public facilities and parks.


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