Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2007

Land-use issues need public input

July 12, 2007

The evolution of Leavenworth County from a mostly rural to increasingly suburban setting is well under way. Signs throughout the county point the way: Population in Tonganoxie is up 9.19 percent in a year; a major retail effort in Lansing has won the approval of the City Council there; housing starts continue to climb countywide.

With the changing landscape in mind, two efforts to guide future growth are under way. One is in its beginning stages; the other is in its final stages. Both deserve the public's input.

Just getting under way is the work of the Leavenworth County Comprehensive Planning Committee. The 14-member group representing a cross-section of county residents is drafting a new land-use plan that is intended to guide future development in the county.

Sabrina Darley, a Lansing businesswoman who chairs the group, summed up the committee's work this way: "Our main goal is to assure that Leavenworth County develops as conservatively - but as aggressively - as possible."

Chris Dunn, the county's planning and zoning director, said the public shouldn't be shy about letting its opinion be known about the committee's work.

The same holds true for the U.S. Highway 24-40 Corridor Study.

The study is a cooperative effort between the cities of Basehor and Tonganoxie, the county, Kansas Department of Transportation and Mid-America Regional Council.

Now in its final stages, the study seeks to develop a 30-year plan that integrates land use and transportation along a 13-mile stretch of U.S. 24-40, from County Road 1 south of Tonganoxie to Kansas Highway 7. The area of study stretches a mile in each direction along the highway.

Both the U.S. 24-40 Corridor Study and the Comprehensive Planning Committee will leave their mark on the county. Suggestions in the studies will go a long way toward determining how Leavenworth County develops in the future.

And both groups - as they should - invite input from the public.

This week during an open house in Tonganoxie, officials will give a formal presentation on the corridor study, to be followed by a question-and-answer session with the project team. The event, at 6 p.m. today at Tonganoxie High School, will mark the last of seven public events dating to last fall related to the study.

The Comprehensive Planning Committee, meanwhile, typically meets at 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the basement conference room at the County Courthouse in Leavenworth.

If you have a strong opinion or idea about development of either the U.S. 24-40 corridor or future land use in Leavenworth County, we strongly suggest making your views known to these groups before final decisions are made.


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